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Seahawks defense struggling to generate holding penalties

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NFL: OCT 20 Ravens at Seahawks Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I just want to preface this article by saying I am not writing this up as a complaint about NFL officiating, so please don’t interpret this as such.

Pop quiz! Can anyone tell me when is the last time a Seattle Seahawks opponent was penalized for offensive holding?

Go on, I’ll wait, and then create a bunch of space for the answer.

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The correct answer is December 2nd against the Minnesota Vikings. Pat Elflein held on a running play and that killed their drive, leading to a punt. Since then, Seattle’s opponents have gone four straight games with no holds on offense.

There’s a great database for NFL penalties called uh... NFLPenalties.com. If you’re like me and are a fan of numbers, stats, and tables, you gravitate towards sites like that one.

In further researching this curious stretch of no holding penalties, I spotted that the last hold in Seattle’s favor on a passing play was Kendrick Bourne of the San Francisco 49ers back on November 11th. Want to make this stat worse? The last time an opposing offensive lineman was called for holding on a designed pass play was November 3rd, when Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson was penalized on what turned into a Jameis Winston touchdown scramble.

You’re looking at seven consecutive games in which Seahawks opponents have called a pass and not been flagged for holding, which is more than 250+ dropbacks.

I am not going to comb through the film to see if there are some uncalled holds that the refs have missed (presumably there have been some), but here’s my hypothesis: A hidden negative impact of the Seahawks’ dismal defensive line is that they’re more often than not cleanly losing their matchups and thus the lack of holding calls is wholly justified.

Those little things can help stifle drives and create more possessions for the offense. Seattle isn’t even doing that.

This weekend, the Seahawks play an extremely banged up Philadelphia Eagles offensive line that Seattle was able to destroy the first time these teams played. If they can’t generate pressure and largely make life miserable for a squad playing an aging Jason Peters and backups playing at right tackle and right guard, then that’s a massive failure.