BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 10/17/2015

Seahawks’ much-hyped defense trending south

The Legion of Boom includes three Pro Bowlers — Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor — but results have been uncharacteristically poor so far.

Kam Chancellor and his mates in the secondary are backsliding. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Hard to figure which is more preposterous: that Fernando Rodney, a poster boy all summer for blown saves, could end the baseball season by firing an arrow to cap a World Series victory for the Chicago Cubs, or that the Legion of Boom, rife with three Pro Bowlers, would rank after five weekends among the NFL’s most beleaguered secondaries.

Rodney at least follows a well-documented pattern of ex-Mariners flourishing in new environments. But the Legion of Boom finds itself in alien territory, even factoring in the two games missed by SS Kam Chancellor is a contract dispute.

First, let’s backtrack a bit.

Two years ago, en route to their Super Bowl vanquishing of the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks allowed a league-low 172 passing yards per game. Last year, that increased roughly 13 yards to 185.6, still the NFL low. This year, that number has jumped to 214.2. It gets worse.

In 2013, Seattle allowed 30 pass plays of 20+ yards. Last year, it allowed 32. This year, the Seahawks have allowed 19 through five games (in the NFC, only San Francisco with 21 and Detroit with 19 have allowed more). That’s a pace for 60, double the total allowed two years ago.

On pass plays of 25+ yards, only the San Francisco 49ers (13), Detroit Lions (11) and Washington Redskins (11) among NFC teams have permitted more than Seattle’s 10.

Blame it on bad bounces, says Richard Sherman.

“I don’t think the defense is far away from where we want to be,” Sherman said this week. “Sometimes you get the bounces, sometimes you don’t. That game (Cincinnati), we didn’t get the bounces. The Rams game, we didn’t get the bounces. The years before we got the bounces. We didn’t get them this year. We’ve got to see how the season goes from here, maybe things will change.”

Or maybe not. Two years ago, the Seahawks posted the NFL’s lowest opponent quarterback rating, 63.4. That ticked up last year to 80.4. This year, the number is 97.2. Only five NFC teams are worse, and the 97.2 represents  — so far – the nadir in franchise history:

Year Coach Opp. Rate Skinny
2015 Pete Carroll 97.2 Allowing 67.9 comp. pct., 10.8 yards per catch
2008 Mike Holmgren 96.0 Went 4-12 in Holmgren’s final year as coach
2009 Jim Mora 93.4 Went 5-11, setting up Mora’s ouster from NFL
1977 Jack Patera 91.7 Overmatched first-year Seahawks finished 2-12
2000 Mike Holmgren 90.8 -85 point differential in 6-10 campaign
2010 Pete Carroll 89.7 Made playoffs, lost in divisional round
1989 Chuck Knox 89.3 7-9 after consecutive playoff appearances

In addition to a rising opponent quarterback rating, the opponent completion percentage against the Seahawks is also at a Pete Carroll-era high. The progression over the past four seasons: 2012: 59.7; 2013: 58.0; 2014: 61.7; 2015: 67.9. The Seahawks would be allowing more than 70 percent if they hadn’t drawn Chicago’s hapless Jimmy Clausen in Week 3.

Seattle’s 67.9 ranks 27th in the NFL.

Blown leads

Lots of chatter this week about Seattle’s blown fourth-quarter leads after the Seahawks couldn’t hold a 17-point, seeming slam dunk against the Bengals Sunday in Cincinnati. But the Seahawks also lost to the St. Louis Rams by allowing Nick Foles to orchestrate a 12-play, 84-yard drive to force overtime in Week 1, and couldn’t hold a one-point lead at Green Bay in Week 2.

Frittering away fourth-quarter leads is nothing new for the Seahawks. Since 2012, they have lost a fourth-quarter lead 15 times, losing 11 of those games:

Year Date Opp. Lead Time Result
2012 Sept. 9 at Ariz 16-13 9:20 Ariz won 20-16 on Kevin Kolb TD pass
2012 Sept. 24 vs. GB 7-6 8:44 GB went ahead 12-7, Seattle won 14-12
2012 Oct. 28 at Det 24-21 5:27 Det won 28-24 on Matt Stafford TD pass
2012 Nov. 25 at Mia 21-14 7:54 Miami won on 43 FG by Dan Carpenter
2012 Dec. 2 at Chic 17-14 9:24 Bears tied with FG, lost in OT 23-17
2012 Dec. 30 vs. StL 13-10 11:23 Rams tied with FG, Sea won 20-13
2013 Oct. 6 at Ind 28-23 8:55 Colts won 34-28, scoring last 10 points
2013 Dec. 8 at SF 17-16 6:20 49rs won on 22 FG by Phil Dawson
2013 Dec. 22 vs. Ariz 10-9 7:26 Lost 17-10 on Carson Palmer TD pass
2014 Sept. 21 vs. Den 20-12 0:59 Won 26-20 after Broncos forced OT
2014 Oct. 12 vs. Dal 23-20 8:16 Dallas scored last 10 points, won 30-23
2014 Nov. 16 at KC 20-17 13:40 Chiefs won 24-20, Knile Davis TD
2015 Sept. 13 at StL 31-24 4:39 Rams scored last 10, won 34-31 in OT
2015 Sept. 20 at GB 17-16 3:12 Packers scored last 10, won 27-17
2015 Oct. 11 at Cin 24-7 12:18 Bengals scored last 20, won 27-24

Shaq Thompson returns; Huskies aren’t missing him

A three-year starter and three-time All-Pac-12 honoree at the University of Washington, Shaq Thompson went to the Carolina Panthers the past spring as the 25th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Now Carolina’s starting strong side linebacker, Thompson followed fellow ex-Huskies Danny Shelton (No. 12, Cleveland) and CB Marcus Peters (No. 18, Kansas City) in the first round and preceded Hau’oli Kikaha (No. 44, New Orleans), selected in the second.

Despite losing a record three No. 1 picks, plus a second rounder, the Huskies statistically lost nothing. They have allowed fewer rushing, passing and total yards per game this year than last, and 9.8 fewer points:

Year Rush Pass Total PA Skinny
2014 124.1 286.6 410.6 24.8 Finished 8-6, lost Cactus Bowl 30-22
2015 121.6 204.4 326.0 15.0 Vs. Oregon Saturday at Husky Stadium

So much for being decimated by great players leaving a program.


YourThoughts

  • Eddie

    A team that relies on “the bounces” to determine a win or loss is not a good team. Hate to say it but that’s how the ball bounces.