After earning All-Pro status as a rookie in 2018, Michael Dickson took a noticeable step back as a sophomore. Through five games in 2020, however, Dickson looks back in top form and has been impacting games at the level expected of him when the Seahawks used a fifth-round pick on him.
Not only has Dickson’s booming average hovered around 50 yards per punt this season, but the Aussie is back to being a field altering force on special teams. Through five games, 14 of Dickson’s 22 punts have landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Dickson’s ability to pin opposing offenses deep in their own territory was absolutely crucial on Sunday night, forcing the Vikings’ offense into long fields while Seattle’s own offense was slow to get going.
In total, Minnesota had five drives that followed a Dickson punt. Those went:
- Started at their own 2-yard line, ended with a field goal.
- Started at their own 12-yard line, ended with a punt.
- Started at their own 15-yard line, ended with a field goal.
- Started at their own 15-yard line, ended with a punt.
- Started at their own 3-yard line, ended with a touchdown.
In five punts, the worst situation Dickson and the special teams put their defense in was to start at Minnesota’s 15-yard line. While the favorable field position didn’t stop the Seahawks’ defense from giving up long drives, only one resulted in a touchdown—crucial in what was a one-point game. Pete Carroll recognized as much, calling Dickson’s performance against the Vikings “almost perfect.”
Carroll says Michael Dickson "had almost a perfect game punting last night.''— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) October 12, 2020
Dickson’s tremendous form to start the season, as well as the excellent coverage provided by the special teams unit, is a big reason why Seattle is ranked third in special teams DVOA, after finishing 20th and 24th over the past two years. While Seattle’s defense struggles, Dickson and the special teams are doing everything possible to help them out.
On Sunday night, Dickson’s ability to back teams up and make them face long fields was invaluable to an offense that didn’t click until the second half. It was a stellar performance, but simply the continuation of what has been a great season from the Seahawks’ punt unit.