Odds and Ends for Week 16

Brandon Browner has come a long way.  After struggling through the early part of the year, especially in week two versus Pittsburgh when Roethlisberger completed 100% of the passes he threw in his direction, Browner has started to show everyone why he was named to the CFL All-Star team the last three years running:

Week Opponent Passes Def. Int Int Return Yds Return TDs
1 @49ers 0 0
2 @ Steelers 0 0
3 Cardinals 0 0
4 Falcons 0 0
5 @ Giants 3 1 94 1
6 Bye
7 @ Browns 1 0
8 Bengals 0 0
9 @ Cowboys 1 0
10 Ravens 3 0
11 @ Rams 2 0
12 Redskins 3 1 16 0
13 Eagles 3 2 68 0
14 Rams 3 1 0 0
15 @ Bears 1 1 42 1

On the Brock and Salk show yesterday, Pete Carroll was asked if Browner should be in the Pro Bowl this year.  His response?  “He’s playing like it.”  That isn’t just a head coach just talking one of his guys up, either — the stats back him up.  Browner is currently 1st in the NFL in passes defended (26),  4th in interceptions (6, tied with  Dashon Goldson and Carlos Rogers), 1st in total yardage on interception returns (220), and 1st in interceptions returned for TDs (2, tied with Chris Houston and Aqib Talib).  I guess this means he’s not too big and slow to play cornerback effectively at the NFL level after all.

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As Daniel reported earlier, Mike Williams suffered a broken ankle during the win over the Bears and has been placed on injured reserve.   In 2010 when he was leading the team in receptions and receiving yardage, losing him would have sent the front office scrambling to find a new WR to sign, but it’s funny how much difference a year can make.  This season, his loss only resulted in the team to signing a free agent CB (Phillip Adams) to bolster the special teams unit in case Kennard Cox is unable to play this week.

Williams’ drop-off in production this year has been mainly due to factors that have nothing to do with his play, chief among them being his lack of rapport with QB Tarvaris Jackson earlier in the season and the emergence of other receiving options like Doug Baldwin.  But whatever the reason, Williams ranks just 5th in receiving yards and is tied with RB Justin Forsett for 7th in receptions. There’s no question that he’s a talented wideout, and I believe the offense is better with him than without, but he is not irreplaceable.

Top Ten Seahawks, Receptions & Receiving Yds:  

Player Rec. Player Rec. Yds
Doug Baldwin 46 D. Baldwin 731
Sidney Rice (IR) 32 S. Rice (IR) 484
Ben Obomanu 32 B. Obomanu 379
Golden Tate 27 G. Tate 320
Zach Miller 24 M. Williams (IR)  236
Marshawn Lynch 24 Z. Miller 224
Mike Williams (IR) 18 M. Lynch 183
Justin Forsett 18 A. McCoy 146
Anthony McCoy 13 J. Forsett 112
Michael Robinson 9 M. Robinson 74

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The offensive line has been plagued by injuries for so many years in a row now that it feels like it’s almost become a tradition for the Seahawks to lose most of their starting o-linemen by season’s end.   Thankfully, the run game hasn’t followed a similar decline this year.  Here’s how the offense has fared running the ball in 2011 compared to previous seasons (including the gold standard, the championship-caliber 2005 team):

Year # of Diff.
Rush Yds/Att Rush Power RP
Left Side 
Right Side 
2011 8 3.8 (29th) 76% (1st) 70% (9th) 89% (4th) 67% (9th)
2010 9 3.7 (30th) 48% (29th) 35% (31st) 54% (29th) 57% (20th)
2009 10 4.0 (27th) 56% (29th) 50% (28th) 56% (24th) 58% (20th)
2008 10 4.2 (14th) 76% (4th)
2007 6 3.8 (22nd) 52% (27th)
2006 8 4.0 (16th) 70% (10th)
2005 6 4.7 (2nd) 81% (1st)

For those of you not familiar with it, the rush power stat just shows the percentage of short yardage run plays (i.e. two or less yards) the team ran on 3rd and 4th down that resulted in either a first down conversion or a touchdown (short yardage runs in 1st-and-goal and 2nd-and-goal situations are also included).  Unfortunately, the offensive line stats on NFL.com only go back as far as 2009, so for seasons prior to that I had to rely Football Outsiders’ stats, and they only list total RP (they call the stat “Rush Success”) without splitting it up further into runs to the left, right, and center.

And no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  The Seahawks really are ranked 1st in RP this year for the first time since 2005 despite having 17 combined starts by backup linemen; by comparison, the ’05 squad had just one backup start a single game.  If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.