In beginning to look at the Seahawks’ season from a statistics standpoint, one thing that stood out to me was the similarity of the “end of season” Seahawks to the “beginning of the season” Bears.
In their first 8 games, the Bears outscored their opponents 236-120, for a point differential of 116. Turnovers were the key. In those 8 games, the Bears forced 28 turnovers (3.5 per game), and scored a staggering 8 TDs on defense and special teams, one per game. They went 7-1, and looked like they were going to cruise to an NFC North division title. Along the way, they suffered some key injuries, most notably Jay Cutler for 2 games, but the big plays on defense also dried up. Over the next 6 games, the Bears forced 9 turnovers (1.5 per game), and did not score on defense or special teams. During that stretch, albeit against better teams, they went 1-5, would eventually miss the playoffs, and fire their head coach.
Over their last 4 games, the Seahawks have had strikingly similar numbers in the turnover department. Like the Bears, they forced 3.5 turnovers per game (14 in total), and scored 4 TDs on defensive and special teams (1 per game). The Seahawks, however, outscored their opponents 170-43 during their stretch, a difference of 31.75 points per game, whereas the Bears were beating their opponents by a average of 14.5 points during their impressive stretch.
The high rate in which the Bears were forcing turnovers was not sustainable, and it caught up with them when they began to face more difficult opponents. The Redskins have the fewest turnovers in the league this season, with just 14. Obviously, turnovers aren’t the sole reason the Seahawks have been winning lately, but they certainly have played a major role. I wonder how sustainable their ability to force turnovers can continue to be.