Let’s face it, the Seahawks haven’t had a really great defense since the ’92 and ’93 seasons.
Even in our Super Bowl year, our defense wasn’t “Great”. It was average, right around the middle of the pack. What helped was that our offense was so good, we ran the ball a lot which kept the clock moving, and they were opportunistic with turnovers. Not only did we get a bunch, but we got them in key moments at the ends of games while it was still within a single score and the other team was deep in our end.
Of course, the last couple years the defense has looked like the absolute pits. For that, I don’t necessarily blame personnel – although being undersized at key positions (cornerback, defensive line) didn’t really help our cause. No, the last couple years the defense has been bad primarily because the offense has been bad. Or, in other words, the defense has pretty much been the same as it was throughout the decade, only since Time of Possession was so lopsided against us, the defense was on the field WAY too much and therefore its weaknesses were much more prevalent.
Now, this isn’t an Ode To A Return Of Dominance (if you consider the ’92 and ’93 defenses dominant, which I think they were as close as this team ever got; especially when you consider those offenses were among the worst of all time). But, this defense IS half-dominant. Point blank: you can NOT run on this team! Exclamation point!
So far, we’ve given up 352 yards on the ground in five games, for an average of 70.4 yards per (which makes it the aforementioned #2 rushing defense in the NFL). To put that easily in perspective, the Seahawks’ running game is averaging 85.8 yards per game (hint: the Seahawks’ running game is god-awful; or to be technically accurate, 30th in the league).
Pretty much what I’m saying is, we’ve made other teams one-dimensional. Granted, Denver running backs don’t scare a wet paper sack, and San Diego pretty much does nothing but throw the ball anyway; but we held Frank Gore to 38 yards (2.2 ypc), Steven Jackson to 70 yards (only 3.2 ypc), and Matt Forte to 11 yards (1.4 ypc). I don’t know what you’ve heard, but those are some good backs.
To be able to keep teams one-dimensional … that’s huge! To be able to say, “Look, you’re not going to run on us today, so be prepared to throw it upwards of 40-50 times if you expect to win,” that’s tremendous. Especially when you consider some of the teams we’ll be playing and their problem quarterbacks: (Arizona twice, Oakland, Carolina, San Francisco, Tampa Bay) … would even their own fans look at their quarterbacks and have confidence that they can go out and single-handedly win them a ballgame?
It’s got to be a huge boost to the defense as a whole. To know that, pretty much, you’re always going to get to tee-off on the quarterback every single game.
Of course, lost in all this is the fact that our passing defense is 30th in the NFL, giving up 290.8 yards per game … but that’s going to happen. Especially when you play against Philip Rivers. More often than not, though, you’re NOT facing the likes of Philip Rivers or Drew Brees. And in those cases, you HAVE to take advantage of what advantages you’ve got. In this case, this week, we have to make Max Hall earn it.
Or (hopefully) die trying.