They are tied for the best record in the NFL. But are Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks actually the top club in the National Football League?
With four weeks remaining in the NFL’s 100th anniversary campaign, the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks each have won 10 of their first 12 games. The AFC North leaders have NFL MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the league’s best ground attack. Bill Belichick’s club has quarterback Tom Brady and a smothering defense. The Saints may be the league’s most complete team and the Niners have allowed the fewest total yards in the league.
And then there are Carroll’s Seahawks. The NFC West front-runners have won five consecutive games, many of those high-scoring affairs. It’s certainly a departure from those “Legion of Boom” days. From 2012-16, quarterback Russell Wilson seemed more like a supporting character during the club’s five-year run playoff appearances. During those seasons, the Seahawks allowed 245, 231, 254, 277 and 292 points respectively. They allowed the fewest points in the league in each of those first four years of that stretch.
But 12 games into 2019, Carroll’s squad has already surrendered 293 points. So how is this team tied for the best record in the league? Because it’s now a club that makes timely plays on both side of the football. Instead of stonewalling opponents and relying on a beastly ground attack, it’s up to Wilson and the offense as well as the other side of the football to make the most of their opportunities.
Seattle ranks 24th in the NFL in total defense and only three teams in the NFL are allowing more passing yards per contest. But only the Pittsburgh Steelers (30) and Patriots have forced more turnovers than a club that’s managed 27 takeaways in a dozen outings.
Wilson and the team’s offensive unit has scored 38 offensive touchdowns. The Seahawks have survived donnybrooks with the Steelers (28-26), Rams (30-29), Browns (32-28), Buccaneers (40-34 in OT), 49ers (27-24 in OT) and now the Vikings on Monday night, 37-30. Their two losses this season have come at home, both to the aforementioned Ravens and Saints.
Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has orchestrated an attack that is third in the league in both total yards and rushing yards and 10th in the NFL in passing. Wilson has been superb, overcoming 35 sacks to throw for 3,177 yards and 26 scores while turning over the ball only six times. He’s also run for 284 yards and three touchdowns. No matter the deficit this season, much more often than not play-makers such as linebacker Bobby Wagner, running back Chris Carson (who has had a touch of fumblitis), rookie D.K. Metcalf and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney have responded.
Carroll, Wilson and many of their pieces are playoff battle-tested. They were the first club to knock off the 49ers this season and are also the only team in the NFL that has yet to lose on the road (6-0) this year. The ‘Hawks have shown their mettle and continue to impress.
So are these Seahawks the league’s best with four weeks left in the regular season? Let the debate begin.
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