BY Steve Rudman 04:13PM 10/10/2014

Seahawks face major test in DeMarco Murray

The top-ranked Seahawks rushing defense will get its toughest test this week in DeMarco Murray, looking for his sixth consecutive 100-yard game.

DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys is seeking his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game. / Wiki Commons

As was the case Monday, when the primary focus was stopping Washington’s Alfred Morris, the Seahawks will be tasked with another challenge Sunday in DeMarco Murray, the Dallas Cowboy who leads the NFL with 670 rushing yards and five TDs. Murray seeks his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game. If he gets it, he will tie Hall of Famer Jim Brown’s 1958 NFL record for the most such contests to start a season.

Point of comparison: Marshawn Lynch has never rushed for 100+ yards in six consecutive games. His best streak is four, done twice during the 2012 season when he finished with a career-best 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Since 2012, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s teams are 5-2 when the opponent produces a 100-yard rusher. Among the five: Two years ago, the Seahawks withstood a 182-yard effort by Adrian Peterson and defeated Minnesota 30-20. Last year, Seattle weathered a 158-yard show by Mike James and beat Tampa Bay in overtime.

San Francisco administered the two losses. Frank Gore exceeded 100 yards in both games, including 110 Dec. 8. Gore is the last 100-yard rusher allowed by the Seahawks, who haven’t come close to allowing one this season. The most they’ve ceded: 38 to Denver’s Montee Ball in Week 3.

The Cowboys have won four in a row and are tied with Philadelphia and San Diego for the best record in the NFL at 4-1. They enter the Clink averaging 160 rushing yards per game to face a Seattle defense that allows 62.3, best in the NFL by a margin of 8.7 yards over Buffalo.

A year ago, the Seahawks allowed 109 rushing yards after four games.

Although the Seahawks are only a quarter into the season and numbers can swing wildly, their pace places them among some of the elite rushing defenses in the past 15 years. These are the best, with the Seahawks shown for comparison purposes:

Year Team Y/A YPG Skinny
2000 Ravens 2.7 60.6 Allowed league-low 10.3 ppg, won SB
2006 Vikings 2.8 61.6 Ranked No. 1 vs. rush but 31st vs. pass
2014 Seahawks 2.6 62.3 Also lead NFL in rush offense at 167.2
2010 Steelers 3.0 62.8 Finished 12-4, played in Super Bowl
2007 Vikings 3.1 74.1 Ranked No. 1 vs. rush but 32nd vs. pass
2006 Ravens 3.3 75.9 Won AFC North, lost division playoffs
2008 Vikings 3.3 76.9 Finished 10-6, lost wild card game
2011 49ers 3.5 77.3 Won NFC West, lost conf. title game

Murray is the next test for the strength of the Seahawks’ defense. Murray rushed for 139 yards against Seattle in a 23-13 win Nov. 6, 2011, but was held to 44 in a 27-7 loss at the Clink Sept. 16, 2012.

“He’s really special and he continues to break really solid tackles,” Carroll said of Murray this week. “Guys have him and he keeps on moving. He’s got enough speed to run around you and set you down and bust away from you. He runs through tackles, he runs up inside very well, he’s good on the perimeter. He’s got extraordinary running ability.

“We had a really cool week of preparing for (Morris). We’re going to have to do the same thing again.  (Murray) is just really tough to deal with.”

Said defensive coordinator Dan Quinn: “When you see the tackles that he breaks, the explosiveness that he has, that’s why our regard for him is so high. Tackling is going to be a huge part of this game.”

Wilson’s house

The Seahawks have won 19 of their past 20 home games (including playoffs), outscoring opponents 584-273 (15.6 points per game differential). In those 20, Russell Wilson has thrown 36 touchdown passes and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 109.6.

Wilson’s 127.3 against Washington was his 20th 100.0+ rating in 36 career regular-season games (the Seahawks are 18-2). Among active quarterbacks, these are the most 100+ passer ratings in the first 36 games of a career:

Player Seasons Team No. Career Best (min. 20 Att.)
Russell Wilson 2012-14 Seahawks 20 139.6 vs. NO, 12/2/13
Ben Roethlisberger 2004-06 Steelers 16 158.3 at StL, 12/20/07
Aaron Rodgers 2005-09 Packers 16 155.4 at Clev, 10/25/09
Colin Kaepernick 2011-14 49ers 15 134.5 at Wash, 11/25/13
Philip Rivers 2004-07 Chargers 13 150.5 vs. SF, 12/16/10
Cam Newton 2011-13 Panthers 13 143.4 at Minn, 10/13/13
Joe Flacco 2008-10 Ravens 12 137.4 vs. Car, 9/28/14
Matthew Stafford 2010-12 Lions 12 130.8 at Den, 10/30/11
Matt Ryan 2008-10 Falcons 11 155.9 vs. TB, 9/18/14
Andy Dalton 2011-13 Bengals 11 136.2 vs. Minn, 12/22/13
Peyton Manning 1998-00 Colts 10 158.3 vs. NE, 10/22/00
Tom Brady 2001-03 Patriots 10 158.3 at Mia, 10/21/07

Number of 100.0+ passer rating the following quarterbacks had in their first 36: Kurt Warner (1998-01), 20; Dan Marino (1983-85), 17; Joe Montana (1979-82), 11; John Elway (1983-85) 8; Troy Aikman (1989-91) 7; Warren Moon (1984-86), 6; Brett Favre (1991-94) 5.


  • jafabian

    Jerry Jones has been talking this week on how the ‘Boys won’t run from Sherman the way Green Bay and Washington did but th Hawks D-Line hasn’t missed a step after losing Big Red and Chris Clemons and the LB’s have really amped up their game, enough to where the Super Bowl MVP has been regulated to only playing in nickel packages. I predicted an 8-8 season for Dallas and really don’t see that changing.

  • Mark Flynn

    Welllllll, I guess that goes in the books as a “fail”. Really poor performance across the board – offense, defense, coaching (OK, A+ to special teams, the only reason the score was closer). Too much finesse, too little Lynch, and Wilson with some really poor throws today. We got whupped.