Quick, let’s go back and find all the articles, tweets, comments, and texts from your co-worker about how the Seattle Seahawks defense was going to be trash without Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, and Kam Chancellor. Now give those same people a peak into the future and say, “K.J. Wright won’t play in the first six games and Earl Thomas will holdout, only to return and break his leg in Week 5.”
The result: The Seahawks still have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Maybe Pete Carroll is a good coach. Maybe John Schneider is good at drafting.
Seattle beat the Oakland Raiders 27-3 on Sunday, only being denied of a shutout because of an extremely bad call by the refs to not overturn a play that would’ve been a forced fumble by the Seahawks, which would have been their fourth of the day and their third recovery. The Seattle defense held Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to 142 yards passing and 4.6 yards per attempt with six sacks. Total net passing yards by Oakland: 106.
The Seahawks got an advantage when All-Pro left guard Kelechi Osemele was ruled out and the Raiders are already playing with top-tier right tackle Donald Pen, who is on injured reserve. But advantage or not, Seattle has plenty to be confident in with defensive linemen Frank Clark and Jarran Reed; Clark had 2.5 sacks, giving him 5.5 on the season, while Reed has his fourth sack of the year. Those two (recent second round picks) have helped set the tone for the Seahawks defense, which has now held four opponents to under 200 yards passing, the most of any team in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers (who play on Monday Night) also had three going into Week 6, as did the Detroit Lions, who are on a bye.
Critics (I see y’all out there) will point to Seattle’s schedule of quarterbacks: Case Keenum, Mitchell Trubisky, Dak Prescott, Josh Rosen, Jared Goff, and Carr. But let’s not forget what era of football we are playing in.
Trubisky had 316 yards passing against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and has nine touchdowns in his last two games. Rosen’s been leading the Arizona offense much better than Sam Bradford ever did. Dak had 255 yards and two touchdowns in the week after his loss to the Seahawks. As I write this, he’s playing pretty well against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Carr’s lowest yardage total prior to Sunday was 268 and he’d been completing 71.3% of his attempts with 8.1 Y/A, by far a career-high.
With the upcoming schedule, maybe we can admit that it’s unlikely that they’ll continue to play this good, but let’s also not cynically deny that they’ve mostly been great.
After the Week 7 bye, Seattle is set to face Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Goff, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton. Three of those five games are on the road. The Seahawks are 3-3. They’ll be hoping that Wright can make his debut against the Detroit Lions. We’ll also be monitoring the progress of young players like Tre Flowers, Tedric Thompson, and Shaquill Griffin the secondary. Many of the names might be different than they were during Carroll’s most dominant few seasons with the team, but there’s potential that by the end of this season we’ll be seeing many of these players in a completely new light.
Reed and Clark already look like stars who could have double-digit sacks this year. Quinton Jefferson added two more QB hits to his team-leading total of nine. Branden Jackson had his first career solo sack. Shamar Stephen had his first sack with the team. Barkevious Mingo had a team-high seven tackles. Poona Ford had two tackles. Bradley McDougald has to be one of the front-runners for Pro Bowl strong safety. Jacob Martin had a QB hit and a fumble recovery.
Bobby Wagner exists.
Seattle’s pass rush has really been lacking this year but against a bad Raiders offensive line, they feasted and they did so without Dion Jordan and Rasheem Green. That’s notable and not only could it help them get through their next stretch of five games — we may be on the verge of another promising stretch from this defense with almost all new names.