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The defense that can’t stop giving up big plays

Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

In its heyday the Legion of Boom was known for hitting hard, playing tight coverage and not giving up the big play. That forced opponents to work their way down the field methodically, needing to string together long drives in order to put points on the board.

If one were to look at the stats for the defense of the 2022 Seattle Seahawks, one could be inclined to believe the exact opposite because this iteration of the Hawks defense is one of the worst in the NFL at preventing the big play.

While it is the run defense that has garnered most of the attention after not being able to stop opponents from running the ball at will since Halloween, the group has surrendered almost as many big plays through the air as on the ground. With 44 runs of 10+ yards allowed and 43 passes of 20+ yards allowed so far this season, the 87 big plays the Hawks have surrendered are the third most in the NFL.

That’s third most for a team that used to pride itself on its ability to prevent the big play both on the ground and through the air. In contrast, the opponent for the Seahawks in Week 15, the San Francisco 49ers, have been the absolute best in the entire NFL at preventing big plays so far this season.

Through the first fourteen weeks of 2022 the Niners have surrendered a total of just 40 big plays, of which 13 have come on the ground and another 27 through the air. Yes, the San Francisco defense has allowed fewer total big plays so far this year through the air and on the ground combined than the Seahawks defense has allowed on the ground and through the air individually.

Obviously, any given Sunday and all of that, but the Seahawks will need to hit the field fired up and ready to go on both sides of the ball. And anything less than a stellar performance against one of the strongest teams in the NFL likely means the end of any division title aspirations for the Hawks this season.