The Seahawks bear vs the Giants Barkley
Coming into the game, Giants running back Saquan Barkley had been producing like one of the top 4-5 running backs in the NFL. Averaging over 103 yards per game and over 5 yards per carry, stopping the star back was going to be a huge test for the Seahawks front seven, and they delivered.
Barkley never had a chance on Sunday, running for 53 yards on a whopping 20 carries, good for a 2.65 yards-per-attempt average. A few weeks ago, the Seahawks traditional 3-4 defense probably gives up 153 yards on 20 carries to Barkley, but since Pete Carroll and DC Clint Hurtt made the switch to a more aggressive bear front, the rush defense has looked like the best in the league, they’re getting more pressures in the quarterback over the past three games than anyone else, and this secondary is locking everything farther than five yards down the field up.
The changes made have also brought to light some incredible play by unsung heroes on the defense. The schematic changes have allowed Uchena Nwosu to look like a premier pass rusher, and veterans like Al Woods, Shelby Harris and Bruce Irvin (yes, that Bruce Irvin) to thrive and make huge plays.
It’s not a coincidence that once safety Ryan Neal got back into the starting lineup, the defense got better. Neal and Tariq Woolen are getting legitimate star treatment, which means cornerback Michael Jackson is getting attacked all game long, and just like his team, he delivered. Time and time again he was attacked, and multiple times did he hold his ground, making big hits and plays.
The aggressive and physical style of football was also found on the special teams unit, as for the first time in a month the unit was back to being a strength. Two massive forced fumbles, one forced and one recovered by Uncle Will Dissly, led to 10 Seahawks points.
I can’t tell you how enjoyable it has been to watch this defense grow over the past month, into the fast and now punishing defensive unit.