Skip to main content
Presented by

Thursday Round-Up: Seahawks' Strong Defensive Performances Led by Adaptive Secondary

Corbin Smith of Sports Illustrated breaks down why a now-healthy Seahawks secondary is reshaping the view on Seattle’s defense.


Good afternoon, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Thursday, October 19 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Corbin Smith of Sports Illustrated highlights the play of Seattle's secondary through six weeks.

The 3-2 Seahawks have seen their share of injuries on both sides of the ball through six weeks. In Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle's secondary shined in its first game with its starting five of Riq Woolen, Tre Brown, Devon Witherspoon, Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams all on the field. With 12 weeks remaining in the regular season, Corbin Smith of Sports Illustrated breaks down the potential of Seattle’s secondary, led by rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

In April, Seattle picked Illinois corner Devon Witherspoon No .5 overall, making him the second-highest defensive selection of the draft. After missing Seattle's Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams with a hamstring injury, Witherspoon has blossomed into one of the league's premiere rookie talents.

Through six weeks, Witherspoon leads all rookies with six forced incompletions, per Pro Football Reference, and he has recorded seven passes defensed overall, tied for second most in the NFL. In just four contests played, Witherspoon has combined for 27 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and an interception that he returned 97 yards for a score on his way to NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The 2022 Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Trophy Award-winner has delivered early, all while switching to nickel cornerback. Against the Bengals, Witherspoon allowed just one catch to wideout Ja'Marr Chase for just three yards. Overall, Witherspoon allowed just 14 receiving yards against Bengals receivers (64.6 passer rating).

Smith breaks down the play of Seattle's secondary against the Bengals as a statement game for the future. After praising Witherspoon, Smith takes a look at third-year cornerback Tre Brown’s play since overcoming injury woes that restricted him to 11 games played over his first two seasons. Through four games, Brown leads Seattle with a pair of interceptions, the first-two of his career.

"Late in the fourth quarter, "Big Play Tre" lived up to his nickname again, this time swiping upward to punch the ball out of Tee Higgins' hands on a crucial third down for an incompletion. Stopping the clock without a timeout and forcing Cincinnati to punt, Seattle got the ball back one last time to try to pull off the comeback, but unfortunately couldn't capitalize on the opportunity in the closing seconds."

Like Brown, safety Jamal Adams returned to the field this season after an extended injury recovery process (quadriceps). In Sunday’s loss, Adams recorded six tackles and a tackle for loss, helping to hold Cincinnati to three points in the second half. It was the first full game played by the LSU alum in 13 months. With Adams back on the field, Seattle saw their safety group (Quandre Diggs, Julian Love, Adams) together for the first time in 2023 aside from a handful of plays in Week 4 prior to Adams leaving with a concussion. Smith credits Defensive Coordinator Clint Hurtt for his resilient group stepping up in a statement road matchup.

"Away from the stellar efforts from Brown and Witherspoon, Hurtt also had his full complement of safeties in Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, and Julian Love at his disposal, masterfully mixing and matching the versatile trio at multiple positions and alignments to lead the charge. With Love able to play free safety in a pinch as well as lining up in the slot or in the box, Diggs logged nine combined snaps either in the box or in the slot and showed off his underrated physicality, dishing frequent punishment to ball carriers while racking up a team-high eight tackles and only allowing one catch in coverage. Though he played less than 50 percent of the defensive snaps, Love contributed three tackles and allowed one catch for 11 yards."

Smith closes out by using Sunday's performance as a reason to get excited about the future potential of Seattle's secondary.

"For those who view glasses half empty, Seattle still ranks 17th in the NFL in passing defense and 30th in third down conversion rate, two categories used to evaluate secondary play. Following Sunday's game, the team has also given up 21 explosive pass plays, the sixth-most in the NFL through Week 6, while only producing four interceptions thus far.

But now that Witherspoon has arrived as one of the league's most exciting young phenoms across from Riq Woolen and Adams has rebounded from a severe injury to bring his unique set of skills to the equation next to Diggs and Love, there's no question the Seahawks have one of the most talented secondary groups in the NFL and the results have started to show on the field. After giving up 328 passing yards and allowing 5.6 explosive pass plays per game in the first three weeks, they have cut those numbers in half to 152 passing yards and two explosive plays per game since."

Social Post Of The Day

Seahawks first-year cornerback Devon Witherspoon leads all rookies with sixforced incompletions.

More From Around The Web

Related Content