How Good Is Seattle's Defense? Time To Find Out

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM

GAME: New England Patriots (3-2, 1st, AL East) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2, T3, NFC West). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 6. WHEN: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field, Seattle. MEETING: 16th (Patriots lead 8-7). STREAKS: Seahawks W 1; Patriots W 2.HEAD COACHES: Bill Belichick, New England; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: New England by 3.5. TV: CBS. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.

The Seahawks' defensive unit, which has allowed an NFL-low 54 points (10.8) through five games, has two major tests looming. Sunday, Seattle hosts New England, the league's highest-scoring team, and Thursday is San Francisco, which last week became the first team in history to rush and pass for more than 300 yards in the same game.

New England's 33 points-per-game offense is directed by 35-year-old Tom Brady, who will be making the first -- and probably last -- start of his career in Seattle. Brady enters with a 102.8 passer rating.

"They’re an amazing offensive a team and a terrific defensive team in terms of getting the football," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said this week. "We really have a very difficult challenge here. All the experience in the world you can want is on their side, and it shows. They’re doing some really cool things on offense and Tom Brady is as good as you can get."

New England runs a no-huddle offense and has tailored it after the speed of the college game. Although it's been effective, the loud CenturyLink crowd might convince the Patriots not to run it.

"The 12th Man will be so crazy about trying to affect their communication that they probably wouldn’t choose to do that (no-huddle)," said Carroll, smiling at his mild sarcasm. "But if they do, we’re going to get ready for it and see if we can slow it down and handle it.”

In addition to future Hall of Famer Brady, New England features an array of offensive weapons, especially wide receiver Wes Welker, who caught 13 passes last week against Denver and has 38 receptions this season, one fewer than Seattle's top three receivers (Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Golden Tate) have combined.

"To have those two tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez), and the way they use them, (the Pats) max out everyone’s talent," Carroll said.  "That is what Bill Belichick is great at. He gets out and tries to find the uniqueness of players, and he brings it to life.

"He developed a championship program around that mentality. It shows up in everything that they’re doing."

Seattle's major challenge defensively will keeping Brady and Patriots off the field.

“These guys have had, I think, two three-and-outs in five games," Carroll said. "That would be a major accomplishment if we could just get them out of there in three plays somehow. I don’t know how that is going to happen, because no one else could do it. I think they have 101 first downs in the last three weeks, which is an all-time record in the NFL over that time span. That is the most first downs that anyone has ever thrown together back-to back-to-back."

Brady has played just one game against Seattle, leading the Patriots to a 30-20 victory Oct. 17, 2004 at Gillette Stadium. With one TD pass against Sunday, Brady will extend his streak to 38 games with at least one touchdown pass, third all-time to Drew Brees (48 games) and Johnny Unitas (47). Brady has 48 career 300-yard games and needs one to tie Warren Moon (49) for seventh all-time.

Also worth watching: What Seattle does best offensively -- rush the ball -- is New England's defensive strength. The Patriots allow just 82.2 yards per game.

SERIES: Dates to Oct. 9, 1977, when the Patriots, sparked by Steve Grogan's three touchdown passes (to Don Hasselbeck, Russ Francis and Darryl Stingley), swamped the Seahawks 31-0. New England has won the last two in the series, most recently a 24-11 victory Dec. 7, 2008, in a game in which Seattle's Seneca Wallace threw three touchdown passes. Seattle's last win came Oct. 24, 1993, when Seattle prevailed 10-9 on a late touchdown pass from Rick Mirer to Brian Blades.

LAST MEETING (Patriots 24, Seahawks 21, Dec. 7, 2008): Matt Cassel threw for 268 yards and a touchdown and Sammy Morris scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Patriots came from behind to defeat Seattle at CenturyLink Field. Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals (50, 42, 27 yards) for the Patriots, who played without the injured Tom Brady.

Seahawks: 3-2-0, T3, NFC West; scored 86 points (17.2 per game), ranking 28th; allowed 70 points (14.0 per game), 2nd; differential of +16 points ranks 11th. Patriots: 3-2-0, 1st, AFC East; scored 165 points (33.0), ranked 1st; allowed 113 (22.6), 17th; differential of +52 points ranks 5th.

SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (50-51-0 career, 17-20-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.

SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson -- at Arizona -- 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas -- 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay -- 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis -- 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina -- 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; . . . Matt Flynn -- at Arizona, DNP; vs. Dallas, DNP; vs. Green Bay, DNP; at St. Louis, DNP; at Carolina, DNP.SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES

  • SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 3-2. Home: 2-0. Road: 1-2. Vs. NFC: 3-2. Vs. AFC: 0-0. Vs. NFC East: 1-0. Vs. NFC North: 1-0. Vs. NFC South: 1-0. Vs. NFC West: 0-2. Points For: 86 (17.2). Points Against: 70 (14.0).
  • NFL RANKS: Scoring Offense --17.2 (28th); Total Offense -- 287.2 (25th); Rushing Offense -- 141.3 (6th); Passing Offense -- 127.0 (32nd); Scoring Defense -- 14.0 (2nd); Total Defense -- 258.6 (5th); Rushing Defense -- 66.6 (4th); Passing Defense -- 192.0 (5th).
  • INJURY REPORT: Out -- OT Jaye Howard (foot), OG John Moffitt (knee). Doubtful -- DT Clinton McDonald (groin); Probable -- RB Marshawn Lynch (back), C Max Hunger (hip).
  • Heading into Week 6, Marshawn Lynch is the NFL's third-leading rusher, averaging 101.6 yards per game. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of his last 14 games.
  • Russell Wilson's 75.3 passer rating ranks 27th and his 163.0 yards per game ranks 31st.
  • Leon Washington averages 34.3 yards on kickoff returns, second  to Percy Harvin of Minnesota (38.3).
  • Chris Clemons is ranked sixth with 5.5 sacks.
  • DE Bruce Irvin leads all rookies with 4.5 sacks.
  • 12th Man Flag Raisers: Tennessee -- Steve August; Oakland -- 2012 area Summer Olympians; Dallas -- Shawn Springs; Green Bay -- Trent Dilfer.
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS

SeahawksStatRankPatriotsStatRank
Total Yards143625Total Yards21971
Yards / Game287.225Yards / Game439.41
Rush Yards7017Rush Yards8273
Rush / Game140.27Rush / Game165.43
Pass Yards73531Pass Yards13706
Pass / Game140.231Pass / Game274.06
Points8627Points1651
Points / Game17.227Points / Game33.01
Differential+16.011Differential+52.05
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS

SeahawksStatRankPatriotsStatRank
Total Yards12394Total Yards186924
Yards / Game258.64Yards / Game373.824
Rush / Allw.333.04Rush / Allw.411T9
Rush / Game66.64Rush / Game82.2T9
Pass Allw.9607Pass Allw.145831
Pass / Game192.07Pass / Game291.631
Points Allw.702Points Allw.11319
Points / Game14.02Points / Game22.619
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERSRushing

PlayerGAtt.YardsTDsLongY/G
Marshawn Lynch5113508236101.6
Russell Wilson5279201418.4
Robert Turbin5177101314.2
Leon Washington58290115.8
Team5172701236140.2
Opponents510333322366.6
Passing

PlayerGAtt.Cmp.YardsTDs/INTRate
Russell Wilson5125798155/675.3
Team5125798155/675.3
Opponents51759810533/372.4
Receiving

PlayerGRec.YardsTDLongY/G
Sidney Rice51719912239.8
Zach Miller51215003030.0
Golden Tate51014434136.0
Anthony McCoy587012214.0
Marshawn Lynch585901611.8
Robert Turbin57470149.4
Team579815541163.0
Opponents5981053352210.6
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS

CategorySkinny
TacklesWright 35, Chancellor 32, Wagner 29
SacksClemons 5.5, Irvin 4.5, Mebane 2.0
Quarterback HitsClemons 9, Irvin 7, Branch 4
InterceptionsSherman 2, Browner 1
Passes DefensedSherman 7, Clemons 4, Mebane 3
Forced FumblesBrowner 2, Robinson 2, 5 with 1
Fumbles RecoveredMebane, Browner, Branch, 1
PATRIOTS NOTES: The Patriots defeated Tennessee (34-13), Buffalo (52-38) and Denver (31-21) and lost to Arizona (20-18) and Baltimore (31-30) . . . RB Stevan Ridley ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing with 490 yards. He's also scored four touchdowns . . . Wes Welker is New England's leading receiver with 38 catches for 484 yards and one touchdown. Ranked sixth in catches . . . LB Jerod Mayo is ranked third in tackles with 53 . . . Chandler Jones leads the Patriots with 3.0 sacks. . . .Patriots are 5-4 under Bill Belichick in games played on the West Coast . . . Patriots LB Niko Koutouvides was drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round in 2004 . . .

