RENTON, Wash. —
"They didn't want to tackle," Bennett said of the
"It was amazing to see. It was such a championship moment and I think in the playoffs you've got to take those jumps, you've got to make those tackles. You can't be worried about yourself, you've got to be worried about the team in those situations."
Python-tight tackling hasn't been an issue for Seattle, which plays host to the
The Seahawks had the NFL's top scoring defense this season, giving up only 20 touchdowns, and only 12 in the last 11 games. In fact, the four remaining
Dropping offensive players in their tracks has been a point of emphasis for the Seahawks, and it shows. They don't give up many big plays. For instance, last season Seattle's defense was worst in the league at allowing opponents to convert on third and 10 or longer, giving up first downs in 33.8% of those situations. This season, the Seahawks are first in that department at a paltry 7.4%.
"This year we've seen a lot of missed tackles, and we wanted to be one of those teams that doesn't miss too many tackles," middle linebacker
That will be key against
Meanwhile, Seattle's offense has sputtered since a 34-7 pounding of the Saints on Dec. 2. After that, the Seahawks lost to the
Darrell Bevell, Seattle's offensive coordinator, said the two main points of focus are improving on third down and in the red zone. The long-awaited return of receiver
When they are clicking, the Seahawks are formidable on offense. Quarterback
But a smothering defense has been Seattle's calling card this season — and right from the start of games. The Seahawks are the only team in the league not to give up a single point on an opening drive. The league average is four touchdowns over the course of the season.
Blunting an offense from the start can help take the crowd out of the game on the road, and doing that in Seattle only cranks up the volume of an already raucous crowd.
"Every game, you want to go out there and set the tone," Wagner said. "You don't want a team on its opening drive to get in a rhythm, get comfortable. As soon as they get comfortable, you've got to really work on that. So the main thing we do is we try to knock them off rhythm from the moment they walk into the stadium."