Coming into this season many had cast off the Seattle Seahawks as a mere afterthought. Seattle had been viewed as a team in decline, stuck in their old ways, unable to keep pace with the new and exciting pass orientated offences such as the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
Turns out hindsight is 20/20.
As of writing, the Seattle Seahawks are one of most in-form teams in the National Football League. After a typical slow start to the 2018 season the Seahawks have hit their stride rattling off four consecutive wins against the Green Bay Packers, the Carolina Panthers, the sorry San Francisco 49ers, and most recently a dominant showing against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.
But how have Seattle, led by Pete Carroll, managed to become dark-horse Superbowl contenders when coming into the season they were pegged as an operation in ‘rebuilding mode’? It’s simple. Running the ball.
When the Seahawks were one of the best two teams in football from 2013-2016, they boasted a ‘punch-you-in-the-mouth’ run game accompanied by a star led defence and Russell Wilson’s jaw-dropping improvisation skills. It is clear to see that Carroll has returned back to this winning formula after a down 18-month stretch rife with lacklustre on-field play and unwelcome distractions off the field.
Running back Chris Carson, who was drafted in the 7th round in 2017, is enjoying a break out season having gained 794 rushing yards and five touchdowns with three games remaining. Carson complimented with 2018 1st rounder Rashaad Penny and Russell Wilson’s venomous scrambling ability gives the Seahawks a potent and physical ground attack.
Seattle’s defence under Carroll has been much-maligned at times this season. The historic ‘Legion of Boom’ is a thing of the past with big hitting safety Kam Chancellor being lost to retirement, Richard Sherman joining fellow NFC West rivals the San Francisco 49ers and Earl Thomas on IR with a leg injury (amidst a contract dispute.) Bobby Wagner is the only remaining member- and he is stepping up to the plate in a big way. Wagner has racked up a total of 108 tackles this season along with 1 sack and a 98-yard pick six against the 49ers in week 12.
With Wagner leading the way, this Seahawks lacks the star power the LOB once brought but is just as stout against the run, allowing only 153 yards, first in the NFL, and is heating up just in time for January.
The Seahawks are perfectly equipped to bring chaos to the NFL’s postseason this year. By sticking to his old-school philosophy of running the ball and playing tight defence, Pete Carroll has proved the doubters wrong and reminded the league just how good of a coach and leader he is. And as the old cliche goes: defence wins championships, and Pete Carroll knows a thing or two about that.