Seattle has not only started the season with injuries to significant players, they have yet to run the same team out on the field two weeks in a row. Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, Russell Okung, Max Unger, Breno Giacomini, Brandon Browner, Bruce Irvin and Zach Miller have all missed games. It appears Bobby Wagner will become the latest starter to sit out this weekend against the Titans. It has made for a major test of the team’s celebrated depth while playing quality opponents nearly every step of the way, and three of five away from home. The injuries to the offensive line have received the lion’s share of the attention, but the defense has put significantly more pressure on the offense with their play of late.
As much as there is discussion on the increased pass pressure the last few weeks on Russell Wilson, scoring is barely down, and overall offensive production has not dipped terribly. The rushing game has gained steam as Wilson has decided to run more often.
The defense, on the other hand, has been getting players back, but has stepped backwards while doing so. That does not mean the team is better off without Clemons, Browner, and Irvin, but it may show the lack of continuity. Yielding a 45% conversion rate on third down is not going to cut it against any opponent. That is how you get to nearly 400 yards of opponent offense the last two weeks.
Seattle has a worthy opponent this week in Tennessee. It is important for the offense to demonstrate they can convert on third down against one of the best third down defenses in football, but it is more important that this defense returns to form and suffocates an opponent.