Analysis: Seahawks Midseason Defensive Report Card
Sitting atop the NFC West with a 6-2 record, the Seahawks have officially reached the midway point of the 2020 NFL season.
Through the first nine weeks, Seattle has been able to overcome an atrocious defense that has allowed 30 points per game and given up more total yardage and passing yardage than any team in NFL history in the first eight games of a season. If they maintain their current pace, they will shatter the Packers previous record of 4,796 passing yards allowed by nearly 1,000 yards.
Reviewing the first half of the season, how have the Seahawks defensive positional groups fared? Outlining noteworthy stats, here are report cards for each player who has played significant snaps in the first eight games.
Noteworthy Stat: 6.9 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions
Coming off a difficult rookie season marred by injury, Collier has generated 12 quarterback pressures this year and has shown a penchant for making plays in the clutch, including upending Patriots quarterback Cam Newton at the goal line to salvage a Week 2 victory for the Seahawks. His overall production has been underwhelming, particularly in the pass rushing department, but the former first-round pick has held up well as an anchor against the run and made substantial strides in his second season.
Noteworthy Stat: Three swatted passes at line of scrimmage
Given his first chance at a full-time starting gig at the LEO defensive end spot for Seattle, Mayowa has made a few splashy plays in key situations but overall, he's been disappointing logging 345 defensive snaps this year. After recording 7.0 sacks for the Raiders a year ago, he has only a pair of sacks and four quarterback hits in 2020. With the arrival of Carlos Dunlap, he's likely done starting, but that ultimately could improve his production returning to a reserve role in the second half.
Noteworthy Stat: Four tackles for loss in six games
Despite impressing in training camp, Robinson was inexplicably held out as a healthy scratch for Seattle's first two regular season games. Once the rookie earned a chance to play in Week 3, he made his first NFL sack and also produced a tackle for loss in a win over the Cowboys. He's been wildly inconsistent to this point, but the fifth-round pick looks to be a solid find in day three of the draft and should factor into the Seahawks' pass rush plans moving forward.
Noteworthy Stat: Six quarterback hits in seven games
Along with making a couple bone-jarring hits on special teams, Moore proved to be one of Seattle's more consistent edge rushers in the first half. According to Sports Info Solutions, he generated an 8.7 percent pressure rate on 127 total rush attempts and 11 total pressures. That's nothing spectacular, but given the team's pass rushing woes, he provided valuable snaps in a reserve role until being slapped with a six-game suspension and could return later if needed.
Noteworthy Stat: Two quarterback hits in four games
Signed off the Cardinals practice squad prior to Week 5, Bullard played quite well in his team debut with multiple pressures against the Vikings. Since then, his play has leveled off and he hasn't been overly effective with limited snaps playing base defensive end and 3-tech defensive tackle for the Seahawks.
Noteworthy Stat: 9.4 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions
Due to a lengthy stint on injured reserve with a neck issue, Green has only played in two games for Seattle this season. Despite playing limited snaps, however, he has produced four pressures on 43 pass rush attempts and has a respectable 64.5 grade from Pro Football Focus for those two contests.
Noteworthy Stat: 23 tackles in eight starts
From a pass rushing standpoint, Reed had disappointingly been a relative non-factor for the Seahawks until breaking out with 2.5 sacks in a Week 9 loss to the Bills. According to Sports Info Solutions, he has a lowly 3.4 percent pressure rate and only seven quarterback hits this year. For most of this season, however, he has been stout defending against the run, playing a key role in the team's success limiting opponents to under four yards per carry on the ground.
Noteworthy Stat: Four tackles for loss in eight starts
Though Ford hasn't registered a sack yet this season, the third-year defender has remained highly effective as a run defender at the nose tackle position and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss. Playing with relentless effort, he can be seen chasing down screens and has been more of a nuisance for opponents collapsing the pocket as a pass rusher, as indicated by his 10 pressures so far. He currently has a 78.5 grade on Pro Football Focus, significantly higher than Reed's midseason score.
Noteworthy Stat: Seven tackles in eight games
When called upon, Mone has come up with a few crucial plays for Seattle's defense stuffing the run in the middle, including bringing down Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for a safety back in Week 3. Arriving at camp at a lighter 340-pound playing weight, he's been a serviceable reserve on 175 defensive snaps and even generated his first career sack.
Noteworthy Stat: 240 yards surrendered in coverage
Once again on pace to top 150 tackles, Wagner continues to play at an All-Pro level in the middle of Seattle's defense. He's bounced back from a rough 2019 season in coverage, limiting opposing quarterbacks to an 85.4 passer rating and 9.6 yards per completion. Due to the team's pass rushing woes, he has also blitzed more than at any point in his career and capitalized on those chances with a trio of sacks and eight quarterback hits.
Noteworthy Stat: 77.6 grade on Pro Football Focus
Now in his 10th NFL season with the Seahawks, Wright has shown few signs of slowing down and has adapted well to playing strongside linebacker. While he has given up three touchdowns in coverage, he also has six passes defensed and made a one-handed highlight reel-worthy interception against the Vikings. Still the king of blowing up screens, he's on pace for 84 tackles and eight tackles for loss and has recovered a pair of fumbles, continuing to stuff the stat sheet at 31 years of age.
