The Seattle Seahawks are one of the more interesting teams in the NFL this season, currently sitting at first in the NFC West with a 3-1 record. On paper, that looks just like what many expected Seattle’s season to look like through Week 4. However, this has been a much tougher 3-1 than expected.
Week 1 saw them barely scrape out a win at home versus Miami after a last minute Doug Baldwin touchdown followed by a Cliff Avril sack on the last play of the game. Week 2 was a tough 9-3 loss at Los Angeles in a touchdown-less game in which the Seahawks converted their only field goal attempt while Russell Wilson played with a sprained ankle.
In Week 3, they returned to form with a convincing 37-18 win versus San Francisco but the victory was marred by Russell Wilson spraining his MCL in the third quarter. The next week, Wilson miraculously recovered enough not only to start but prosper with a 300 yard, three touchdown performance in a 27-17 win at the New York Jets.
While their record is good, Seattle has a crucial problem with their roster: pass protection. The past few seasons, the Seahawks have been a duel threat team on offence. If you shut down their passing game, you still have to deal with Marshawn Lynch on the ground; if you stop Beast Mode then you’ll often wind up getting beaten in the air. Now without Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks are ranked just 27th in the league for rushing yards and there is more pressure on Russell Wilson to carry the Seahawks’ offence than in previous seasons.
What doesn’t help Wilson is that he’s being protected by what some pundits have called the worst offensive line in the NFL. Statistically, this has resulted in Wilson being sacked just nine times but the team has allowed 29 hits on the quarterback, good for equal ninth in the league. Despite a solid receiving core that includes Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, the pressure Wilson’s been under from opponents’ pass rush has stifled the Seahawks offence. They’re ranked 16th in total yards per game and 12th in passing yards per game, which is pretty ordinary for a team that considers themselves a Super Bowl chance.
Wilson’s already suffered ankle and knee sprains in just four games and with little improvement from the offensive line in sight, it seems like he’s in for a tough season of hits and playing hurt.
Enter: The Legion of Boom.
If Seattle is going to make a deep playoff run, it’s going to be on the back of their defence. The Seahawks defence leads the league in total yards (1056), yards per game (264) and total passing yards (735), rank second in passing yards per game (183.8) and total points allowed (54), and third in total rushing yards (321) and points per game (13.5).
Without the potent offence to accompany the elite defence, the Seahawks will need to turn every game into a low-scoring slugfest. To do that, they need to have the stingiest defence in the league because the offence won’t be able to bail the defence out if they have a bad day.
In a league that is becoming more focused on the passing game and the spread offence that’s become so popular at the college level, having an elite secondary like the Legion of Boom has never been more important. For the Seahawks, it just may be the key to getting back to the Super Bowl.