The Flight of the Seahawks

Seven weeks ago, the Seahawks looked broken beyond repair. Russell Wilson was suddenly turning over the ball at an alarming rate and the defense still couldn't stop anyone. Then suddenly, everything changed in a Week 11 win over the Cardinals and the team promptly rolled to a division title.
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The Seahawks won the NFC West in 2020, despite being counted out by many, especially after their defense crashed and burned in the beginning of the season. Then, the team retooled and rebuilt on the fly and are now soaring once again like a phoenix from the ashes.

When the season started, the Seahawks were cruising, soaring even. The engines were humming, the propellers whirring, and the Seahawks had clear skies on the horizon towards a truly special season. 

Then, all of a sudden, the engine started sputtering, smoke billowed from the turbine engines and they began losing altitude. The defense was atrocious. It was inept and porous on a historical level. Through the first eight games, the defense allowed 362 passing yards, over 450 total yards, and 30.4 points per game. They were on pace to shatter records for yardage allowed as a unit. 

It seemed to put Seattle into a nosedive, especially when the team traveled to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills. In fact, the plane crashed. They allowed 362 passing yards to Josh Allen and 420 total yards along with a whopping 44 points. It was the Seahawks second loss in three games and the situation was compounded by a second straight loss to the Rams in L.A. the following week. Seattle's offense aided in the crash, turning it over seven times in those two losses.

The coaches and players all exited the plane and wandered around the barren wasteland bewildered on what had happened. Gone was their 5-0 start. Gone was Russell Wilson's MVP campaign. Most pundits jumped ship after originally considering the Seahawks the class of the NFC. They went from 5-0 to 6-3 and outside of first place in the NFC West. 

Like the passengers and crew of a fictional plane crash site in the movie Flight of the Phoenix, the Seahawks worked together to rebuild and remake their resources to create their own "Phoenix," to rise from the ashes of a torched defense and create something to take them to safety and the playoffs. 

In the movie, people from all different backgrounds were forced to work together to survive and find a way out of several sticky situations after their plane crashed. Instead of sulking or accepting their fate, they used the resources around them and relied on the experiences of their teammates to survive and get home, all from the wreckage the crash.

The Seahawks held accountability meetings and self-scouted to see what they could do to fix the wreckage. They even recovered some spare parts (Carlos Dunlap, anyone?) to go with their restoration. 

Then, from the ashes, they arose as a different team. As our own Corbin Smith laid out, this was the greatest defensive turnaround in NFL history. Jamal Adams declared this defense as the best in the NFL after Sunday's win over the Rams and in the last five games, they have certainly played like it. Seattle is first in the NFL in points allowed per game (13.7) in that span and they have 34 sacks in their last nine games after having a meager 28 all of last season.

The offense, while not scoring at will like earlier in the year, seems to have risen out of its turnover-happy funk. After seven turnovers in two games against the Bills and Rams, Seattle has turned it over just four times in the last seven games. 

The Seahawks managed to pick themselves up, repair the damage and take flight once again, with Pete Carroll playing the part of Dennis Quaid as the experienced pilot. Now they are soaring towards the playoffs, fresh off of their division-clinching win over the rival Rams. 

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Seahawks emerged from their trials of fire as a different team, perhaps as a better team than the one that started 5-0. It took some soul-searching and eye-opening experiences to accomplish it. Now they are better for it and are playing their best football ahead of the playoffs, which is exactly what you need to do in order to bring a Lombardi trophy home.