Marshawn Lynch made just one wrong turn Sunday.
The Raiders running back mistakenly opened a side door at the back of Jack Del Rio's press conference after a 26-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Suddenly, the media-averse Lynch found himself staring into a packed room of reporters – notebooks out, cameras rolling.
"Oh (shoot)," Lynch said, although his actual phrasing was less quotable.
Del Rio, who was mid-sentence raving about kicker Gregorio Tavecchio, called an audible. "By the way," the coach said, "Marshawn ran really well today."
And with that, Lynch eased back out. He closed the door securely behind him to the sound of laughter.
Say this about Beast Mode: The guy knows how to make an entrance. Lynch barged into Week 1 with a smashing Raiders debut.
It wasn't that he ran 18 times for 76 yards. It was how he ran. Apparently, Lynch did not soften in retirement. He returned as that pile-pushing, one-man avalanche that still haunts defensive player dreams.
"We got to see that Marshawn is Marshawn," quarterback Derek Carr said. "He's running through people, and he's going to make it a pain on them to tackle him."
As Del Rio put it: "You'd better be sure you want tackle him before you go in there."
Of all the encouraging signs in the Raiders' season-opening win Sunday, the early reviews of Beast Mode II ranked at the top of the list. Sure, acquiring the Oakland native was a sweet story line: Hometown kid returns to play for his mama's favorite team.
But sweet story lines sometimes get smacked around by reality. Without Lynch's special skills, this could have been: 31-year-old has-been returns as a shadow of his former self.
Instead, there was Beast Mode in the fourth quarter looking like he never left. He treated 305-pound defensive tackle Jurrell Casey like a bowling pin, knocking him out of the way en route to a 6-yard gain on a crucial clock-killing drive.
"Man, he's such boost," receiver Amari Cooper said. "You saw that play where he ran a guy over? Probably five times bigger than he was? It gets everybody hyped."
I asked Cooper what it was like watching Lynch run.
"Every time you know he's about to get the ball, you're watching," he replied, "because you know something amazing is going to happen."
Amazing is an odd word choice to describe a guy who averaged 4.2 yards per carry (about the same as his career average, 4.3). Lynch's longest run of the day? A ho-hum 14 yards.
The remarkable part comes when Lynch gets swallowed up by a wave of tacklers and ... slowly ... surely ... the wave starts going in reverse. On a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, everyone in the stadium knew Lynch would get the ball. He still slammed forward for 1 yard gain.
"He's a physical player. He's smashmouth," Raiders offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele said. "He's going to run right through you. On third-and-short, fourth-down, four-minute situations when you're trying to close the game out, he's the type of player that you need."
Lynch's limited carries – just 17 for a player who annual ranked among the league leaders in rushing attempts – were the only evidence of Lynch's age. The workload suggests that in his second career, Lynch might be used as a closer. Offensive coordinator Todd Downing made sure Lynch stayed fresh for late in the game (Beast Mode had 12 of his carries after halftime) and Lynch had his way with tired tacklers.
Lynch's day could have been even better if not for a Carr misfire. On a first-and-10 in the third quarter, the running back lined up split wide to the quarterback's left. Lynch had a step on the defender but Carr anticipating a cut that never came and threw the ball to the wrong spot.
"That was my fault," Carr said, smiling wide. "Marshawn did it right. I expected him to bob ... and I weaved."
Someone asked Carr if it was a play he's going to kick himself when he sees it again on film.
"Oh, I know it would have been," he said. "That one sucks. ... It's cool, we can laugh about it now. But I have to be better."
It was a rare rueful moment on a day where almost everything else Lynch did went according to script. The Raiders were clearly happy to see him walking through that 2017 door with a full head of steam.
"We've been witnessing that since Day One. We're really not surprised," running back DeAndre' Washington said. "That's what he does."