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Seahawks are owning the 4th quarter during winning streak

Can you win games in the 4th quarter?!

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Remember, say, two months ago when Seattle Seahawks fans were lamenting the offense’s inability to score in the 2nd half? It took them four games to score a 2nd half touchdown, for crying out loud!

Well during this winning run for one of the surprise stories of the NFL season, the Seahawks are putting games away in the 4th quarter and in some style.

Dating back to the first matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle has outscored opponents 45-19 in the final frame, good for a league-best +26 advantage. For context, their point differential in the 1st-3rd quarters is +22.

The offense has put up six touchdowns on 13 non-kneeldown possessions, while the defense has allowed just two touchdowns on 15 possessions. A recipe for success, if you ask me.

In the first Cardinals game, Seattle’s only touchdown came in the 4th quarter on a 7-play, 75-yard drive that saw Geno Smith complete 5/6 passes for 64 yards. Kenneth Walker III, aka Fourth Quarter Kenneth, pretty much put the game to bed.

The Los Angeles Chargers win was a little dicier given a 27-14 lead turned into 27-16 when Walker was tackled in his own end zone for a safety. Thankfully the defense held firm and Seattle responded with the next ten points (including a Walker touchdown) to secure a win.

Faced with a New York Giants team that’s lived off of 4th quarter comebacks, Geno Smith threw the go-ahead touchdown to Tyler Lockett, then off Richie James Jr’s second muffed punt of the afternoon it took only two plays for Walker to find the end zone.

Just two days ago in the Cardinals rematch, Seattle increased their 17-14 advantage to 24-14 off of a 13-play, 81-yard drive capped off by, you guessed it, a Walker touchdown. The defense conceded a touchdown right after this, but the Seahawks offense answered back with an 85-yard knockout punch touchdown drive in just five plays. Who do you call when you need the dagger TD? Kenneth Walker III.

Even with the early-season 2nd half struggles, the Seahawks are far and away the best 4th quarter offense by DVOA. Over the years Seattle has consistently had an excellent 4th quarter offense based on this metric, but what’s different about the 2022 team is that they are entering the final 15 minutes with leads and they are maintaining and extending them.

On the flip side, the defense has turned itself around sensationally. Arizona didn’t score a point in the 4th quarter of the first meeting, the Chargers’ 4th quarter touchdown was after they were down 37-16 and had functionally given up, the Giants were shutout after tying the game at 13-13, and the Cardinals’ comeback attempt in Sunday’s rematch still took more than half the remaining time off the clock and left them with zero room for error when the Seahawks got the ball back.

Your end result is a four-game winning streak with every win coming by 10+ points, something no Seahawks team has done since 2014.

(To clarify this stat: This doesn’t have to be a winning streak, it just has to be a span of four wins even if there are losses in between. In the case of the 2014 Seahawks, they won their last six regular season games by double digits.)

Seattle is not comprehensively blowing teams out (at least not yet), but for a month solid they have played complete football in Pete Carroll’s favorite quarter. This has been an issue for the Seahawks for more than a few seasons but for this year’s team, you don’t need late-game heroics if everyone does their job properly.