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Kelly's Heroes For Week Two

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I did the game ball presentation yesterday and that was all well and good. Today, I'm kicking off a new feature called Kelly's Heroes where I talk about which Seahawks players, positional groups, or statistical successes I'm excited about (get it? because my last name is Kelly).

Let's be real here, this could be a long season. I'm not saying it will be, but to balance out the commiseration and complaining that goes along with the game recaps, game rewinds, and Seahawks' replay booth editorials after losses, I'm going to take at least once a week to talk about some things I'm pumped up and jacked up about. In true Pete Carroll fashion.

Today, I'm talking about the Seahawks' run defense. We can talk all day about the lack of pass rush, yes, but at least this line is doing what it was designed to do -- and that's to stop the run. Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, Alan Branch, and Chris Clemons have done their job well in that regard.

In Week One, the 49ers rushed for 85 yards on 32 attempts. That's a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. The Niners' offensive strategy centered on running the football and for the most, they struggled (though they ultimately won the game). Stopping the 49ers from running, though probably insignificant from an NFL-wide standpoint, means more to the Seahawks because of the history between the two teams. Frank Gore has rushed for 200+ yards on the Seahawks twice in the last couple of seasons so stopping them in their tracks there was a moral victory. I'll take it.

In Week Two, the Steelers managed 124 yards on the ground, but taken in context, that's not terrible either. The Steelers were salting away the game and ran the ball 35 times in an effort to run the clock and wear down the Seahawks. The Hawks held them to 3.5 yards per carry on the ground, and if you take away one key play, an Isaac Redman 20-yard touchdown run where the linebackers and secondary broke down miserably, you're looking at a 3.1 yard per carry average. Not bad against a team that has shown an ability to run the ball at will. 

The Seahawks run defense is currently fourth in the league on a yards per rush average basis (tied with the Ravens) and when you're looking for silver linings, there it is. Right now, it's probably what the Seahawks are doing best. Obviously, taken in context of total team production, it's not much to be excited about, but we'll have to take small victories for the time being. 

So, a solid, not spectacular run defense. This is something we saw early last season before injuries decimated the line, so it seems to be a strength. Something to build on.