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Seahawks defense: NFL's top-ranked unit by the numbers

Seattle currently ranks as the top total defense in the NFL. When you go even deeper into the numbers though you'll have to re-enforce those Dockers.

Grant Halverson - Getty Images

Part of the reason that I got into sports writing was numbers, even though an interesting fact about me is that math was my worst subject in school. I actually loved playing with numbers as much as I loved playing with... I don't know, what's a thing that adolescent boys play with? Uhhh.. Oh, my Ghostbusters action figures. But I also loved running numbers through my head.

However, as soon as I hit high school I started to revert back from advanced math classes to remedial ones. You do bad on one test and all of a sudden you're judged for the next four years of schooling. By the time that I was a senior I was still in a freshman math class and no, it wasn't because freshman girls stay the same age as I kept getting older, it's because I didn't want to apply anything further to math than I deemed necessary. And you know what? Here I sit as a 29-year-old man who has never once needed to substitute a number with 'X' in order to solve how much I need to tip.

The correct answer to that is obviously "5%"

So now that I've generously offended both math teachers and the service industry, let's get to the heart of the matter: The Seattle Seahawks defense and numbers. Yes, this is why I got into sports writing. Because with or without you, the reader, I would spend hours obsessing over the numbers. Writing just lets me relay their wonderful existence over to you so that we can bask in its glory together. I will spend a good 10-15 hours a week on Pro-Football-Reference and other sites just reading up on statistics and trying to figure out what they mean.

To hell with my high school (and college) math teachers! Maybe it's time to start applying some real world situations to your math problems and you'd have kids like me more interested. For instance: If Cam Newton is travelling at 17 miles per hour due west and Bruce Irvin is travelling at 82 miles per hour due east, at what point will BRUUUUUUUCE turn Cam into a can of Friskies?

I have not always been the best math student but I always respected it. I respect the principles, the usage, the statistics and how math can help us better understand the world we live in, I just leave the advanced stuff to Count von Count.

You don't have to be advanced to understand the following though, just be ready to make a trip to the pants store this afternoon:

Against the Panthers

- Carolina ran 19 times for 82 yards, an average of 4.3 yards per carry which bumps up the Seahawks season average to 3.2 yards per carry allowed. They are five-for-five in not allowing a team to rush for 100 yards. The main culprit was Cam Newton, who ran for 42 yards on seven carries but running backs Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Mike Tolbert carried it 11 times for 25 yards.

- The Seahawks gave up 108 net yards passing, their lowest given up on the season. The 41% completions and 141 yards passing by Cam Newton were career-lows. The 4.86 yards per attempt was the second-lowest of his career. There's been talk of his "sophomore slump" but Newton came into the game with 9.5 yards per attempt, tops in the NFL. Interesting sidenote is that Newton is 4-1 in his top five YPA games and 3-13 in the other 16 games. He is also 0-7 in his top seven passing yardage games, proving that throwing for a lot of yards does not equal "good." He is 5-2 in his lowest seven passing yardage games but one of those losses was yesterday. Not because Carolina didn't need to pass it, but because they couldn't run it or pass it.

- The 190 total net yards by the Panthers were the lowest of the 21-game Cam Newton era by 75 yards. The 13 first downs by Carolina were also a low since the start of last season and two first downs came by way of penalty.

-Seattle led time of possession 35:46-24:14

-Seattle was 7-of-14 on third downs, the Panthers were 2-of-11

- Carolina had eleven drives. Five ended in a three-and-out punt. Two ended in fumbles before they got there. Two went longer than 37 yards: One went 77 yards and resulted in a field goal, but was extended from a three-and-out after a roughing the passer penalty on Chris Clemons. The other went 79 yards and turned over on downs when the Seahawks stopped the Panthers at the goal line.

- The Panthers had more drives go for negative yards (four) than for over 20 yards (three)

Seahawks individual opponents this year

I want to break down the actual names of the players that Seattle has faced this year because they drew criticism for eating up a lot of backup quarterbacks in 2011. Here are the names and results that matter the most:

- John Skelton: 14 of 28, 149 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

- Kevin Kolb: 6 of 8, 66 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

- Tony Romo: 23 of 40, 251 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

- Aaron Rodgers: 26 of 39, 223 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

- Sam Bradford: 16 of 30, 221 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

- Cam Newton: 12 of 29, 141 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Quarterbacks -

Starting quarterbacks have thrown for 1 TD and 4 3 INT in five games.

