The Seahawks started the year 5-0 in large part because Russell Wilson and the offense were putting up such insane numbers, but they’re finishing strong, and as division champs, because they are back to playing the type of defense that was the calling card of Carroll’s teams last decade.
“There were times during the season where everybody had enough statistics to go ahead and blow us out and like we weren’t worth anything on defense, but this defense is good, and they’ve shown it, and they’ve declared it,” Carroll said. “This is the kind of defense that we’ve played in years’ past when we really had good teams down the stretch. To show like that again, week after week after week, and to show it again in the most difficult challenge that we had, and not give up a touchdown all day long, that’s big time. It was really consistent, the mentality was great, it didn’t matter who was making plays, it was just guys playing football together in a really connected way, and it really showed up.”
Jamal Adams, who came to Seattle in an offseason trade and has lived up to the billing, making another Pro Bowl while recording 9.5 sacks, 80 tackles and 10 tackles for loss in 11 games, took it a step further than his head coach, declaring Seattle’s defense the best in the league.
“For everybody out there, they need to start putting respect on this defense’s name,” Adams said. “Because this defense is playing lights out. And to me, we’re the best defense in the league. You can quote that, you can do what you want to do with it ,but at the end of the day, I believe in these guys, I believe in this coaching staff and what we bring to the table day in and day out. I know how hard we work, so we’re just going to continue to get better because we haven’t even played our best football yet and that’s the scary part.”
And while on the surface it might seem preposterous to say that about a defense that was giving up more than 30 points per game for half a season, Adams and company have indeed played as well as any defense in the league ever since the Week 9 loss in Buffalo.
Following that loss to the Bills, the Seahawks ranked last in total defense (455.8 yards per game), last in passing defense (362.1 passing yards per game) and 30th in scoring (30.4 points per game). The following week, the Rams got off to a quick start, but Seattle’s defense showed signs of improvement in the second half, and has continually improved throughout the second half of season.
Including the Week 10 loss to the Rams, the Seahawks, over the past seven games, have had the NFL’s best scoring defense (15.0 points per game), ranked third in total defense (302.1 yards per game), sixth in pass defense (203.0), third in opponent yards-per-play average (4.6), fifth in opponent passer rating (78.3) and recorded 24 sacks, tied for the most over that span.