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3 things we’ve learned about the Seahawks from their 5-0 start

It's not that Russell Wilson is passing more in 2020, it's when he is passing more. (Getty)

The Seahawks are frontrunners.

That’s not an insult or even a criticism. It’s a fact that reflects not only where they stand in the NFC, but how they play.

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This Seattle team, which made a habit out of coming from behind last season, has been getting out in front of things this year. They’ve held the lead entering the fourth quarter in each of their five games this season and they’ve turned out to need every bit of the cushion they’ve amassed to remain unbeaten.

Oh, they’re still cutting it close, and every game is a white-knuckle experience, but this team that once specialized in furious comebacks is now mounting last-minute stands.

Seattle is 5-0 for the first time in franchise history, and here are three things we’ve learned along the way:

1. The Seahawks have found their best offensive formula.

Russell Wilson is throwing more this season, but only barely. He averaged 31.2 passes through the first five games last season. He’s averaging 33.8 through five games this season. The biggest difference is when he’s throwing more. In fact, Seattle’s pass percentage on first-and-10 in Brian Schottenheimer’s three seasons as offensive coordinator traces the trend almost perfectly. In 2018, Seattle attempted a pass on first-and-10 37.7% of the time. In 2019, it was 51.8%. This season, Seattle is throwing 59.5% of the time on first-and-10. Throwing early and scoring often. That is the trend so far as Seattle is clearly making the most of its best player.

2. Seattle’s third-down defense needs to get better ASAP.

Right now, Seahawks opponents are converting exactly half of their third-down opportunities. Fifty percent. It’s not the worst in the league, but it’s within shouting distance. Only four teams are giving up a higher percentage, with Tennessee last. This should be a part of Seattle’s team that improves. The Seahawks’ secondary has been injury-riddled through these first five games. Three of Seattle’s top five defensive backs have missed games because of injury: safety Jamal Adams, cornerback Quinton Dunbar and safety Marquise Blair, who was lost for the season. Quandre Diggs missed three quarters of the win against New England after he was ejected and Lano Hill was just placed on IR. That’s a whole lot of shuffling. But things have settled down, Ugo Amadi has played well in Seattle’s nickel defense, and even with the pass rush a question mark, Seattle’s third-down defense figures to improve.

3. Seattle has some home-run hitters at receiver.

Dallas’ power trio has gotten a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are all big-play threats. But not only is DK Metcalf leading the league at 22.6 yards per catch, but David Moore is in the top 20 at 17.3 yards on his 10 receptions. Tyler Lockett leads the team with 30 catches, and while he’s as efficient as ever – catching 78.9% of his targets – he’s not been on the receiving end of the big plays that we’re accustomed to. Expect that to pick up in the weeks ahead.

Follow Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

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