The Seattle Seahawks had some hiccups and bumps in their game Sunday against the New York Giants, however, the young offensive line had its best game of the season, performing especially well in the second half. The much maligned unit, playing without Luke Joeckel following his knee surgery, played far from perfect but came together to play a much better game than many had feared they would.
The mainstays of the line this season, Justin Britt and Germain Ifedi, continued to play well, though Britt left the game for a half dozen snaps before returning. Hopefully his injury is not anything serious or long term, and towards this end in his post game press conference Pete Carroll mentioned that the only injury the team sustained in the game was C.J. Prosise re-aggravating his ankle.
At right guard Oday Aboushi performed decently and continued to hold up well in the passing game. However, he continues to show his lack of power in the running game, which at times can hinder to the team’s ability to move people off the line. Regardless of that, he once again played every snap and was definitely a contributor to the best game the line has put together as a unit.
Perhaps the brightest spot of the day, or perhaps simply the most surprising development was LT Rees Odhiambo. Prior to Sunday he had been the weakest link in pass protection along the offensive line, but was nearly perfect on Sunday in preventing Giants defenders from getting their hands on Russell Wilson. I’ll let this tweet speak for itself.
Seahawks left tackle Rees Odhiambo allowed just 1 pressure vs the Giants today. (He averaged 4.4 pressures allowed per game before today)— Louie Benjamin (@PFF_Louie) October 23, 2017
At left guard Mark Glowinski and Ethan Pocic combined to perform at a level that prevented fans from missing Joeckel. Pocic also slid over to center for a half dozen snaps while Britt was out, and showed the talent that made him a second round pick. He did get pushed around a bit, which was the knock on him coming out of college, but with time in the weight room that lack of strength should be addressed and eliminated.
The one sack of Wilson combined with the grounding penalty he took combines to give the team an adjusted sack rate of below 5%, which is a definite improvement over the majority of the team’s performances earlier this season. Specifically in the second half the offensive line allowed Russell Wilson to be hit just one time and surrendered zero sacks. That's one hit and zero sacks over an entire half of football, a half of football in which Wilson tossed three touchdown passes and exploited a tired Giants defense.
Obviously the run game still needs work, as the Hawks generated only 105 rushing yards on 30 attempts once excluding the Austin Davis kneel-down at the end of the game. Of particular note in the run game, however, is that by my count the team had only three of thirty rushing attempts go for a loss or zero yards. That’s a stuff rate of just 10%, which is far below the 29% stuff rate at which the running game had performed through the first five games of the season.
Thus, while the line remains a work in progress with significant improvements still needed, the trajectory definitely appears to be in the right direction, and hopefully the performance Sunday is just scratching the surface of where the unit will be come January ... and February.