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Huard: Seahawks’ defense had one of the best in-season turnarounds ever

The Seahawks have gone from the NFL's worst defense to one of the league's best. (AP)

For the first half of the Seahawks’ season, the defense was, simply put, bad.

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While Seattle’s offense was flying around the field and putting up huge numbers, the defense was allowing any and all opponents to march up and down the field seemingly at will. At one point, the Seahawks were on pace to allow the most total yards and passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

Now, Seattle has allowed 21 points or fewer in each of the team’s last six games, culminating in a 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams and their potent offense to clinch the NFC West.

Needless to say, the turnaround has been extremely impressive, as former NFL quarterback Brock Huard was quick to point out on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning.

“(The win) validates one of the greatest in-season turnarounds in the history of the NFL,” he said. “They were the worst defense at the halfway point of the season statistically in yards and passing yards. The worst. Not like ‘they’re kind of bad’ … they were the worst! They were trending as the worst in the history of the league.”

Over that first half of the season, the Seahawks were banged up, the defense clearly wasn’t clicking and it was unclear whether or not the pass rush, which was a huge issue last year, could get after the quarterback.

Starting in the second half of a Week 10 loss to the Rams, the Seahawks began showing what they could be defensively. They allowed just one touchdown in that half, which came on Los Angeles’ first drive in the third quarter. The Rams wouldn’t score the rest of the way.

Since that game, the Seahawks have allowed just 13.7 points per game in their last six contests.

Now, the Seahawks are 14th in scoring defense, 23rd in yards allowed and seventh in sacks.

Aside from a trade for veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Seattle has largely rolled out the same personnel on defense as well, which makes the turnaround all the more impressive.

“To sit now in the second half of the season, I don’t ever – certainly in this franchise’s history – remember making that kind of move in the season the way they have,” Huard said.

Huard said it’s remarkable the way that the coaching staff, led by head coach Pete Carroll and often-scrutinized defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., learned how to utilize its players and understand what that defense needed to do.

“That is a testament to trading for Carlos Dunlap,” he said. “That is a testament to elevating (cornerback) D.J. Reed, for playing (nickel cornerback) Ugo Amadi and growing him. It is a testament to learn (safety) Jamal Adams, a pretty volatile and violent player, and to put him in the right lane.”

The Seahawks enter the final week of the season at 11-4 and as NFC West champions, assuring they will be at least the NFC’s No. 3 seed and host at least one home playoff game. Seattle wraps up the regular season with a road contest against the San Francisco 49ers.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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