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The Seahawks need to clean up their horrendous two-minute defense

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

One of the worst moments for the Seattle Seahawks in their 30-29 win over the Los Angeles Rams was Pete Carroll’s late 1st half decision to forgo a 4th and 1 attempt to instead kick a 48-yard field goal, which Jason Myers missed. The Rams went the other way and scored a touchdown in their two-minute offense, changing the complexion of the game significantly.

We’ve discussed to death Carroll’s game management and opting for a field goal instead of a touchdown (while burning more time off the clock), what is undeniable is that the defense could’ve mitigated the Myers miss by holding the Rams off the scoreboard. They failed, as they’ve done repeatedly this season.

Seattle’s defense as a whole is just not good, but they are especially woeful in two-minute drills. Here’s a rundown of how the Seahawks have fared in 1st half two-minute drives:

2019 Seahawks defense in the two-minute drill (1st Half only)

Opponent Drive Start Time Drive End Time Plays Yards End Result
Opponent Drive Start Time Drive End Time Plays Yards End Result
Bengals 0:52 0:07 4 75 Touchdown
Saints 2:33 0:33 7 58 Touchdown
Rams 1:34 0:06 8 62 Touchdown

They didn’t have to defend against the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals because the only offensive play either of them ran in the two-minute drill was a Kyler Murray kneeldown.

My thoughts on this defense, which forced a grand total of TWO third down plays through those three drives, can best be summed up by Cedric Daniels from The Wire.

The only good Seahawks two-minute defense we’ve seen this year was when they successfully thwarted Andy Dalton’s virtually impossible comeback attempt on opening day. Cincinnati got the ball with :21 left, no timeouts, and at least 40 yards away from field goal range. Rasheem Green sealed the game with a strip-sack.

At the end of the Rams game — Tedric Thompson’s INT was outside the two-minute warning so I’m not counting it — Jared Goff drove Los Angeles 77 yards in 10 plays from his own 7-yard line, again with only two third downs to face. That Greg Zuerlein missed his field goal is fortunate for us and let the defense off the hook.

This may not necessarily be a 2019 issue either, as you may recall last season’s playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys saw the Seahawks give up a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive right before halftime. Dallas only faced one third down on their march towards the end zone.

I don’t know what the malfunction is, but I am sick of watching a failure to defend the sideline while the other team effectively stops the clock whether they have timeouts or not. On the topic of third downs, Seattle also has issue forcing them throughout the game, as they rank near the bottom of the NFL in that category, which is a shame because they have a pretty good third down defense. “Bend but don’t break” really has its limitations when you are a little bit too easy to break.

Seattle has lived a charm life when it comes to winning close games, but these are not always going to break in the Seahawks’ favor. Hell I could write a separate article on how awful the two-minute offense usually looks, but the defense is the one under the microscope because they’ve been visibly more inept at one of the most basic aspects of situational football. If this isn’t fixed soon, then don’t be surprised if we’re reviewing a Seahawks loss (or two) and bemoaning how the defense couldn’t make a stop when it needed to.