The Seahawks enter the second half of the season with a 5-2-1 record and holding a two-game lead on the rest of the NFC West as well as the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC.

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If, maybe, the first half of the season didn’t go exactly as planned for the Seahawks, they are also hardly unhappy with how it ended.

The Seahawks enter the second half of the season with a 5-2-1 record and holding a two-game lead on the rest of the NFC West as well as the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC.

And now comes the time of season when they shine. In the Russell Wilson era, Seattle is 25-14-1 in the first half of seasons since 2012, but has gone 26-6 in the four previous second halves.

“It’s exciting to be making the turn, be in a pretty good position, and we haven’t found our best football yet,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We have a lot to still accomplish, and it’s going to be extremely challenging. We like this finish mode. It’s something that we take a lot of pride in. I’m counting on these guys to really execute and play great football down the stretch. We’ll see where that leaves us at the end.”

Before the second half begins Sunday at New England, a look at how the Seahawks fared in the first half:


MVP: Russell Wilson. Despite all the injuries, he has still been the rock of the Seattle offense, showing he can play winning football even without his legs and a powerful running game to support the team’s passing attack. The touchdown numbers are down — just seven, on pace for 14, which would be six fewer than his career low of 20 in 2014 — but he’s completing 66.7 percent, second-best of his career, and he has thrown just two interceptions. As his legs continue to heal in the second half of the season, some of his numbers might also look better.

Runner-up: Jimmy Graham. Graham is on pace for 76 receptions and 1,090 yards, exactly the kind of production the team envisioned when it traded for him, doing so after a knee injury last year some thought might be career-altering.

Unsung hero: Doug Baldwin. Despite what has seemed like a few quiet games, Baldwin is on pace for career highs in receptions (88) and yards (1,140).

Key stat: 3.2 yards per carry. That’s on pace to be the worst in team history and more than two yards behind 2014’s 5.3, the last full year for Marshawn Lynch. It’s hard to envision the Seahawks continuing to win at that pace.

Key question: Can the Seahawks get the running game going in the second half? The hope will be that the running game improves as Wilson gets even healthier, Thomas Rawls comes back and the young players on the offensive line improve.

Grade: C. Some of the numbers suggest the grade should be worse — Seattle is 26th in total offense (332.1). But Wilson’s injuries allow for some leeway.


Co-MVPs: Bobby Wagner and Cliff Avril. Wagner has been a rock of consistency for the Seahawks, on pace for 176 tackles – which would be a team record (the current record is 153 by Terry Beeson in 1978) while playing all but one snap. Avril, meanwhile, has nine sacks, also on pace to break a team record — Michael Sinclair holds the mark with 16.5 in 1998.

Unsung hero: Frank Clark. The second-year player has become what the team hoped, on pace for 13 sacks while also showing improved play against the run and on the field for almost 58 percent of snaps.

Key stat: 51 of 120 third-down conversions. Seattle has really struggled to get off the field lately, with foes converting 42.5 percent of third-down attempts, by far the highest of the Carroll era and on pace to be the highest since 2002 (46.5). The last three opponents have converted 31 of 53.

Key question: Can the defense continue to hold up to its heavy play pace? The Seattle defense has been on the field for 568 snaps, third-most of any team that has played just eight games so far. The Seahawks played 995 last season, meaning they are on pace at the moment to be on the field for 139 more snaps, or roughly two full games more than last season.

Grade: B-plus. There has been some slippage the past few games without Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor. But in the most important stat, points allowed, the Seahawks remain one of the best in the NFL at 16.8, third in the league.

Special teams

MVP: Jon Ryan. Ryan is on pace for 82 punts, which would be his most since 2011 (95). His pinpoint kicks have helped the Seahawks rank ninth in fewest return yards allowed (7.3) and he also has uncorked a few big punts when needed, such as the 62-yarder in the fourth quarter Monday night when Seattle was at its own 11.

Unsung hero: Neiko Thorpe. Signed as a free agent on Sept. 13, Thorpe has become the kickoff and punt-coverage standout the team hoped, leading the Seahawks with four special-teams tackles.

Key stat: 30.8 percent. That’s the percentage of drives the Seahawks have started inside their own 20 (28 of 91), highest in the NFL. One reason is the return units haven’t been as consistently dynamic as a year ago (though Tyler Lockett’s return to health should go a long way toward fixing things).

Key question: Can the kicking team smooth out the rough edges the rest of the season? There has been much discussion about rookie long snapper Nolan Frese, who has had a couple of off-target snaps, particularly in the win over Atlanta. But Seattle coaches are banking in part on experience leading to improved consistency.

Grade: B-minus. While most of the special teams have generally been OK, the missed field goal at Arizona stands out, and Seattle also just hasn’t seemed quite as consistent overall as in past years.