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Seahawks offensive line has tapped into something special

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Playing with a rookie, a new acquisition, and a nearly-forgotten backup, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line was one of the big question marks heading into the 2020 season.

After three weeks, they are playing very well indeed, as Russell Wilson sets NFL records due to his protection. Rookie Damien Lewis even continues to score extremely well in PFF line rankings.

Perhaps the biggest step forward has been the important lack of penalties across the line. If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard much about the offensive line yet, this is part of it.

Through three weeks, Duane Brown has zero penalties.
Ethan Pocic, newly shifted to center, has zero penalties.
Mike Iupati has one penalty.
Brandon Shell has one penalty.
Our rookie hero? Well, Damien Lewis is very good at penalties too. At having them.

Here’s the breakdown so far.

Week 1:

  • Holding, Damien Lewis
  • False Start, Iupati
  • False Start, Lewis
  • Holding, Lewis

Week 2:

  • False Start, Brandon Shell
  • Holding, Lewis
  • Ineligible downfield pass on Jordan Simmons which I can’t seem to remember but I’m just going to go ahead and assume this was Russell Wilson’s fault most likely.

Week 3:

  • False Start, Jamarco Jones
  • Holding, Shell

For typical OL blunders, that’s four-two-two in the first three games. Only eight backwards plays from the line in three games.

Not too shabby.

Now the Seahawks have had some good penalty games in the past, even with Germain Ifedi on the roster. But in the past, it’s often not looked this pretty. Here’s a few just from 2019.

Against the Carolina Panthers last year, Seattle put up four Holding penalties and one False Start penalty.

Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, six holds and one false start.

Against the Los Angeles Rams, four holds and one false start.

This year, the line comes with the added bonus of doing the thing lines can hopefully do: protecting the quarterback.

It’s hilarious beyond reason that in this, the year that the Seahawks are finally passing early anyway, and care nothing for puny third-and-longs, that the line looks like they’ll cut down on moving backwards.

Wilson can deal with sacks. He creates enough of them on his own. What’s much, much worse, is getting behind the sticks, screwing with the playbook, and creating impossible situations. Not doing that as an offensive unit, with these weapons, is an incredibly good recipe for success.