Don’t Overlook Seattle Seahawks as NFC Contenders

Scott Engel
Last Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Pete Carroll delivered a classic quote to open his postgame presser after the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-3 Monday night rout of the New York Giants to finish Week 4.

“We had so much fun tonight. Golly, that was fun playing football,” he said.

Afterward, in the locker room, a beaming Carroll openly let loose with more joy about the team’s third consecutive win. The always-exuberant head coach had watched his Seahawks extinguish any hopes of a Giants comeback when rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon took a third-quarter interception 97 yards for a TD.

Seattle’s No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft was named the NFC Defensive Player of The Week, adding a pair of sacks to boot. He reflected on the magnitude of his pick-six after the win.

“That was an incredible moment for me. First career pick was a pick-six on Monday Night Football. It doesn’t get any better,” he said.

Will it get any better for the Seahawks after their Week 5 bye? Seattle’s (+2000) odds to win the NFC on DraftKings Sportsbook are fifth-best in the conference, but the team is making a case to be taken seriously as a contender. The Detroit Lions have (+850) odds to win the NFC, yet the Seahawks handed them their only loss in an overtime bonanza at Ford Field.

Carroll’s teams have defied expectations before. In 2022, when Seattle had an Over/Under of 5.5 wins, they made the playoffs. In 2018 — the first true season of the post-Legion of Boom era, when expectations were lowered and the Seahawks were not considered a playoff team — they won 10 games.

Following the win over the Giants, which included 11 sacks (tying a franchise record) and three turnovers, Carroll said that this year’s edition of the team is just starting to gel. According to PhillyVoice, the Seahawks had the fifth-youngest roster in the league heading into the season (25.5).

Witherspoon’s performance illustrated how some of the younger players were ready to help boost the team going forward.

“It’s so important to us as we move into this, we’re finishing, like, the first quarter of the schedule,” Carroll said. “So, with a lot of hope and looking toward the future, and developing the young guys, seeing them able to play a role for us just gives us the confidence that we’re going to keep getting better.

“So, we’re not a finished product, we’re just getting rolling.”

The 11 sacks — a mark Seattle last reached in 1986 — instantly boosted Seattle into a tie for the top spot in the NFL for team sacks with 16. Future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner said the number of sacks also demonstrated that the Seahawks are progressively improving, and the fact that they lead the NFL with 98 pressures (Pro Football Focus) is further proof that a breakout performance rushing the passer was due.

“I think we needed it,” Wagner said of tying a team record. “I think each game defensively, we’ve been getting better.”

So how good are the 2023 Seahawks, exactly? The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles are considered to be elite teams, and deservedly so. The Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and Seahawks are all among the top teams in the NFC so far.

After a stunning opening week 30-13 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams in which the Seahawks were outscored 23-0 in the second half, Seattle has reeled off three wins in a row, taking care of business as expected against the Carolina Panthers, toppling the Lions on their home turf, and then dominating on a national stage.

Carroll still had the Rams defeat on his mind after the Week 4 rout of New York, and that loss may have served as a motivator for how the Seahawks have played over the last three games.

“Yeah, we screwed up the freaking second half of the first game, and I haven’t forgiven myself for that,” Carroll said. “The Rams have done a nice job since then, they’ve played good football.

“But we just didn’t play the second half like all the rest of these halves. This is the way we are supposed to finish, and we just didn’t do it, so I am going to be kicking myself for that one, but there are a couple of teams that are 4-0, and it’s really close.”

Seattle was indeed one game behind undefeated San Francisco in the NFC West as the schedule headed into Week 5. When looking at the team’s depth chart, it is apparent the Seahawks are well-stocked on both sides of the ball.

The offense has three prime playmakers in DK Metcalf, Kenneth Walker III, and Tyler Lockett, and it gets steady QB play from Geno Smith. Jarran Reed anchors the defensive line, Wagner and Jordyn Brooks are a high-quality LB duo, and the secondary now features a top-notch cornerback pairing in Witherspoon and Riq Woolen, plus established Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs.

