For the Seattle Seahawks, the first two games of the exhibition season were much the same as the team’s second half of 2012 — when Pete Carroll’s boys won seven of their last eight regular-season games to advance to the NFC playoffs for the second time in three years.
The Seahawks have the NFL’s top scoring offense, averaging 35.5 points through two exhibition games. And Seattle ranks No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing just 10 points a contest.
While Seattle’s starters have played a little more than two quarters in two games — with many front-line players such as Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Chris Clemons and Zach Miller playing sparingly, if at all — what has been more impressive is the backups subbing in and playing at a high level.
Dating to 2011, the Seahawks have won seven consecutive exhibition games by an average of 20.9 points.
However, pump the brakes on planning a ticker-tape parade route through downtown Seattle for a Super Bowl celebration in February.
In 2009, the Seahawks finished 4-0 in exhibition play but stumbled through a 5-11 regular season, leading to Jim Mora’s firing after one season as their head coach.
Therefore, encouraging exhibition wins don’t necessarily translate to postseason success in January and February.
That said, the following is a closer look at how the Seahawks made quick work of San Diego and Denver this exhibition season.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BALL
The Seahawks have an impressive plus-6 turnover differential through the first two games — second in the NFL to NFC West rival Arizona (plus-7).
The Seahawks have picked off three passes and recovered three forced fumbles. Those six turnovers directly led to 23 points.
Also, Seattle has not turned the ball over during exhibition play.
“The most important factor that’s happening right now is that we’re not giving the football up,” Carroll said. “And there’s nothing more important than that.”
One of Carroll’s points of emphasis remains taking care of the football on offense, and creating turnovers on defense as momentum-changing plays.
Last season, the Seahawks were No. 6 in the NFL in sudden change situations — think points off turnovers in basketball. Seattle scored 103 points off 31 turnovers forced, and only gave up 50 points off 18 turnovers lost in 2012.
During exhibition play, cornerback Brandon Browner has been particularly effective getting the ball from opponents, with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery returned for a 106-yard touchdown through two games.