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Belichick: Marshawn Lynch 'as good as any back' in YAC

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Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was talked about all offseason as a player ready to set Oakland's backfield on fire.

It hasn't happened, with the former Seahawks luminary rushing for just 323 yards at 3.8 yards per clip for a Silver and Black offense that has failed to live up to the hype.

Bill Belichick, though, sees nothing wrong with Lynch's ability to take on a defense.

"He's as good as any back in the league in terms of yards after contact," the Patriots coach said Wednesday ahead of Sunday's clash with Oakland, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "He's got great balance, great lower-body leg strength. He looks good on every run: inside, outside, cutback, downhill. It doesn't matter. He can run everything."

Belichick's claim checks out, with Lynch plowing for 2.51 yards after contact per carry, the veteran's second-best mark over his past eight campaigns.

Lynch played one of his better games against the Dolphins in Week 9, mashing for two scores at four-plus yards per attempt. Quarterback Derek Carr observed that the 31-year-old runner looked refreshed in that game after serving a one-game ban in Week 8.

"Having him back there the way he can run physically, how gifted he is with his vision, as you saw on the trap play (against Miami), he got up into the second level, third level. He can make somebody miss and go," Carr said. "The more we can help him do that and those kind of things, it's going to be better for our offense."

Watching the Raiders on tape, Lynch still shows flashes of the raw power and leg-churning might that turned Beast Mode into a household phenomena during his run with Seattle. Realisitically, the problems in Oakland extend beyond the backfield to an overall scheme that has lacked punch on too many Sundays.

It gets no easier this week against the Pats in Mexico City, but if the 4-5 Raiders want to save their season, Lynch and friends can't wait another week to become the team so many expected to see.

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