SEATTLE – As the Seahawks gathered Wednesday to begin preparations for the first game of the second half of the season, the way the first half ended lingered unpleasantly.
They got a win Monday at St. Louis, 14-9 over the Rams. But even as St. Louis’ last-ditch pass in the end zone fell incomplete, Seattle knew it had dodged a bullet.
“Last week, that wasn’t us,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said of a defense that allowed a season-high 200 yards rushing.
When they stepped back and looked at the bigger picture, though, they liked the view a lot better.
Despite obvious areas of needed improvement, the Seahawks are 7-1 for the first time in franchise history. They remain atop the NFC West, and a half-game ahead of New Orleans for the best record in the conference.
Here’s our halftime look at the Seahawks:
Our lead-in to our review of the offense after the first four games still applies at the halfway point. Any assessment has to take into account the injuries to the offensive line and graded accordingly.
Seattle has played one game with its starting line. Left tackle Russell Okung suffered a toe injury in the first quarter of the second game against the 49ers and hasn’t played since. Right tackle Breno Giacomini injured his knee the following week and hasn’t played since.
That has forced guard Paul McQuistan to play out of position at left tackle and rookie Michael Bowie to play at right tackle.
Still, Seattle has scored enough to win seven of eight games, and assuming Okung, Giacomini and Harvin return, it should get better down the stretch.
MVP: Quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson’s mobility and playmaking ability have been more valuable because of the offensive-line issues. Wilson has a QB rating of 99.0, just off his team record of 100.0 last season.
The defense is still beating itself up over Monday’s performance. “We took them for granted and they made us pay for it,” said cornerback Walter Thurmond.
But the overall first-half numbers are right on track with where the Seahawks hoped to be. Seattle is allowing 289.3 yards per game, behind only the 267.7 of Houston and better than the 306.2 of a year ago. Their defensive passer rating of 62.7 is by far the best in the NFL.
MVP: Earl Thomas. Thomas is being considered a potential NFL defensive MVP candidate, tied for the league lead in interceptions with four, leading the team in tackles with 57 (52 solos), 24 more than anyone else.
Kicker Steven Hauschka is 16 of 17 on field goals, punter Jon Ryan has been solid. Seattle has a 231-15 edge on its opponents in punt-return yards and the Seahawks haven’t been hurt in the kickoff game.
MVP: We gave this to Hauschka after the first quarter, and he would be a deserving pick. But we’ll give the halfway mark co-MVP to Jeremy Lane and Heath Farwell as a nod to the team’s coverage units. Each player has six special-teams tackles.