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Richard Sherman: 2015 was 'off' year for Seahawks' D

When you get so used to standing on the mountain top, the view seems just slightly off from one cliff lower.

The Seattle Seahawks' defense led the NFL in points allowed per game for the fourth consecutive season (17.3), finished first in rush yards per game (81.5), second in total yards (291.8) and passing yards per game (210.3) and fourth in third-down percentage (33.9). In the final five games of the regular season, Seattle's D ranked first in points allowed (11.0), total YPG (218.8), rush YPG (56.4) and passing YPG (162.4). They were the only team in the NFL that didn't allow a 100-yard rusher in the regular season.

Despite the clear accolades, those dips to second place -- especially finishing behind the Broncos in pass defense -- meant an "off year" in Seattle, according to Richard Sherman.

"Most people would give their left arm to have our defense," Sherman said, via the Seattle Times. "But when you're held to the standard that we are, being No. 1 in points allowed, No. 2 in total yards and No. 2 in passing yards allowed is an off year for us."

Sure, the Seahawks' defense might not have been as stalwart early in the season as previous years, thanks in part to Kam Chancellor's hold out and injuries, but down the stretch no one was better.

Seattle has struggled to find a consistent cornerback opposite Sherman the last couple of seasons, leading to quarterbacks picking on the opposite side of the formation. Sherman brushed off a question about his career-low two interceptions in 2015.

"I don't think anyone in the league has more (interceptions) than me since I came in (to the NFL)," Sherman said. "I know, at the end of the day, I'm going to get them."

With original Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner back as a hybrid safety and a healthy Jeremy Lane returning, the Seahawks' back end will remain a force in 2016. Whether or not they are able to surpass the Broncos' secondary for best in the NFL, we'll find out later this fall.

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