It’s possible the 2016 and 2017 Seattle Seahawks, through underachievement on the field amid sky-high expectations, made you wonder if football could ever be fun again. The 2018 Seahawks are here to answer that question. In the affirmative. The strong affirmative.
They’re here to make you remember the wild ride that we took six seasons ago, a roller-coaster that could’ve easily culminated in a Super Bowl appearance but didn’t — in much the same way our current Seahawks will stride into the playoffs but won’t have quite enough juice to finish the run. (Sorry for the spoiler, it couldn’t be helped.)
It’s 2012 all over again, and not just because both teams were 4-3 through seven games. Buckle the hell up.
EXHIBIT A: The ballHawking
In 2012, one statistic told a better story than any other: takeaways. Seattle ran a +13 giveaway differential back then on the way to a wild-card berth, and they’re intent on following the same path. Through seven games, they’re already at +10, including this gem at the one-yard line that helped preserve a road victory.
Matt Stafford picked off on the 1 by Justin Coleman pic.twitter.com/DQxHJgF69K— SquadQL (@SquadQL) October 28, 2018
The pass defense looks like 2012 statistically in two other measures: Y/A against and passer rating against.
2012: The Seahawks’ 5.7 Y/A allowed was second overall, and their rating against was 72.7, good for third.
2018: Seattle’s 6.3 Y/A allowed appears much higher on a raw level, but actually places them third overall, and their rating against is a sparkling 79.9, also third.
In an even more pro-passing game than six years ago, the Seahawks’ stats may look a little worse at first glance, but are not any worse relative to the rest of the league, which is what really matters.
If we’re talking volume, Seattle has forced 10 interceptions already, second-most among all teams who’ve played just seven games. Pete Carroll wants his teams to get after the ball. That’s happening at a rate that echoes the LOB’s rise to prominence. A new generation of ballHawks is learning to fly.
EXHIBIT B: The philosophy
Put aside your membership in Team #NeverRun and Team #AlwaysRun. Coach Carroll is going to coach the team without your input. (He is so rude.) And one of his go-to mantras is “Protect the ball.” It’s something the 2012 crew did astoundingly well, with only 18 turnovers committed, or 1.1 per game. And the 2018 team stands at 0.9 through seven games. Just like their highly successful predecessors, they are not going to give the game away through sloppy ball management.
On a related note, they’re also not going to spend a lot of time passing.
2012: 536 runs, 405 passes, 36 sacks. A 55-percent running team.
2018: 222 runs, 182 passes, 21 sacks. A 52-percent running team.
If an independent observer had to describe the Seahawks’ 2012 offensive identity in 12 words or less (why 12? come on), he or she probably settles on “Ball-control offense spearheaded by bruising back and an explosive quarterback.” Which, is, naturally, 2018 in a nutshell. With some different faces.
EXHIBIT C: The roles
There is no LOB, no Marshawn Lynch, no Golden Tate, no Zach Miller, no Chris Clemons — all key components to turning around four consecutive losing seasons in Seattle.
But a new secondary is rising to prominence. You sat through the numbers lesson. Your reward is a ton of pretty, pretty pictures. Sacksy pictures.
Here you’re looking for number 37, the Tre Flowers, who isn’t Richard Sherman yet, but has learned a thing or two about defending the run, like his LOB ancestor did.
The Seahawks would’ve won in Detroit without this timely Tedric Thompson forced fumble, but it didn’t hurt. Yes, Thompson plays special teams. Just like the previous batch of safeties used to all the time. Special teams matter when Carroll’s running the show. They represent another opportunity to punish and steal.
Bradley McDougald encourages you to not forget about him, which, how could you, after two picks, two forced fumbles, one recovery, and five passes defensed in less than half a season?
On to the offense. Chris Carson is definitely not Beast Mode, but he definitely is in the Beast Mold. Not only is he tough, but he has vision that reminds one of Marshawn.
Chris Carson and Mike Davis earning strong second and third reads in run game. pic.twitter.com/EEPVFOQoeY— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 28, 2018
Here he tackles two Lions on the way to the end zone, instead of the other way around. Silly Lions.
Carson was doing this Baby Beast imitation as early as his rookie year, when he finished second [edit: not fourth!] in tackle-breaking, as measured by Pro Football Focus.
Golden Tate can never be replaced, miss u Golden, please come back, I’m beggin’ here. But it’s not like Tate made catches in traffic any better than David Moore yesterday. Just more often.
Why can’t Ed Dickson be just as valuable of a tight end as Miller? They both block, they both run corner routes in the end zone...
Now Clemons was something else: fierce, relentless, bad in a good way, with mayhem on his mind. Frankly, does that remind you of anyone?
Playing the role of Russell Wilson is... Wilson. Who better, than the older and wiser version of himself, even if he isn’t quite as evasive on the field anymore. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Doug Baldwin have reprised their original starring/supporting roles. In which they were nominated for awards, and as we all know, it’s an honor just to be blah blah blah.
EXHIBIT D: The fun is back
The men in blue and green are enjoying themselves in a way we haven’t always seen.
Motown Party Times pic.twitter.com/ihRRe4j9by— John Fraleeeeeeeek (@johndavidfraley) October 28, 2018
The play didn’t count, because the receiver (our good friend Tate) was ruled down by contact before fumbling. But put aside your anger at missing out on six more fantasy points and revel in a bunch of friends stopping, dropping and rolling into the end zone.
They r not mad, bro.
Well. Maybe they’re pretend mad?
Seahawks just recreated the Robin Ventura/Nolan Ryan mound charge for a touchdown celebration. pic.twitter.com/wmR296DrXe— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 28, 2018
The 2018 Seahawks are more fun to watch, their personalities are blossoming in a fashion that’s fun to watch, and they’re fun to watch win games. If you’re at work and it’s Monday morning, now’s maybe a good time to trek down to the boss’ office and request some vacation time for February of 2020.