Marshawn Lynch's return to Seattle began with a roar of the crowd and ended with a disheartening sigh.
The loss was no fault of Lynch's, who leaped over a pile of bodies to score his first touchdown as a Seahawk since mid-November of 2015 earlier Sunday night. He appeared set to get another chance to do so late, with the Seahawks earning first-and-goal on San Francisco's 1 in the final minute. It seemed almost too perfect, Lynch earning the right to win a game with a carry from the 1 nearly five years after Pete Carroll's decision to not hand it to him cost the Seahawks a Super Bowl.
A delay of game wiped out that chance, sending Lynch back to the sideline to watch his teammates fail to deliver on four downs. Still, though, Lynch's return was positive, rushing 12 times for 34 yards and the one touchdown.
"Just to see Marshawn dive into the end zone there, that was awesome," Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said, via the Seattle Times. "To have Beast Mode back, he made some amazing runs. Just the excitement when he came into the game, it was just like old times. It just felt right, him being back there."
Those watching the game saw Lynch's acclimation process in real time, as he looked sluggish to start before picking up steam and running more like the Beastmode of old in the second half. Lynch told NFL Network's Omar Ruiz afterward he felt stronger as a runner in the final two quarters of action and expected to feel "like a champ" Monday after his first NFL action of 2019.
Lynch replaces the power element lost with Chris Carson's season-ending hip injury, but he doesn't match it. Still, it was encouraging for Lynch to grow into something more than a source of nostalgia Sunday. If he can earn short-yardage victories, his return will have been worth it for the Seahawks, whose fans were more than pleased to welcome Lynch back.
"Straight love. Straight up," Lynch said. "They made your boy feel right at home. That's some solid (stuff)."
If Seattle can win a playoff game with Lynch, the Skittles purchased solely to rain down on Lynch Sunday night will have been worth it, too.