PATRIOTS QUARTERBACKS: Tom Brady has completed 124 of 185 passes for 1,450 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception this season for a passer rating of 102.8, which ranks third. Brady has three, 300-yard games (316 vs. Arizona, 335 vs. Baltimore and 340 vs. Buffalo). He had three against the Bills. For his career, Brady has thrown for 41,429 yards and 308 touchdowns. He has a 96.6 career passer rating.

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: Bill Belichick has been coach since 2000. He won three Super Bowls and five AFC championships. Belichick began his NFL coaching career in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts and has also worked in various assistant positions with the Detroit Lions (1976-77), Denver Broncos (1978), New York Giants (1979-90), Cleveland Browns (1991-95) and New York Jets (1997-99).

KEY DATES: Nov. 18 -- Seahawks bye week; Jan. 5-6, 2013 -- Wild card weekend; Jan. 12-13 -- Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 -- Conference championships; Jan. 27 -- Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 -- Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 -- NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 -- NFL draft.TRANSACTIONS

  • Aug. 26: Waived LB Jameson Konz, DE Pep Levingston, DB Roy Lewis, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Phil Bates, OT Edawn Coughman, CB Donny Lisowski, CB Ron Parker, RB Tyrell Sutton, OT Alex Barron, OG Deuce Lutui, WR Terrell Owens.
  • Aug. 27: Traded LB Barrett Ruud to New Orleans to for an undisclosed future draft pick; waived DE Dexter Davis and re-signed CB Denny Lisowski, an undrafted rookie free agent from Montana who attended O'Dea High; traded QB Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo for an undisclosed future draft choice.
  • Aug. 31: Waived/released CB Phillip Adams, DE Pierre Allen, LB Allen Bradford, WR Deon Butler, WR Kris Durham, G Paul Fanaika, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Jermaine Kearse, LB Kyle Knox, DE Cordarro Law, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, C Kris O’Dowd, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer, WR Lavasier Tuinei, TE Cooper Helfet, RB Vai Taua.
  • Sept. 1: Released TE Kellen Winslow; signed to practice squad LB Allen Bradford, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer.
  • Sept. 3: Signed to practice squad T/DT Edawn Coughman, WR Jermaine Kearse; signed TE Evan Moore.
  • Sept. 13: Released G Rishaw Johnson and LB Korey Toomer from the practice squad and signed LB Allen Bradford and OT Mike Person in their places.
  • Oct. 1: Released OG Allen Barbre as soon as he came off the suspended list for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
NFC West Standings

TeamOverallvs. Div.Next
Arizona4-11-1Oct. 14 vs. Buffalo
S. Francisco3-10-0Sunday vs. Buffalo
St. Louis3-22-0Oct. 14 at Miami
Seattle2-20-2Sunday at Carolina
COMING UP: Seahawks travel to San Francisco next Thursday (5:20 p.m.) for the first of two division matchups with the 49ers.2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule

DateOpponentTimeTVW/LScoreRec.
8/11/12vs. Tennessee7 p.m.Q13W27-171-0
8/18/12at Denver6 p.m.Q13W30-102-0
8/24/12at Kansas City5 p.m.Q13W44-143-0
8/30/12vs. Oakland7 p.m.Q13W21-34-0
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule

DateOpponentTimeTVW/LScoreRec.
9/9/12at Arizona1:25 p.m.FOXL20-160-1
9/16/12vs. Dallas1:05 p.m.FOXW27-71-1
9/24/12vs. Green Bay5:30 p.m.ESPNW14-122-1
9/30/12at St. Louis10 a.m.FOXL19-132-2
10/7/12at Carolina1:05 p.m.FOXW16-123-2
10/14/12vs. N. England1:05 p.m.CBS---------
10/18/12at S. Francisco5:20 p.m.NFLN---------
10/28/12at Detroit10 a.m.FOX---------
11/4/12vs. Minnesota1:05 p.m.FOX---------
11/11/11vs. NY Jets1:05 p.m.CBS---------
11/18/11Bye Week---------------
11/25/12at Miami10 a.m.FOX---------
12/2/12at Chicago10 a.m.FOX---------
12/9/12vs. Arizona1:15 p.m.FOX--------
12/16/12*at Buffalo1:05 p.m.FOX---------
12/23/12vs. San Francisco1:15 p.m.FOX---------
12/30/12vs. St. Louis1:15 p.m.FOX---------
* in Toronto2012 Seahawks CapsulesPreseasonAug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) -- Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards. Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) -- Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton's 48 yards on three carries. Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) -- Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.Regular SeasonSept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona's red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones' punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson's pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn't called. Green Bay's M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day -- a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown,Seahawks, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.

Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson's NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson's worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina's Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.

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