The most impressive feat to note is that Smith has not been sacked more than two times in a game despite the group being riddled with injuries. Offensive line coach Andy Dickerson’s unit was missing four starters for much of Monday’s game after guards Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes left with injuries, and starting tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas have not played since the opener.

“We had a mix-match thing going on the offensive line again, but it’s been three weeks of it,” Carroll said. “I’m so proud that we have guys that can answer the call and play at the top level and give us a chance to compete in these games.”

Seattle has shown resiliency while dealing with other injury issues, too. When Smith left Monday’s game in the second quarter with a knee injury, Drew Lock stepped in and delivered a pass to Noah Fant that became a catch-and-run for 51 yards to set up a short Walker TD run.

“It’s just the next man up, and we practice with Drew all the time,” Metcalf said “For us, it was just a matter of executing the plays that [offensive coordinator] Shane [Waldron] called.”

Smith returned after halftime, and the Seahawks now ride into the bye week looking capable of making a deep playoff run if they continue to perform at the same levels as the past three weeks. At the least, Seattle has to arguably be considered one of the top four teams in the NFC.

Lockett, however, told me that the bye week is not a time to sit back and fully rest, a message the veterans will likely be sharing with the team’s younger players.

“You’ve got to be able to win the bye week, you can’t let the bye week beat you,” Lockett said. “Sometimes, you know, people can take days off, and not want to do anything, forget about football, but you still have to take some time, learn some football, look at our next matchup, which is Cincinnati, and just be able to get ready for them.”

The next three matchups are with the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, and Cleveland Browns. The Bengals will be aiming to continue to bounce back from a slow start, the Cardinals are a divisional opponent that has fought well to stay in games, and the Browns are an AFC playoff contender, so Seattle will have to be ready to battle hard for more victories.

When I asked cornerback Michael Jackson about the team’s outstanding performance in Week 4, he stressed that the Seahawks have much more to accomplish in the weeks ahead and cannot revel in the joy of one win for long.

“It’s a real good performance, but right now it means nothing, because we get a bye, and then we’ve got to go to Cincinnati, and they’re going to watch this game, and they’re going to want to like, do the opposite, so we’ve got to get ready for that,” Jackson said.

For more Seattle Seahawks content, continue reading below.

Meet the 10 Greatest Seahawks from the Throwback Uniform Era

July 20, 2023

The Seattle Seahawks created quite a positive stir among NFL fans this week when they officially confirmed that they would be wearing their throwback uniforms during two regular-season games in 2023.

Seattle will don its classic royal blue jerseys, grey pants, and silver helmets for the first time in over two decades when they host the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 29 at Lumen Field.

The look that the Seahawks will trot out is heavily based on their uniforms from 1983 to 2001, which received some minor tweaks along the way. The franchise is positioning the 2023 throwbacks as a nod to the 1990s version of the uniform.

To join the fun, I am featuring the top 10 players ever to wear the Seahawks throwback uniform after they altered the look from the original uniforms after 1982 and before they made more drastic changes for the 2002 season.

If a player had the Seahawks “hawk head” logo on his sleeves and a silver helmet with a blue facemask during the Seattle years of his career, he qualifies for this illustrious list.

A player must have appeared in the 1983 to 2001 throwback uniform for a good portion or the best years of his Seahawks career to be considered here.

So please don’t hit me up on social media to ask me why Marshawn Lynch or Tyler Lockett do not appear on the list, and keep in mind that Shaun Alexander only wore the throwback uniform for one year as a regular starter.

These guys conjure up the greatest memories of the throwback look for those who remember them or are interested in learning more about Seattle Seahawks history. Players qualify for accomplishments and impact from 1983 to 2001 only.

