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Seahawks forcing turnovers at a much higher rate

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks find themselves at 1-2, and many fans see it as a roster that is considerably less talented than the previous five or six iterations, but in one area so far they are excelling at a remarkable rate: forcing turnovers. And takeaways are a pretty vital area of football, so this is absolutely a good sign if they can keep it up.

The Seahawks have forced eight turnovers through three games, ranking second in the NFL in that category. Of those, seven are interceptions, which is already half of their 2017 total, even though we aren’t even a quarter of the way through the season. Additionally, only 10 players in the league have multiple interceptions so far and of those, three are Seahawks:

Earl Thomas is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions, while Bradley McDougald and Shaquill Griffin each have two. McDougald has also forced a fumble that was recovered by Justin Coleman. Can you say, “From Legion of Boom to Legion of Broom? Because they’re like...you know...sweeping the ball away from their opponents? Or maybe it’s, like, you know, the Legion of Groom. Because the secondary is, you know, married to the idea of taking the ball away from their opponents. Guy, let’s keep making Legion of —Oom— a thing because that’s what really matters, right?”

The secondary has technically forced all eight turnovers thus far, with the safety pair of Thomas and McDougald kinda looking very much like the safety pair of Thomas and Kam Chancellor, even if McDougald doesn’t have the same style as Kam or do exactly the same things; the important thing is that right now he seems to be having a similar impact on the field and has been exceptionally disruptive to balls in the air.

Which is the key to football right now: disrupting them air balls.

McDougald and Thomas each have four pass deflections (McDougald has also deflected a pass that led to an interception), while Griffin has three, as does Bobby Wagner. Tre Flowers has two pass deflections over the two games he was able to suit up for.

Of course the other side of that coin (and I know by now that I always need to get ahead of “the other side” of saying anything positive about Seattle in a world full of pessimists — and don’t get me wrong, we need the pessimists to keep us honest) is that the Seahawks have faced Case Keenum, Mitchell Trubisky, and a struggling Dak Prescott. So what quarterbacks lie ahead and will they provide a tougher test for the Seattle secondary and pass rush?

Next week, it should be the first NFL start for Arizona Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen. He oughta qualify as another QB likely to be more prone to turnovers than most. But the challenges do increase after that.

Barring injury, the Seahawks are likely to then see Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Goff again, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton. There’s a significant difference there but hopefully the Seattle defense is even more experienced and prepared for those tests. Next up after those guys though is the San Francisco 49ers and who knows who the quarterback will be in a couple months now that they likely have to replace Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL) for the rest of the year.

Overall, the Seahawks have forced at least two turnovers in all three of their games, and forced three turnovers in two of those. They only had three games all of last season with at least three turnovers and only five where they had multiple takeaways; in those five contests, they were 5-0. Obviously they are only 1-2 this year when forcing multiple turnovers but they’ve kept themselves alive in those games because of those turnovers and if Ken Norton can somehow keep his defense doing that — or I’ll just take positive random luck — then Seattle won’t be out of the race this season.

And then this iteration of the Seahawks won’t look that much different than Pete Carroll’s other versions after all.