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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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October 7, 2008 12:00 AM

Defense rests

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Fast forward to the 16th game of last season when the Seahawks headed to Atlanta with a chance to set the franchise record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season. The Seahawks allowed 247 through 15 games, and sure that came against a parade of backups like A.J. Feeley, Troy Smith and Matt Moore, but Seattle's had some pretty good defenses over the years but never had allowed fewer than 261.

Well, Atlanta rung up 44 points on Seattle, and at the time, I was among the people who dismissed that result as an aberration. The Seahawks' playoff position was secure and with nothing to play for the defense lacked that emotional edge that is so necessary.

That's a position that needs to be reconsidered given what has happened. Seattle has played seven games since then, including the playoffs and has allowed more than 30 points in five of them. One of those games was in Buffalo when the special teams gave up two touchdowns and set up a third, but that still leaves four games when the defense was positively porous.

 Before Game 16 at AtlantaSince Game 16 at Atlanta
Points allowed16.532
Rush TDs158
Pass TDs allowed1116
Rush yards allowed101.3136
Pass yards allowed211243.6

A closer look at the numbers shows that it's very clear that the secondary should be a primary concern. Seattle allowed 11 passing touchdowns in the first 15 games last season and has given up 16 in the seven games since. The big play that was such a big problem in 2006 has reemerged as the big shortcoming.

The rushing yards have also shown a sizeable jump, but that's really not as surprising. The reality is that a team runs more when it wins, but does not necessarily win because it runs. A team that has a lead is more likely to hand the ball off more, which means the rushing yardage can be the result of team winning the game and not necessarily the cause of it.

But what has happened to this defense? Coach Mike Holmgren was asked that at his press conference Monday. Listen to his answer for yourself in this mp3 file right here.

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