Top 10 Seahawks to Wear the Throwback Uniform: 1983-2001

  1. Steve Largent: The franchise’s first Hall of Famer, this original Seahawk of 1976 was an All-Pro in 1984, 1985, and 1987 and was a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team. The master technician is often underrated when many list their top NFL wide receivers of all time, as Largent held multiple major NFL receiving records when he retired after the 1989 season.
  2. Cortez Kennedy: From 1990 to 2000, he was one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the game, occupying multiple blockers while still wrecking opponents up front. The standout defensive tackle was the NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in 1992 and was a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team.
  3. Kenny Easley: He was the original Legion Of Boom thumper, a massive hitter who also stood out in every facet of his game as a strong safety. The NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in 1984, Easley was a five-time All-Pro who patrolled the Seattle secondary with an iron presence from 1981 to 1987.
  4. Walter Jones: Considered by many longtime NFL watchers to be the greatest left tackle of all time, Jones was a Pro Bowler in 1999 and a first-team All-Pro in 2001. Known for pushing SUVs as a training method, Jones debuted in the 1990s throwback uniform in 1997, when he was named to the PFWAA All-Rookie Team.
  5. Curt Warner: The “Land Crab” was the first star Seattle running back, leading the AFC in rushing as a rookie in 1983. Warner rebounded from a significant knee injury in 1984 to garner his second and third All-Pro selections in 1986 and 1987, and he was long considered the greatest running back in team history for many years after his Seahawk tenure ended in 1989.
  6. Jacob Green: He is the Seahawks’ all-time sacks leader, with an unofficial total of 116 and 97.5 from when sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982. Green was an absolute force at defensive end for Seattle from 1980 to 1991, as his furious approach led to two Pro Bowl selections.
  7. Dave Brown: Along with Easley, Brown provided the Seahawks with two cornerstones of a formidable secondary in the team’s first years of playoff contention and success after initially joining the team in the 1976 expansion draft. The two-time All-Pro still holds the team record for interceptions with 50, established from 1976 to 1986.
  8. Eugene Robinson: Another in a line of outstanding Seahawk safeties over the years, Robinson made the Pro Bowl twice during his Seahawks tenure from 1985 to 1995. He led the NFL in interceptions in 1993 and was a steady leadership presence in the Seattle secondary.
  9. Chris Warren: No. 42 made the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons from 1993 to 1995. During his career, the 1990 fourth-round pick showcased a nifty blend of power and quickness, and Warren held the team career rushing record at 6,706 yards when he concluded his Seahawk years in 1997.
  10. Dave Krieg: While Jim Zorn is fondly remembered as the first Seattle quarterback, he spent most of his career in the original uniform. Krieg succeeded Zorn and became the first Seahawks QB to win a playoff game in 1983, and he was a three-time Pro Bowler during his years in Seattle (1980-1991), leading the league in completion percentage in his final campaign.

Seahawks Throwback Era Honorable Mentions

There are so many other memorable players that Seahawks and NFL fans will recall from the 1980s and 1990s, and here are a select few who challenged for a place on my list:

John L. Williams: A top dual-threat fullback from 1986 to 1993.

Shawn Springs: An All-Pro CB in 2004 and a Pro Bowler in 1998, he was a solid secondary presence from 1997 to 2003.

Michael Sinclair: A regular disruptor as a defensive end for the Seahawks from 1991 to 2001. Sinclair led the NFL in sacks in 1998 and was a three-time Pro Bowler.

Joey Galloway: One of the most exciting WRs to ever play for the Seahawks, from 1995 to 1999.

Ricky Watters: Tough and versatile, Watters rushed for over 1,200 yards three times with Seattle from 1998 to 2001.

Brian Blades: An All-Pro selection in 1989, Blades was a fearless pass-catcher who often made the difficult grabs from 1988 to 1998.

Rufus Porter: The linebacker was an All-Pro in 1989. Porter was known for his intensity off the edge as a pass rusher from 1988 to 1994.

For more Seahawks content, check out Scott’s story about Geno Smith and his improved weaponry.


Scott Engel

Scott Engel is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously he was at and The Athletic. His work is also featured at RotoBaller and on Scott is a host on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time finalist. He was an Associate Editor and featured writer at and his career began at CBS SportsLine, where he was a Senior Writer and Managing Editor. Scott was the Managing Director at RotoExperts.

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