The Super Bowl era in the National Football League has spanned for 48 years and in that time only eight teams have been able to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. It is tough for teams in all sports to repeat as champions from the previous season, but you really don’t see it that much in the NFL as the league has not had a repeat champion since the New England Patriots in 2004. As opposed to the other major professional sports leagues in the United States, the NFL only has a 16-game schedule that features a ton of intensity and importance for each game. The Seattle Seahawks were the most balanced team in the NFL last year and they capped it off with a 43-8 beat down of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks suffered departures in the off-season via free agency, but the majority of their core players have remained as they were expected to contend for another Super Bowl Championship. But the bubble of invincibility that the Seahawks began this season on has burst and they have been served a harsh dose of reality.
Through six games this season the Seahawks are 3-3 and they are in third place in the NFC West and they do not appear to be the team that they were last season as teams are taking away their strengths which begins with their running game. In Week 2, the Seahawks were on the road to meet the San Diego Chargers. The Seahawks would lose the contest 30-21 as the Chargers possessed the football that afternoon for more than 42 minutes. In that game Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to just 36 rushing yards on 6 carries. Week 3 saw the Seahawks blow a 17-3 fourth quarter lead to the Broncos before winning the game in overtime. In Week 5, the Dallas Cowboys went to CenturyLink Field in Seattle and beat the Seahawks at their own game which is physicality. This past Sunday, the Seahawks lost to the St. Louis Rams 28-26 and in the contest they were always fighting an uphill battle for the majority of the game as they were trying to fight back after falling behind 21-3 in the second quarter. The Seahawks are currently on a two-game losing streak and they have to survive the current onslaught that they are facing due to the fact that every team in the NFL wants to say that they were able to knock off the defending champs.
The Seahawks are currently a game behind the San Francisco 49ers in the win column and two games behind the first place Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West and it is time for them to get back to the basics.
Statistically the Seahawks are still one of the top rushing teams in the National Football League, but it is primarily due to the improvisation of their quarterback Russell Wilson who is averaging 8.6 yards per rush. Wilson is running more due to the fact that passing plays are breaking down more and he is trying to make something happen for the offense. But the running game of the Seahawks begins and ends on the powerful legs of Lynch. The past two years have seen the Seahawks make the postseason and in the process Lynch averaged 308 carries over both of those seasons. This year though six games, Lynch only has 97 carries and he needs the football more as he is the last of a dying breed in the role of a “workhorse” running back. Good things always seem to happen for the Seahawks when Lynch gets at least 25 carries in a game.
The Seahawks offensive line is not as strong as it was last season and it begins with offensive tackle Russell Okung. Okung is the anchor of the Seahawks offensive line and he is attempting to play through a torn labrum. The Seahawks didn’t have a superstar caliber wide receiver in 2013, but they had a unit of dependable players at the position. The Seahawks lost Golden Tate in free agency as he signed with the Detroit Lions while Percy Harvin was traded last week to the New York Jets which puts to onus in Seattle’s passing game on wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
The Seahawks secondary features cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, and strong safety Kam Chancellor and they have been referred to as the “Legion of Boom”. Sherman is one of the best covers corners in the NFL, but teams have been sending receivers in motion against him which disallows him to remain on his island and be the dominant shut down corner that he is. The Seahawks front seven has yet to recover from losing defensive end Chris Clemons and defensive tackle Red Bryant to free agency as both players signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Clemons and Bryant were two of the leaders in the front seven for the Seahawks and aside from putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they were also leaders in the locker room.
Luckily for the Seahawks, the season is not over after six games and they have plenty of time to get the ship righted. Beginning this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks must get back to the basics which is running the football. For Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, they must get Lynch involved early in the game plan. The Seahawks have been the bullies in the National Football League recently and they must get back to punching opposing teams in the mouth early and often. Especially when they are at home, the Seahawks must get back to dictating the pace. In their Week 5 loss to the Cowboys, the Seahawks jumped out to the early 10-0 lead which they took for granted as they subsequently lost the game. But when the Seahawks are playing from ahead at home, there is not a nosier stadium in the NFL than CenturyLink Field. Mostly the Seahawks just need to get back to having fun. The Seahawks have a ton of swagger and they only need a big play here or there to get the momentum going back in their direction again. Last season the Seahawks began the year with a 12-7 road win over the Panthers and an ugly win this Sunday in Charlotte could just be what the doctor ordered for the defending Super Bowl Champions.