Someone on the NFL Network pre-game show, and I can’t remember who it was, compared the Seahawks’ defense to the defense that carried the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory in 1985. He talked about the secondary, and the overall quickness and aggressiveness of the unit.
That’s some pretty high praise.
Da Bears finished 15-1 in ’85 and punished New England 48-10 in SB XX in New Orleans.
Seattle’s currently 6-1 and 15-1 seems possible at this stage of the season — only two of their final nine opponents, New Orleans and the 49ers, are currently over .50o — if the defense keeps playing at its current level. If you had to vote for postseason honors right now, Seattle safety Earl Thomas would get a lot of votes for Defensive Player of the Year. The guy — pardon me Marshawn — is a beast. He’s got 43 solo tackles (six more assists), four interceptions and he’s forced two fumbles.
But back to the team. On the road, against a decent but not great Arizona Cardinals team, the Seahawks had their way . They allowed just 30 rushing yards, had seven sacks and two interceptions, one by Thomas and another that should have been returned for a touchdown but cornerback Brandon Browner was tripped up by Casper (the friendly ghost) before he got to the end zone.
Seattle ranks No. 5 in points allowed (16.6), No. 2 in total yards allowed (282.1), No. 3 in passing yards allowed (190.6) and No. 5 (91.6) in rushing yards allowed. They are first in interceptions with 11, first in forced fumbles with 10, and first in recovered fumbles (8). They have the best secondary in the league, led by Thomas and Richard Sherman. Browner raised his level against the Cardinals after a so-so start. Cam Chancellor remains one of the hardest-hitting strong safeties in the game and you just don’t see him making mistakes.
The Hawks are also as deep as anyone in the league along the defensive front. It doesn’t seem to matter who ‘s in the game — Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril are getting things done from the outside and Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel are getting it done inside. If Seattle duplicates the rush it had against the Cardinals’ Carson Palmer, he won’t be the last quarterback who is going to have a miserable day against the Seahawks.
When Chicago was wreaking havoc, the Bears weren’t facing the kind of high-powered offenses that now exist in the NFL. But I can’t remember a defense that was more intimidating, or dominating. Coached by Buddy Ryan, they used an innovative attacking “46 zone” defense that allowed the fewest points (196), total yards (4,135) and few rushing yards (1,319) that year. They also led in interceptions (34) and were third in sacks (64). Middle linebacker Mike Singletary was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, and the award could easily have gone to teammate and future Hall of Famer Richard Dent, who had 17 sacks. Another Hall of Famer, Dan Hampton, was also part of the defensive line.
Da Bears, under head coach Mike Ditka, were also pretty good on offense. Led by His Sweetness, Walter Payton, and quarterback Jim McMahon, Chicago outscored opponents 456-198. Payton was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher at the time and he danced and pounded for 1,551 yards and caught 49 passes for another 485 yards.
Seattle’s offense, considering all of the injuries to the offensive line, has been pretty good. The Seahawks have been successful ramming Marshawn Lynch at opponents and quarterback Russell Wilson, just seven games into his second pro season, is the best at extending plays and keeping opponents guessing. McMahon spread the ball around to his receivers — speedster Willie Gault (33 catches, 704 yards) was the deep threat, Dennis McKinnon (31-555-7 TDs) had his best season and tight end Emery Moorhead was clutch (35-481) was clutch. It’s similar to how the Seahawks are getting it done. There’s probably not anybody you want on our fantasy team, but Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Zach Miller and Jermaine Kearse have all demonstrated they can make big plays. And the offense should get better. Receiver/returner Percy Harvin has yet to play, but is getting close to being game ready and he is one of the best offensive weapons in the league. Plus, they’ve been without starting tackles Russell Okung (foot) and Breno Giacomini (knee).
One more comparison. The Bears were led by Ditka, who was as fiery as they come during his day. He was never afraid to speak his mind and remains a beloved figure in the Windy City. Enthusiastic Pete Carroll does it with a different style in Seattle, and the outgoing coach has captured the 12s, as well as the team, while turning the Seahawks into legit Super Bowl contenders.
The only thing missing?
The Bears recorded the “Super Bowl Shuffle” and released it to rave reviews three months prior to the Super Bowl. I remember it as being a bit corny, but after some extensive reasearch (thank you, Google), I discovered that it sold more than a half million records, hit No. 41 on the Billboard charts and was even nominated for a Grammy.
I’m sure the Seahawks could get a little help from one of their biggest fans, Macklemore, if they wanted some help on recording their own rap video. The “Super Bowl Shuffle, Seattle-Style” just might be in order.