It's a new season, but the Seattle Seahawks' winning formula remains the same: A smothering defense leading an offense that does just enough.
Through two games, the Seahawks allowed just two touchdowns -- with one of those coming after its offense turned the ball over on the 6-yard-line -- while the offense has scored just 21 total points. In Sunday's 12-9 victory, Seattle's D kept the 49ers out of the end zone long enough for Russell Wilson to make his magic.
It's nothing with which Richard Sherman and the defense aren't familiar.
"We've got a lot of highly paid guys on our side of the ball, a lot of guys who played the game at a high level. And there's a certain standard that's expected," Sherman said after the win, via The News Tribune.
With Wilson and the offense taking almost eight quarters to score their first touchdown, averaging 4.2 yards per play (29th in the NFL) and 258.5 total yards per game (26th), Sherman said the Seahawks' defense expects itself to carry the load.
"We expect it from ourselves," Sherman said. "We expect that, regardless of what happens on the other side of the ball.
"At the end of the day, it's really on us."
The offensive/defensive dichotomy in Seattle was cause for offseason controversy, with an ESPN report stating that some members of the defense were miffed at how the offense was treated differently. The report was publicly criticized by players, but you could understand how constantly carrying the offense over the years could weigh on longtime defensive players.
As for this season, the Seahawks' cast of defensive stalwarts runs as deep as any in the NFL -- Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark and newly added Sheldon Richardson.
A group without a glaring weakness understands it must be the rock until the offense gets its legs. It's a burden from which they won't shy away.
"It's not any tougher for us, or anything different we think about," Sherman said. "We think we hold ourselves to a high standard. You've got guys like Mike Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, Kam, K.J., etcetera, etcetera, down the line, Earl, myself, rookies playing lights-out football.
"We expect to get stops like that."