Are the Seahawks an Elite Offensive Line?

Well, I think we know the answer to that is no, but the stats to date have not borne out that opinion. Through an eighth of the season, the Seahawks have allowed only two quarterback sacks, one in each game. We’re tied with the Bengals, Chiefs, and 49ers, and trail only the Browns, Cowboys and Patriots. What’s that? Those other teams aren’t elite offensive lines either? Well, true. But here’s where things diverge a bit.

The Seahawks are tied for first in the league for QB Hits — only four — with the Pats and Falcons. I’ve always felt that QB hits is a more interesting statistic than QB sacks. Often, a sack is more representative of a slow-to-decide QB or one who just lacks pocket presence, whereas QB hits demonstrate the effectiveness of the offensive line in stopping defensive penetration (for example, the 49ers have ceded only two sacks, but have allowed 13 hits on Alex Smith).

So, I think we can agree that our pass protection has been good, borderline great. What about the run game?

On a yards per carry basis, we do pretty damn well. At 4.3 yards per carry, we’re ranked 8th in the league. Unfortunately, in total yards we’re only 20th due to the Seahawks only running the ball 43 times in the first two games, good for the fourth fewest carries in the NFL. The Cowboys, Redskins and Cardinals rank below us. One thing we do know is that we were a more effective running team with Stacy Andrews in at right guard last week, and many of the runs came through holes that his massive body helped create through either pure strength or gravitational pull.

All of this without our #6 overall pick at left tackle. Not too shabby. Now, it’s easy to look at last week and observe that we didn’t have a whole lot going up against us as far as pass rush — with no Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos are not an elite pass-rushing team. Still, the 49ers historically have been a solid team, especially in applying hits to QBs. Still, it’s something to be hopeful about in the aftermath of a pretty bad defeat. If your offensive line can keep you in the game, the rest of the pieces have a lot more time and health to get you wins.