After all the headlines in the off season declaring the Seattle defense dead on arrival because of their massive roster turnover, the Seahawks sit at five and five entering the final six games of the season with a shot at the playoffs. The Seattle defense opened the season on a fire, forcing turnovers at a ridiculous rate with eight in their first three games, but after Earl Thomas was lost for the season in week four the headlines turned back to the end of the Legion of Boom. However, nobody seemed to tell the Seahawks they were supposed to implode. In the six games played with out any of the original members of Seattle’s historic secondary the Hawks have played against some of the best offenses in the league and they are still standing strong. Exactly how effective this new unit has been for Seattle this season may surprise you.
During their Super Bowl runs when they posted historic defensive numbers, Seattle exemplified the bend, don’t break mentality, allowing teams to rake in the yards while holding them to field goals in the red zone, this unit is back to playing the same way. The Seahawks are ranked twenty-first in total yards and no higher than nineteenth in passing and rushing yards given up, that is nothing impressive, but things look a lot different with a closer look. Seattle climbs all the way up into the top third of the league in terms of yards per game and and points per game where they rank eleventh and ninth respectively. Things get even more interesting when you look at the Seahawks schedule, having played top ten scoring offenses in the Chargers, Bears, and Rams twice. The most impressive performance of this season however, came in their Thursday night match up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Thursday night games are hardest on the defense, with the amount of scheming and game prep that goes into every match up, just three days is never enough to fully prepare. The Hawks defense was thrown behind the eight ball to start the game with a turn over giving the Packers a short field and on their first three drives the Packers scored two touchdowns. The odds were stacked against Seattle early but they were able to bounce back in a big way once they settled down. In the second half, the defense held Aaron Rodgers, one of the baddest men to ever spin the pig skin, to just three points in a game where Seattle won narrowly. The biggest take away to be encouraged by for Seattle fans was the fact that the Seahawks played so well in the second half without forcing a turnover. Going into the game Seattle had relied on take aways to get out of tough spots and instead of a pick or a fumble going their way, they were able to shut down the Packer running game and make their offense one dimensional, allowing pass rushers to pin their ears back and get after Rodgers, resulting in three huge sacks in the second half.
The schedule does not get any easier for Seattle to close the season, with games against the Panthers, Vikings, and Chiefs on the horizon, but with a mini bye to get ready, the defense will be primed and ready. With the ability to force turnovers still present while relying on them less for success and an offense that dominates time of position, the stars are aligned for the boom to come back to Seattle.