Noteworthy Stat: Three missed tackles in six games
It's been a disappointing first season for Brooks, who suffered a knee sprain during his first NFL start in Week 3 and has recorded only 14 tackles in six games. Despite the tough start, however, the first-round pick out of Texas Tech has been playing better as of late, earning a 75.5 game grade on 22 defensive snaps against the Bills last Sunday. He will have a great chance to improve upon his grade as a full-time starter in the second half.
Noteworthy Stat: 22 tackles in eight games
Following Brooks' injury, Barton received a pair of starts and performed inconsistently, missing a couple of tackles while also helping blow up a fourth down run late in a win over the Vikings. He hasn't played many defensive snaps in Seattle's other six games, but he did force a pivotal fumble in a Week 8 win over San Francisco and should continue to make an impact on special teams.
Noteworthy Stat: 7.3 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions
It's been a season of peaks and valleys for Griffin, who was waived coming out of training camp and started the year on the practice squad before being promoted back to the roster in Week 3. The third-year linebacker had a strong pair of outings against the Cowboys and Dolphins with three quarterback pressures and a pass defensed, but he's been quiet ever since and hasn't played any defensive snaps in the past two games.
Noteworthy Stat: Two interceptions in six games
Early in the season, Griffin endured plenty of struggles, including getting torched for several explosive plays against the Cowboys in Week 3. But before suffering a concussion and hamstring strain, he was playing some of his best football in wins over the Dolphins and Vikings, intercepting a pass in each game and producing a combined five passes defensed. The Seahawks desperately need the Pro Bowler back healthy for the stretch run.
Noteworthy Stat: 60 percent completion rate since Week 5
Like Griffin, Flowers didn't start off his third season on the right note, allowing opposing passers to post a rating of 126.0 and complete 82.3 percent of their passes against him in the first four games. Since Week 5, however, he's sharpened up his play in all facets, improving his passer rating in coverage by nearly 20 points and dropping his completion rate by 10 percent. As his confidence keeps growing, he could be in line for a big second half in a secondary that needs a boost big-time.
Noteworthy Stat: 111.0 passer rating in coverage
Currently with a Pro Football Focus grade south of 50 and coming off arguably the worst performance of his NFL career, Dunbar would be in line for an F on his grade card if not for the fact he's clearly being hobbled by a chronic knee injury. He's already given up four touchdowns in coverage, twice as many as he surrendered in 11 games for Washington last year, and he's yielded more passing yards than he did in either of the past two seasons. If he can't get healthy, Flowers could take back a starting role from him in the second half.
Noteworthy Stat: Four passes defensed in six games
A hamstring strain has kept Amadi out the last two weeks, but before suffering the injury, the versatile second-year defender was performing admirably as a replacement for Marquise Blair. While opponents have completed nearly 75 percent of passes against him in coverage, he's limited receivers to under 7.5 yards per completion and has done a solid job limiting yards after the catch. He currently has 25 tackles and remains a valuable special teams asset for the Seahawks.
Noteworthy Stat: 128 yards allowed in coverage on 10 completions
Since being activated from the Non-Football Injury list two weeks ago, Reed has battled inconsistency in two games replacing Amadi as the nickel cornerback. He enacted revenge against his former team with an interception against the 49ers and also impacted the game as a blitzer, creating sacks for Bobby Wagner and Rasheem Green. But he also has allowed nearly 13 yards per completion in coverage and has botched a few coverage assignments in limited snaps.
Noteworthy Stat: 3.5 sacks in four games
To this point, Adams hasn't been the game-changing talent the Seahawks hoped he would be, but he has provided much-needed punch to their pass rush. Despite missing four games, he's still tied for the team lead in sacks and quarterback hits, generating a ridiculous 46.2 percent pressure rate as a blitzer per Sports Info Solutions. Where he needs to improve most is in coverage, where he's allowed 272 yards on 15 completions and an opposing passer rating of 116.0.
Noteworthy Stat: 15 percent missed tackle rate per Pro Football Reference
After intercepting three passes in five starts for the Seahawks last season, Diggs hasn't been able to replicate his dominant play at free safety through eight games this year. While he does have two interceptions, he only has one pass defensed and has allowed 77 percent of passes to be completed against him in coverage for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Returning to his 2019 form would be a significant game-changer for a struggling defense.
Noteworthy Stat: 64.7 passer rating in coverage
Filling in admirably for Adams in three starts, Neal always seemed to be around the football, producing 28 tackles, three tackles for loss, and an interception in his absence. As a reward for his efforts, the Seahawks are still using him in sub-packages defensively even with Adams back in the lineup and he could be in the mix for some work at cornerback with Dunbar and Griffin ailing.
Noteworthy Stat: 10 tackles in two games
Unable to stay healthy, Hill has been on injured reserve since October with a back issue and may not be able to play again this season heading towards free agency. If that's the case, his career in Seattle didn't end on a strong note, as he allowed six completions on seven targets against him in coverage for 84 yards and a 116.7 passer rating.