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Seahawks hoping to improve their run defense

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm •  Published: December 21, 2012

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For the first six weeks of the season, the Seattle Seahawks run defense was among the best in the NFL.

In the eight games that have followed, the Seahawks have statistically been among the worst.

What changed?

"The run game has been solid except for some big plays we've given up to really good players," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We're hoping to play a lot cleaner, a lot sharper."

Over the first six games, the Seahawks were No. 2 in the NFL in yards rushing allowed per carry at 3.3 yards. That ability to stop the run put more pressure on the opponents passing game to find openings against Seattle's secondary.

But during the past eight games, the Seahawks have struggled. They're giving up 5.3 yards per carry, which ranks last in the NFL.

Part of the problem is the big runs Seattle's defense has allowed to running backs such as Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore and Reggie Bush.

In five of the past eight games, the Seahawks have allowed their opponent at least 100 yards rushing as a team, after not letting any of their first six opponents reach that mark.

Still, there are concerns that have allowed those big runs to happen in the first place.

"We know that we have given up some big plays we know with Adrian and some backs," Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "It's still kind of a work in progress. That's still our No. 1 emphasis after getting the ball."

Seattle enters Sunday night's matchup against San Francisco still with the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL — right behind the 49ers — and with the 10th ranked rushing defense.

But it was the 49ers that started Seattle down the path of struggles with its run defense. It was a mix of defensive scheme and talent that helped Gore run for 131 yards when the teams faced off in Week 7. That remains Gore's season high and the second-most yards rushing allowed by the Seahawks this season.

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