While they’ve failed to register a large amount of interceptions and sacks so far this season, the Seattle Seahawks defense is much better than the team’s 5-5 record indicates. In fact, when you look at their defensive rankings across the board as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, it really makes you wonder why they don’t have more than five wins entering Week 12.
Perhaps the most intriguing stat of them all when it comes to Seahawks defense so far this season is their stop rate on third downs and especially in third and long situations against the pass.
Through their first 10 games, the Seahawks defense has faced 73 passing plays on which the opposing offense needed 5 yards or more and only 21.9% of the time did they give up a conversion. 3 of their 4 interceptions that they have recorded so far this season have come during those 73 passing plays along with 2 of their 8 fumble recoveries and 6 of their 25 team sacks.
In third down situations when offenses have needed 7 or more yards so far this season, the Seahawks defense is even belter against the pass as they’ve only allowed 17.9% of all passing plays to be converted on those down and distances on 56 total plays.
While he’s only played in 6 games so far this season, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed 70% of his third down pass attempts when needing 7 or more yards and 40% of those 20 total pass attempts have resulted in a first down. 7 of those 8 completions, however, went to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who will undoubtedly be matched up quite a bit against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday. In case you’re curious, the other converted third and long pass that Roethlisberger has had so far this season went to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and that came way back in the regular-season opener against the New England Patriots.
If the Steelers get in third and long situations Sunday against the Seahawks, the Brown versus Sherman matchup figures to be the one to watch.