The Seattle Seahawks have fielded arguably the best defenses in the NFL over the last four weeks of the NFL season. Dating back to their first matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, not only have they have won four straight, but they have been shutting teams down in the process. In previous seasons, we have had to wait until a bit later in the season to see the team’s seemingly annual defensive renaissance; Clint Hurtt has made his mark on this team and precipitated a turnaround so drastic that it is shocking to even the most optimistic among us. Here is a partial list of achievements from Weeks 6-9, according to StatHead, unless otherwise noted.
- First in yards-per-play allowed (4.27)
- Tied for first in number of sacks (19) and third in pressures (39), all while bllitzing only 12 times, tied with the Atlanta Falcons for fourth fewest among all teams.
- Second in batted passes (5)
- Tied for second in turnovers generated (7)
- Fifth overall in points per game (16.5)
This list could probably go on even further, but the point stands that Seattle has made a massive turnaround on their defense. In addition to seeing DROY-level play out of Tariq Woolen, the team has witnessed a pass rushing revelation in Uchenna Nwosu; furthermore, they are seeing promising development from almost every other player on this defense, including some guys like Cody Barton who have spent portions of their career as a lightning rod for criticism. Their veteran free agent signings have materialized into competent starters and high-level rotational players (Mike Jackson, BRUUUUUUUCE) and Shelby Harris is looking more and more like the guy the team hoped they would get when they made a significant move to acquire him from the Denver Broncos. Simply put, this type of turnaround is a top-to-bottom team effort, from the coaches to the players.
In some ways, the statistics listed above could look even better, such as their points-per-game allowed number. Officially, the Seahawks have allowed 66 points over their previous four games. However, while the box scores indicate that the Los Angeles Chargers and the Cardinals put up 23 and 21 points on this team, respectively, these final lines don’t tell the full story. As we all saw on Sunday, the defense can’t be blamed for the pick-6, as they only really allowed two touchdowns to the Cardinals offense.
Similarly, the Chargers scored following Dee Eskridge’s botched pitch attempt; they started with the ball on Seattle’s 33. And the defense has already shut the Chargers down on a short field following an interception earlier in the game, so they deserve extra credit. If you take out these touchdowns, the defense would only be allowing 13 points per game; of course, football doesn’t exactly work this way, but the point stands that Clint Hurtt’s unit has been kicking butts left and right over the last few weeks, and it is looking like anything but a fluke.
Hopefully they can carry this attitude into Germany when they take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend; I don’t know about you, but I would love to see this run of stellar play continue against TB12.