Seahawks Found ‘Fools Gold’ During 2022 Winning Streak

Pete Carroll

Getty A CBS Sports NFL writer argued that head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks found fool's gold during their 2022 winning streak.

The Seattle Seahawks caught fire in October and early November this season, winning five of six contests, including four in a row to jump out to a 6-3 record.

Since then, the Seahawks have lost two straight. They will look to get back on the right track against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13, but NFL writer Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports implied that it’s the winning streak, and not the recent two-game skid, that might be the aberration.

Kerr specifically wrote that the defensive success the Seahawks experienced in October “was fools gold.”

“Seattle’s defense was torched by the Raiders offense, as Las Vegas amassed 576 yards against the unit (293 passing, 283 rushing),” Kerr wrote. “The Seahawks have allowed 497.5 yards per game over the last two games — both losses — and an astonishing 222 rushing yards per game.

“The defense that allowed 282.8 yards per game in the four contests prior to Munich is long gone. Seattle has been gashed on the ground and the defense can’t get off the field on third down (29th in NFL).

“Seattle won’t make the playoffs if this defense can’t make stops.”


Seahawks’ Inconsistent Run Defense

Week 12 wasn’t the first time Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs exploded for a huge game. Although his 229 rushing yards was a new career high, it was the fourth time this season Jacobs eclipsed the 140-yard mark on the ground.

But after 11 games, it’s clear that Seattle’s run defense is inconsistent at best, and when it struggles, the Seahawks have a much tougher time winning.

When the Seahawks have allowed more than 150 rushing yards in a game this season, they own a 0-5 record. They are undefeated when they yield under 150 rushing yards.

To further cement how important the Seattle run defense has been in the team’s results this season, just look at the unit’s rushing yards allow average difference in wins and loss. When the Seahawks win, they have yielded an average of 107.5 rushing yards per game.

But when the Seahawks lose, they have allowed about 209.4 yards on the ground per contest.

That’s obviously a staggering difference.


Seahawks Run Defense Struggling the Last Two Games

During the four-game winning streak, Seattle allowed 99.3 rushing yards per game. It appeared as though the team had experienced a breakthrough at stopping the run after yielding at least 145 rushing yards in each contest from Weeks 2-5.

But the Seahawks have taken a step back against the run the last two weeks, giving up 161 yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 283 to the Raiders. Seattle at least held Tampa Bay to 3.7 yards per carry, but the Seahawks yielded a season-high 7.1 yards per rush versus the Raiders.

That’s not going to get it done, and teams may now have a blue print of how to beat Seattle.

The Buccaneers and Raiders each called at least 40 running plays in their matchup versus the Seahawks. Game flow obviously impacts the number of carries a team can have in a game, but if Seattle can’t deter opponents from sticking with the run, the Seahawks may continue to see a lot of running from the opposition.

That hasn’t been a good thing for Seattle the last two weeks.

According to the Pro Football Focus grades, the Seahawks run defense has been well below average the last two weeks. The defense’s grade against the run was also below average in each of the first four weeks of the season.

PFF graded Seattle’s defense against the run much better from Weeks 5-9. But still, the Seahawks have more performances with poor run defense grades than above average grades this season.


Other Areas for Seahawks Defense to Improve

The last two losses doesn’t fall just on Seattle’s run defense. The Seahawks have allowed multiple touchdown passes in each of the last three weeks.

In their two most recent losses, the Seahawks posted just 1 sack. They had 10 sacks in the prior two games and averaged nearly 5.0 sacks per game during their four-game winning streak.

As Kerr noted, Seattle is also struggling on third down more recently. The Buccaneers and Raiders combined to go 18-for-29 on third-down attempts (62.0%) against the Seahawks. Opponents converted just 34.4% of their third-down tries during Seattle’s four-game winning streak.

The Seahawks need to generate more pressure and get off the field on third down to turn things around and make the postseason. But it still appears that Seattle’s defensive success will start with the run defense. If opposing offenses can’t run the ball, they will face longer third downs and more obvious passing situations, which should help the Seahawks in many areas.

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