After losing to Kansas City in mid-November, the Seattle Seahawks decided that they were no longer going to allow opponents to score points.
That’s the way it seems, at least.
Yes, since losing to the Chiefs on the road, the Seahawks have allowed just 39 points in six games – an average of 6.5 points per game. Not surprisingly, Seattle has won all six of those games.
What’s been the difference for the Seahawks? Have they changed anything scheme-wise?
“It’s just having healthy bodies on the field,” Hall of Fame quarterback and Seahawks radio analyst Warren Moon said on Tiki and Tierney. “And this team has kind of re-dedicated itself to not playing as individuals like they kind of were in the beginning of the year. They’re playing for one another now. They’re playing to try to take care of the guy next to them, and that’s something that they did the last few years that (made) them one of the top defenses in the league. And they got away from the earlier this season. Now they’re back to playing for one another. I think that’s what they’ve done over the last six, seven, eight weeks. They’re playing as good a football as anybody in the league right now.”
In fact, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said the Seahawks are the best defense in NFL history. Is that valid?
“Well, they certainly have an argument just because of what they’ve done (in) nine of (the last) 10 weeks,” Moon said. “There’s been some great defenses. I’ve played against some great ones. You’ve played against some great ones. The ’85 Bears come to mind. The 1990 Philadelphia Eagles with Reggie White and Jerome Brown and that crew. There’s been some great defenses over the years in the league, so it’s kind of hard to compare, but I’ll tell you what: Right now, they’re probably playing as well as anybody over the last, say, 10 years.”
Indeed, the Seahawks have been a puzzle that few have been able to solve in recent years, including the Carolina Panthers, who play Seattle this Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET. Seattle has won low-scoring games against Carolina in each of the last three years: 16-12 in 2012, 12-7 in 2013 and 13-9 in 2014.
Given that the Panthers have averaged 9.3 points in their last three games against Seattle, it’s safe to say that points will be hard to come by this weekend. Is there anything that the Panthers – or any team – can do to exploit this defense?
“Right now, it’s really hard to say,” Moon said. “I’ve been watching this team closely now for the last four or five years. They’re pretty impressive. It’s really hard to find weaknesses in the defense.”
But there has to be something, right?
“I think if anything, you probably have to work to your tight ends against their linebackers,” Moon said, “because you’re just not going to win very much outside against their corners. You’re not going to beat them deep down the field because of Earl Thomas and how much ground he’s able to cover as the safety. So I think the linebackers against your tight end, if you have a pretty good tight end, would be one place I (would) try to work.
“And just dumping the ball off to my backs and (hoping they can) miss a tackle and maybe make yards after the catch,” Moon continued. “But they’re such a good tackling football team. It’s hard to even beat them that way. It’s really hard to find a weakness in this defense right now.”