Show me where Caleb Hanie is on that list. Show me where Vince Young is on that list. Since Week 1, the Seahawks have faced a very solid lineup of quarterbacks that includes at least two of the best in the game and two of the best up-and-coming.

- Beanie Wells: 7 for 14

- Ryan Williams: 8 for 9

- DeMarco Murray: 12 for 44

- Cedric Benson: 17 for 45, 1 TD

- Steven Jackson: 18 for 55

- Jonathan Stewart: 4 for 16

- DeAngelo Williams: 6 for 6

Benson and LaRod Stephens-Howling are the only two players to rush for a touchdown against Seattle. The Seahawks defense has allowed four offensive touchdowns in five games. Rams punter John Hekker and Panthers corner Captain Munnerlyn have combined for as many touchdowns against Seattle as those six quarterbacks.

The last offensive touchdown against Seattle came two weeks ago.


- Larry Fitzgerald: 4 for 63

- Andre Roberts: 5 for 54, TD

- Miles Austin, 5 for 63, TD

- Dez Bryant, 3 for 17

- Jason Witten, 4 for 58

- Greg Jennings, 6 for 35

- James Jones, 5 for 55

- Jordy Nelson, 2 for 19

- Randall Cobb, 1 for -1

- Jermichael Finley, 4 for 60

- Danny Amendola, 6 for 55, TD (from Hekker on trick)

- Chris Givens, 1 for 52

- Steve Smith, 4 for 40

- Brandon LaFell, 3 for 44

- Greg Olsen, 2 for 37

Fitzgerald and Austin tie for most receiving yards against Seattle, with 63.

Total defense update:

- Seattle has given up 70 points, second fewest in the NFL to the 49ers 68 points allowed. (Texans have allowed 56 and play the Jets tonight, so they might as well also be ahead of Seattle.)

- The 49ers were 2nd in the NFL in scoring defense last season and gave up 78 points after five games. The Steelers were #1 and allowed 89 points after five games (which included a shutout to you-know-who)

- Seattle is 1st in the NFL in total defense with 209.8 yards per game allowed. They are 1st in the NFL with 4.4 yards per play allowed.

- Seattle is eighth in the NFL in 1st downs allowed with 85 but five teams ahead of them have only played four games. The 49ers and Chiefs have allowed fewer in five games but the Chiefs haha.

-The Seahawks have allowed three passing touchdowns, one of which was to Hekker. The Ravens and Rams have allowed two. The Rams faced Russell Wilson though.

- The Hawks (Pro-tip: Keep calling them different things to avoid repetition) are third in the NFL in rushing defense per game. They are allowing 66.6 yards on the ground per game which is spooky like the defense! The Bears are second but they allow 3.6 yards per carry (remember, Seattle is at 3.2, which is second in the NFL.) The Dolphins are the only better rush defense. (Crazy 2.7 yards per carry allowed for Miami.)

- Sea-fense is allowing 5 net yards per pass attempt, which is second in the NFL behind Houston.

- But really does any NFL defense combine such rushing numbers and passing numbers? Dolphins have a superior run defense, but are allowing passers to gain 7 YPA. Seahawks are allowing 6 YPA to quarterbacks. Think about that for a second, here are two comparisons:

Player A - 63.2% completions, 815 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT, 6.5 YPA, 75.2 QB rating, Sacked 10 times

Player B - 56% completions, 1,053 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT, 6 YPA, 72.4 QB rating, Sacked 16 times

That second line is quarterbacks (and Hekker) that have faced Seattle. Quarterbacks facing Seattle are worse than Russell Wilson, so I guess that other teams should probably bench those guys for Matt Flynn.

- The Texans have the lowest Net Yards/Attempt passing in the NFL (and is about to get better tonight, and has faced Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, Peyton Manning, and Jake Locker/Matt Hasselbeck. Manning threw for 330 yards, 2 TD) but is also allowing 4.3 yards per carry.

No, the team most similar to Seattle's defense is the team that it had appeared we were emulating as of late... the San Francisco 49ers. Hey, if I can get within a Leon Washington dropped punt of the Super Bowl, I'll take that defense.

Yeah, I'd say that 'by the numbers' Seattle's defense is not something you'd want to show to my adolescent, math-failing, sports-obsessed self. Time to go hit the pants store.

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