Seahawks Takeaways: A good sign on defense, a bad sign on offense
The Seahawks improved to 8-3 after their win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, and now they’re getting ready to face the second team in a four-game stretch of very winnable contests.
Before we move on toward Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, though, let’s look at our takeaways from Week 12.
• There’s one number sticking with me from offense. The Eagles game wasn’t the best performance we’ve seen by any means. Russell Wilson threw just a single touchdown and saw his third-fewest totals in attempts and yards. DK Metcalf’s career day (10 receptions, 177 yards) made many other mistakes more palatable, but if there’s a number sticking out to me, it’s not from any one player’s stat line. It’s third down efficiency.
The offense has struggled here all year. Granted, they’re fifth in total first downs, which is fantastic, but you’d like to see that efficiency rate increase. They were 2 of 10 (20%) against the Eagles and are 49 of 124 (39.5%) on the year. That conversion percentage is lower than any other team in the Top 10 in total first downs gained. It’s not a red flag given their production outside of that, but certainly consider it… a light orange one.
• Likewise, the defense is inching closer to… not last place. The Seahawks had their best performance yet. Sure, it was against a struggling Eagles offense, but the Seahawks didn’t squeak by either (despite that final score). They brought pressure, sacked Carson Wentz six times, stopped a fourth down attempt, and forced a turnover.
Philadelphia was held to its second-lowest total yardage of the season. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and the Rams all allowed more. Importantly, Seattle also continued to close the gap between it and the rest of the league in terms of average yards surrendered per game.
At its worst, Seahawks opponents were averaging 472 yards per game at one point this season – more than the New Orleans Saints allowed per game when they set the record for most yards allowed back in 2011. But Seattle has cut over 50 yards from that average and are now allowing 418 per game. That’s just three yards more than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last place still isn’t great, but the Seahawks have made big steps there.
• The Seahawks dodged a bullet with Carlos Dunlap’s injury. He left the game late in the fourth quarter with what Pete Carroll later called a foot sprain. Dunlap underwent an MRI early Monday morning, which left plenty of Seahawks fans feeling nervous as his arrival coincided with a spike in production from the Seahawks’ pass rush.
Whether or not that’s the direct result of Dunlap’s presence, it’s clear he’s had an impact. Already, he has four sacks in four games (three more than he had in seven games with the Bengals earlier this year). The team as a whole has 22 sacks since Week 8 and ranks seventh in the league in total sacks.
Thankfully for Seattle, Dunlap’s injury doesn’t sound serious. Carroll said Dunlap is hoping to play this Sunday. Personally, I’m going to guess he doesn’t – but that he’s even able to work toward it is good news.