Heaps: What changed for Seahawks’ defense from first half to second half

Dec 13, 2021, 1:23 PM | Updated: 1:25 pm
Houston's Nico Collins catches the ball in front of Seahawks CB Sidney Jones in a game earlier this season. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Thing didn’t look great for the Seahawks defensively to start the game against the Houston Texans as rookie quarterback Davis Mills started the contest a perfect 14-14 while leading two scoring drives in his team’s first three possessions.

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But after that perfect start, Mills completed 19-35 passes the rest of the way and the Texans didn’t score in the second half. The Seahawks also shut out the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of last week’s win as well.

But when looking at Seattle’s 33-13 win over the Texans from a defensive standpoint, what was the difference between the first half and a dominant second half? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps broke it down in Four-Down Territory on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Monday.

“It is one of the things that drives me nuts about this defensive philosophy overall … You cannot sit back and try to survive,” Heaps said. “And I knew that’s what they were going to do in this this week. I understood David Mills (being a rookie), maybe he’ll make some mistakes, he’ll turn the ball over or this, that and the other.”

That didn’t happen, though, as Mills finished the day 33 of 49 for 331 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. But most of that damage came in the first half, so what changed between the second and third quarters?

“The first half, you made it so incredibly easy on the rookie quarterback that he could just sit back there and pick you apart. It’s a talented young man (playing like it’s) seven-on-seven. I mean, that’s basically what it felt like to him back there. Really hardly any pressure, zone coverage was nice and soft, nice and easy. You just play seven-on-seven and pick you apart,” Heaps said.

“And then the second half what happened? They started playing more man-to-man, they started being more aggressive with their coverage in their zone principles and actually started to look up receivers rather than just keeping their eyes on the quarterback,” Heaps later added. “You have to play more aggressively defensively from a pass coverage perspective. And I just don’t understand (why they don’t) start (games) that way.”

Heaps said that shutting out teams in the second half in consecutive games is great and is something the Seahawks can build off of, but over these final four games, Seattle needs to start better, especially in the upcoming game against the Los Angeles Rams.

“When it comes to this Rams team that they’re about to face, you cannot make it easy on Matthew Stafford like that, and Cooper Kupp and the rest of that group,” Heaps said.

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