by @SteezyASmith, FTFN Seahawks writer
Remember when the Seattle Seahawks had the WORST defense in the NFL through nine weeks? I certainly don’t.
Why might that be, you ask? Or better yet, how could that possibly be fathomable? Given the fact that through Week 9, the Seahawks defense was ranked dead last in total defense (455.8 yards per game), second to last in scoring (30.4 points per game allowed), and last in passing defense (362.1 passing yards per game). Not to mention, that defense was also setting records for futility, as they had set the record for most passing yards allowed through NINE GAMES.
Well, allow me to break it down for you guys.
First and foremost, through the last seven weeks, the Seahawks defense is NO. 1 in scoring defense, as they are allowing ONLY 15 points per game. Better than the Pittsburgh Steelers, better than the Los Angeles Rams, better than the New Orleans Saints, defenses that have thrived all season long.
Now, here’s some more music for your ears. Not only are the ‘Hawks the top dog in scoring defense in the last seven weeks, but they’re also tied for FIRST in sacks (24) in that same span! That’s right, the defense that finished second to last in the NFL in sacks last season (28) has four less, albeit in nine less games (and slightly different personnel).
Wait, there’s more?
YES. In addition to that gaudy sack total, the ‘Hawks have turned it around in just about every category that they struggled immensely in, earlier on. In the last seven weeks, they rank sixth in pass defense (203.0 ypg), third in total defense (302.1 ypg) fifth in opponent passer rating (78.3), and third in opponent yards-per-play average (4.6).
I get it. Most naysayers will point out to the fact that we’ve played arguably the easiest schedule in the league during this period (excluding the Cardinals and Rams). While yes, we’ve had the fortune of playing awful offenses during this stretch, allowing only 15 ppg is such a drastic improvement over the 30 points per game that this very defense was giving up to begin the season, that it’s hard to knock Seattle’s defense for playing at the level that they’re playing at right now.
Now, what really confuses me is the fact that the same people who said that we’ve played against teams that are at the bottom of the totem pole the last seven games are also the same people who said we had no competition our first six or seven games. If that’s truly the case, then why is there such a stark contrast in regard to the number of points allowed? As I mentioned earlier, Ken Norton’s unit allowed an average of over 30 points per game during the first nine weeks of the season. Compare that to the 15 that the defense has allowed in the last seven weeks, and that’s a drop off of about 50 percent.
Yes, the quality of competition hasn’t been there in the last seven weeks or so, but when you evolve and overcome being the WORST defensive unit in the NFL to what has transpired now, you have to give them credit for what they’ve been able to do.
The defense went from being a weakness, to now potentially being a strength.
No one is saying that Seattle all of a sudden has the best defense in the NFL, but what I will say is that this defense is no longer the laughingstock that they once were perceived as, and this defense is a lot closer to being a top 10 unit than they are to being a bottom 10 one.
If they’re a few things that I can attribute the turnaround of this defense to, it would be health and the arrival of a pass rush.
For more insight and analysis on this topic, be sure to check out my latest drop on YouTube (above)!!
Let me know in the comment section below, am I tripping? Don’t forget to get at me on Instagram @SteezyASmith, on YouTube @SteezyASmith, on Facebook at the same handle, and be sure to show some love to my fellow Seahawk content creators as well at @NorbCam & @DjSquabo. Go Hawks and I look forward to connecting with you guys all again!