Seattle’s Been Up & Down in 2014, but Look Ready for a Run
Following their 36-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 season opener, there was optimism that the Seattle Seahawks might become the first team since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004 to achieve back-to-back Super Bowl championships.
Yet, the NFL landscape is constantly shifting. Strategies, ideologies, team dynamics, and player performance undergo daily transformations.
The teams that navigate these ups and downs most effectively are typically the ones contending for playoff spots as December draws to a close.
Like any other NFL team, the Seahawks were not impervious to such shifts.
Following that initial game, where Seattle displayed championship potential, the dynamics shifted rapidly.
Percy Harvin, a versatile and dynamic wide receiver and return specialist, was traded to the New York Jets due to a lack of fit with the Seahawks’ offensive strategy.
Whether you subscribe to the belief that Harvin was a high-maintenance player constantly demanding the ball is beside the point.
It’s possible that his presence compelled the Seahawks to force-feed him the ball more than necessary.
It’s also conceivable that Harvin diverted offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from adhering to Seattle’s championship style, which centers on a ground-and-pound approach with Marshawn Lynch.
In the three games leading up to Harvin’s trade, the Seahawks suffered two losses.
During these games, Lynch only averaged a meager 15 rushing attempts, with just 10 in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
This is insufficient for a player who serves as the linchpin of your offense. Change was imperative.
The bold decision to trade Harvin has proven to be advantageous, as the Seahawks’ offense has managed to adapt despite the departure of one of its most explosive players.
Even in the absence of Harvin, the Seahawks’ offense remains just as potent.
With the leading rushing offense in the NFL, Seattle demonstrated its ability to excel in the deep passing game.
In a recent matchup against the formidable Arizona Cardinals defense, quarterback Russell Wilson amassed an impressive 339 passing yards, contributing to Seattle’s record-breaking 596 yards in a single game.
To cap it off, Marshawn Lynch, despite battling stomach flu, executed one of the most remarkable scoring runs, a stunning 79-yarder.
Another significant shift was the apparent vulnerability of Seattle’s top-ranked defense early in the season.
The Seahawks were pushed around in the trenches, resulting in notable rushing performances like the Dallas Cowboys’ 162-yard effort at Century Link.
During a particular stretch, Seattle struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, exposing vulnerabilities in the vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary.
In the first seven weeks, the Seahawks allowed an average of 238 passing yards per game.
Compared to the stellar 172 yards per game allowed in 2013, it was evident that this defense was not meeting its usual standards.
Seattle appeared to be performing at an average level, leading many to dismiss their Super Bowl potential.
However, there has been a sudden turnaround. In their current five-game winning streak, the Seahawks have limited their opponents to an average of just 196 yards and a mere 6.6 points per game.
This is the kind of formidable defense we expect from Seattle.
It’s crucial to remember that every team experiences ebbs and flows throughout a season, but true champions find their stride at the opportune moment.
Three of the last four Super Bowl champions—the Packers, New York Giants, and Baltimore Ravens—hit their peak performance in the latter part of the season.
They elevated their game in December, ultimately culminating in an NFL championship.
This is precisely what is transpiring with Seattle. Despite the earlier challenges, the Seahawks now bear a striking resemblance to the contender they were in their season opener.
As the playoffs loom, Seattle stands as the team to beat, firmly on course for a potential second consecutive NFL championship.