It appears the Seattle Seahawks have their swagger back.
FILE PHOTO: Oct 28, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Seahawks punter Michael Dickson (4) jogs onto the field during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
And just in time.
After an 0-2 start, the Seahawks (4-3) have won four of their past five games, the lone defeat in that span a 33-31 decision to the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.
They’ll need it in November, when they face a difficult schedule that starts with Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-2), who have won four in a row and are coming off a bye week.
Perhaps no play illustrates the Seahawks’ renewed confidence than the one rookie punter Michael Dickson made last week in a 28-14 victory at Detroit.
With 2:18 remaining and facing fourth-and-8 from their own 3-yard line, Dickson was instructed to run around the back of the end zone to kill a few seconds before taking a safety.
He rolled to his right but instead of stepping out of the back of the end zone, he took off down the sideline and gained 9 yards for a first down.
“I like to think he showed you our mentality that we trust our guys and we work hard and work at it that you’re going to get faced with opportunities, and I like our guys to be able to improvise well and find the ways to make special things happen,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
The key to the Seahawks’ recent success has been their retooled defense and running game.
The Seattle defense, minus the legendary Legion of Boom and other stars, ranks fifth in the NFL in yards per game allowed (327.3) and fourth in points allowed (18.7). And during the past five games, the Seattle offense has averaged 158.5 rushing yards per game.
The defense faces a stern test from the Chargers, led by quarterback Philip Rivers. They rank sixth in the NFL in total offense (402.7) and eighth in scoring (27.9).
One plus for the Chargers is that Seattle’s defensive scheme is similar to their own. Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley held the same position in Seattle from 2009-12.
“Our players see it every single day, but it’s still a personnel game, matchup game,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “They put their players in a position to make plays just like we do, and we just have to execute.”
The Chargers could get a boost from the return of running back Melvin Gordon, who missed their last game, a 20-19 victory against Tennessee, because of a hamstring injury. Gordon was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, working with his position group during individual drills, but Lynn wouldn’t say whether Gordon would play Sunday.
The Chargers had hoped to have defensive end Joey Bosa make his season debut after suffering a bone bruise in his left foot during training camp, but he didn’t practice Wednesday.
“From now it is going to be a week-to-week-type thing,” Bosa said. “People keep asking me when I am going to be ready. The second my foot is ready to practice on a Wednesday I will play that week.”
—Field Level Media