Hi, I’m the QB that plays against the Seahawks. Surprise, I’m not that great after all.
The Seahawks have not been at their best defensively so far in 2020. Here’s another way to look at their poor performance against the passing game.
Yeah, I know that headline might be a bit surprising, but hear me out. I’ll admit the Seahawks haven’t been up to their standard versus the pass this year. I’m not talking about the Legion of Boom days, lord no. For reference, here’s the LOB’s rank in TDs allowed from 2011 through 2015: 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st. After the first three games of the season, the Hawks currently rank 17th in touchdown passes allowed. That isn’t exactly making anyone think LOB 2.0.
However, the picture for the Seahawks is actually quite a bit better than that one stat would tell us. Compare this season to 2018, which most 12s consider to be the nadir of the defense (and rightly so). Yes, these were the legendary days when Seattle’s defense ranked 14th in touchdown passes allowed and 18th in interceptions. Not bad, but not up to the standards of the swarming, stifling defense of Pete Carroll.
That 17th place ranking is pretty tough to take, I agree. But let’s factor in that our guys are tied for second in the league for interceptions with four. That might not sound like a lot, but they’re on pace for 21 picks for the year. That miserable 2018 season saw just a dozen interceptions. 21 would be the most for the Hawks since 2013, the year of Godmode defense in Seattle.
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I’m not glossing over the fact that our defense is giving up more territory than Jefferson bought from Napoleon. The Seahawks are dead last in passing attempts allowed and average per attempt. For the math-challenged out there, that means we’ve given up more yards through the air than any other team. The Hawks have surrendered 241 more yards than the team in 31st place. That team would be Atlanta, and they’re calling for Dan Quinn’s head. That tends to happen when you’re 0-3.
The Seahawks have the opposite record, of course. Sure, that’s in no small part due to our great MVP candidate Russell Wilson. But don’t give up on Seattle’s defense just yet. Yes, they’ve given up a lot of yards. Part of that is an artifact of the games themselves. Only the Packers are putting up more points than Seattle so far in 2020. The Hawks opponents have to throw to keep up with Seattle.
I’ll admit, we could do a better job of shutting them down. But let’s also consider that Seattle has faced Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Dak Prescott in those three games. Nope, none are as good as Wilson, but it isn’t as if the Hawks let a bunch of backups rip them open. Yeah, I’m aware of the name Nick Mullens; just go away, wouldya? The point is, the defense has come up big when they had to, every time.
Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the mathy stuff. The average stat line for the opposing QB versus our guys: 35 of 52 for 431 yards. Yes, that’s kind of terrifying. They’ve also averaged just two touchdowns versus one pick (and a bonus INT somewhere). That’s a lot of yards with not much to show for it. The Hawks defense has been one of the toughest in the league versus the run, too, giving up just 3.0 yards per carry. But yes, the pass defense is a problem, there’s just no way around that.
Yes, they can be better, and I think they will. Losing Marquise Blair and Bruce Irvin for the season hasn’t helped, and there have been too many more injuries in Seattle, that’s for sure. Will the Hawks get some reinforcements? We certainly hope so. I think the defense will improve, especially if the Seahawks make some of the moves suggested by our own Karley Sibert. Bottom line? The Hawks are 3-0 and will add two more picks and another W to the win column Sunday.