Seahawks defense only team to ever allow more than 1,200 passing yards through three weeks

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While Russell Wilson is setting records for the Seahawks Offense, their pass defense is setting records of their own and not the good kind.

In the first three games of the season against the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, the Seahawks have allowed an average of 430.7 yards per game passing. They allowed 434 yards to Matt Ryan and the Falcons, 397 yards to Cam Newton and the Patriots, and a season-high 461 yards to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys on Sunday.

“It’s not something I am accustomed to. It is not something I want to be accustomed to,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

The 1,292 passing yards allowed in the first three games of the season is the most in league history over that span since at least 1950, via Pro-Football-Reference. They are the only team over 1,200 yards allowed with the 2011 Patriots trailing by a 161 yards at 1,131 yards as the previous benchmark. The 2005 San Francisco 49ers (1,107) and 2010 Houston Texans (1,106) are the only other teams to allow even 1,100 passing yards over the first three games of the year.

“We have a lot of work to do on our pass defense; it continues to be a problem. The third down thing is not good enough. We have to finish our sacks, again. But what did happen is some really big plays today on defense,” head coach Pete Carroll said after the game on Sunday. “Guys giving efforts and fighting and scratching to get it done. We just have to get better. We are grateful to be 3-0, and realize that not very many teams get to do that right now. So, we’re going to just try to keep pecking away at it.”

Carroll defines explosive plays allowed as runs of at least 12 yards and passes of at least 16 yards. By this measure, the Seahawks have already allowed 33 explosive pass plays in three games. They’ve allowed 13 passes of at least 25 yards with Prescott and Cowboys responsible for seven of those on Sunday alone. Michael Gallup had catches of 52 yards behind Shaquill Griffin and a 43-yard touchdown behind Tre Flowers. Cedrick Wilson had two touchdown receptions of 42 and 40 yards, respectively, and Dalton Schultz, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper all had catches for 28 yards.

“The big thing in the throwing game is we’ve got to get the big plays out of it,” Carroll said Monday. “We got to eliminate these big plays and (to) let them throw the ball over our head is inexcusable. And we got to let that just drop by the wayside and things will round back up in, I think, really short order.”

The passing game is the big issue for Seattle defense because they’ve been quite proficient against the run. They are ranked No. 2 in the league in rushing yards allowed with just 66.7 yards per game allowed on the ground. But the passing game issues have them allowing an average of almost 500 yards per game overall at 497.3 yards per game. Only last year’s Miami Dolphins (1,498) have allowed more total yards through three games than the 2020 Seahawks (1,492).

“The first thing I’m frustrated by is we’ve had maybe five interceptions in our hands,” Carroll said. “Quinton (Dunbar) had three in the first two games (caught one). Tre’s had two and Shaq got one you know so they’ve been on the ball for some of the plays, but everything doesn’t look right to me when we get the ball thrown over our head twice in the same game. That’s not supposed to happen and you don’t remember seeing that very often against us. And it’s really good execution on their part, both balls (to Gallup) were really well thrown and all but we should be on both of them. So, I’m never gonna be satisfied until the deep ball part of the game (is better).”

If the pass defense doesn’t get any better, the Seahawks will need Wilson to produce to such an extent that he runs away with the MVP this year for them to keep winning.

12 responses to “Seahawks defense only team to ever allow more than 1,200 passing yards through three weeks

  1. Yes, some of it is bad positioning from the DB’s and a lot of it has to do with the total lack of a pass rush, but each week the Seahawks have had at least a 10+_point lead for each game and a stout run D, so what else are the hapless opponents supposed to do to beat Russell?

  2. That soft zone Seattle defense is problematic. More aggressive press coverage is needed. But Tre Flowers and Shaq Griffin? They’re generally in such soft coverage, the receiver will run, stop and turn and get a 12 yard reception as Flowers and Griffin are 12-15 feet behind them, scared to death they’re going to get torched on a go route. Not acceptable. Be more aggressive at the line of scrimmage and use the 5 yard rule to your advantage. But Pete loves the cover 3 zone.

  3. Watching them try and cover is brutal. Griffin has gotten notably worse since he was a rook. He was suppose to be the next Richard Sherman. The only thing they have in common is the hair. What makes it even worse, they don’t tackle well either.

  4. I’m sure Russell Wilson doesn’t mind that. It puts more of the spotlight on him. In the offseason he’ll be asking for $40M/year.

  5. In these games, the hawks were so far ahead in the 4th that “garbage” time came into it…..when it comes to the clutch, the defense always makes the play as has been shown on the last 2

  6. Someone else pointed it out about the run defense being stout. Seattle loves these big corners but they haven’t been physical at the line of scrimmage since Richard Sherman left. Dunbar needs to get back because he is 10 times the CB Tre Flowers is. Shaquill Griffin is alternating good year of play with bad ones.

    Ken Norton Jr. needs to figure out a way to get the timing of these blitzes down. The four man pass rush looked non existant but there is slighit improvements. The next two weeks hopefully the defense can get on track.

  7. Aside from Flowers being horrible at turning and tracking the ball, the DB group is not the problem. The problem is pressure (or lack there of) from the DL. You simply cannot expect DB’s to cover NFL WR’s for 3+ seconds. And when you are blitzing your best DB constantly then you REALLY have to get pressure or you’re dead on the back-end.

  8. donnymacjack says:
    September 29, 2020 at 10:52 am
    Aside from Flowers being horrible at turning and tracking the ball, the DB group is not the problem. The problem is pressure (or lack there of) from the DL. You simply cannot expect DB’s to cover NFL WR’s for 3+ seconds. And when you are blitzing your best DB constantly then you REALLY have to get pressure or you’re dead on the back-end.
    ——————–

    Lack of pass rush is not good obviously…but the DB group is very much part of the problem just the same.

    EVERY time you turn around on 3rd and long…even if the line manages to get some degree of pressure, the ball comes out and there’s Trey Flowers…having given his man about 3-4 steps of cushion. They play sooooo far off their guys and then can’t recover. Shaq has been a disappointment too overall. Had a beautiful pick the other day but was roasted for most of the game. At least Dunbar can point to a tumultuous offseason and being new to the system. There is no real excuse for Trey and Shaq to still be this inconsistent (verging on downright bad).

  9. I don’t see how anyone can blame this on pass rush. Pressure is clearly an issue, but the replay of Sunday illustrates some basic technique problems of Griffin (especially) and Flowers. They got spun around repeatedly on simple routes. They were mis-positioned on many inside routes because they were so afraid of getting burned on the outside, knowing they can’t stay with NFL quality receivers. They play soft zones because they are slow and can’t keep up.

    They lack the quickness to play trail coverage, but it seems like Griffin in particular likes to play that way, hoping to steal a pick here and there, while giving up an 80% catch rate. He’s slower than almost every NFL receiver. He is routinely targeted and beaten, beginning early in the 1st quarter. These aren’ garbage time issues… Shaq Griffin is the most overrated corner in the NFL.

    This isn’t going to get better soon. There are no easy answers on pressure, and these corners are who they are. Dunbar seems to be the only DB that is not a serious liability in coverage.

  10. Shaq is actually incredibly fast MasMacho. He ran a 4.38 at the combine and hasn’t lost a step. He just makes poor decisions in coverage that constantly cost him and make the occasional diving PD or INT look less impressive.

    Its Flowers who simply can’t keep up with WR’s and can’t cover whatsoever.

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