It’s Week 15. Coincidentally, the Seahawks have allowed 15 punt-return yards.
As recently explained by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the record for a 16-game season is 49 yards, set by the 2008 Falcons. The lowest amount for a 14-game season was set in 1967, when Vince Lombardi’s Packers allowed only 22.
Talk of history started after the Seahawks held Rams rookie Tavon Austin to only seven yards on three returns.
Punter Jon Ryan explains that the return yardage has dropped over time, as his punting average has plunged four yards, from 46.6 to 42.6.
“When I was younger, I gave up a lot of return yards because I was known as a big-leg guy that liked to get it out there but didn’t always have the greatest hang time,’’ Ryan said. “So a lot of those punts were coming back 10-15 yards every time. Those add up.”
Now, he relies more heavily on an “Aussie kick.” It generates more hang time, less yardage, and in return reduced opportunities for return yardage.
For Sunday’s opponent, stopping the Seahawks from setting the record is one of the few things left to play for.
Having a shot at the playoffs would be even more special. For the Giants, it’s too late for that.