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Bumpus: Seahawks’ biggest bye-week goal? Improve on 3rd downs

The Seahawks have struggled on third down on offense and defense in 2020. (Getty)

The Seahawks are off this weekend and currently sit at 5-0, which is best not only in the NFC West, but the NFC in general.

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Like any other team, Seattle will use the bye to get healthy, especially on defense where two starters have missed multiple games and others are banged up.

But aside from getting healthy, there are issues that this team must improve on if they hope to remain the top dog of the NFC West and the conference as a whole.

The first focus, former Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus said to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant is the players must be smart due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Keep the same schedule you had during the season, which helped make this team so successful,” he said.

As far as what needs to get better on the field, both the offense and defense need to improve in the same area.

“Offense and defense, they can come together on one thing: third downs,” Bumpus said.

Currently, the Seahawks are 31st in the league in third-down conversions on offense. They’ve converted 15 third downs (fewest in the league) on 46 chances, good for just 32.6% per ESPN. On defense, Seattle is tied for 28th in third-down defense, allowing conversions 50% of the time per TeamRankings.

“For all the positives that the offense has done, that’s where they’re struggling,” Bumpus said. “For all the things that the defense is struggling with, I think that’s a big factor in them having success going forward.”

The Seahawks’ win against the Vikings was a prime example of those third-down struggles.

On offense, Seattle won despite going 0-7 on third down. The last team to win a game without converting on third down? The Seahawks in 2018 against the Cardinals.

Defensively it was a little better, going 6-14 on third down, but the Vikings were able to put some long drives together thanks to key third-down conversions and even a few fourth-down conversions.

The Seahawks have had a top offense so far and are doing most things right, but those third downs have been that group’s biggest area of weakness by far.

“You have to be able to keep drives going,” Bumpus said. “Russell Wilson and the (offense) can do that, but (they’ve been) putting so much pressure on them to be able to be successful on second down. Put together 13- or 14-play drives and really grind it out. And then for the defense, just get off the field so the offense can work.”

A big reason offense hasn’t been able to convert on third down has been self-inflicted wounds and flat-out failing to execute.

“Limit your penalties and just execute,” Bumpus said, noting the Seahawks were in second-and-long and third-and-long too many times against the Vikings due to sacks and penalties. “A third-and-2? You’ve got to pick it up. There were some situations where it was third-and-short and they just didn’t get it done.”

Listen to the conversation at this link or in the player below.

Follow Michael Bumpus on Twitter.

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