Carolina game marked turning point for Seahawks’ defense

Jan 6, 2015, 10:35 AM | Updated: 11:12 am
Seattle’s defense improved in two key areas beginning in Week 8 against Carolina. (Rod Mar, S...
Seattle's defense improved in two key areas beginning in Week 8 against Carolina. (Rod Mar, Seahawks)
(Rod Mar, Seahawks)

Sacks and takeaways were the biggest deficiencies for Seattle’s defense over the first month and a half of the season.

They were the biggest differences from that point forward, the main reason for the defensive turnaround that helped the Seahawks finish with the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a second meeting with Carolina, this time in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Sacks, takeaways by game
Game Sacks Takeaways Result
GB 3 1 W, 36-16
SD 1 0 L, 30-21
DEN 1 2 W, 26-20
WAS 1 0 W, 27-17
DAL 1 2 L, 30-23
STL 0 0 L, 28-26
avg. 1.17 .67 3-3
CAR 3 2 W, 13-9
OAK 1 3 W, 30-24
NYG 2 2 W, 38-17
KC 0 2 L, 20-24
ARI 3 1 W, 19-3
SF 4 3 W, 19-3
PHI 3 2 W, 24-14
SF 6 0 W, 17-7
ARI 4 1 W, 35-6
STL 4 3 W, 20-6
avg. 3 1.9 9-1

Where it all turned around? Go back to Seattle’s first meeting with the Panthers, which the Seahawks won 13-9 in Charlotte, N.C.

That Week-8 game was a turning point for the Seahawks in general, beginning a stretch that saw Seattle win nine of its last 10 regular-season games following a 3-3 start. More specifically, it was a turning point for Seattle’s defense, which rediscovered its ability to get to opposing quarterbacks and take the ball away, something that was previously lacking.

The Seahawks recorded only seven sacks and five takeaways over the first six games, bottoming out in Week 7 when they finished their loss to the Rams without one of either. But the next week against Carolina, the Seahawks sacked Cam Newton three times, picked him off and forced a fumble that they recovered.

The chart illustrates the difference between Seattle’s sack and takeaway numbers over the first six games compared to the last 10. The Seahawks averaged 1.9 takeaways and three sacks over their last 10 games, more than double what they were averaging in each category over the first six.

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