How the Seahawks Measure Up: Week 4 Edition

The Rams game was a tough one to watch.  Like most of you, I spent a lot of that one pacing back and forth, shouting at the screen.  I swore at the special teams unit for failing to notice Amendola on the fake field goal touchdown, I cursed the day Giacomini was born every time his number left an official’s mouth, and I vented a stream of pure, searing hatred in the general direction of Darrell Bevell.

And really, that’s why I like to look at stats.  I can yell whatever I want during the game, but poring over the numbers afterwards forces me to take a step back and look at the end result from a more objective (or at least less obscenity-laced) viewpoint.  There’s a lot that stats can’t tell us, mind you, but more often than not they point out things that I would have otherwise missed entirely.

This time around, there’s plenty to dislike about the offense’s performance, but the numbers are not as bad as you might think – and believe it or not, in some areas they actually improved.

*        *        *

(Note: For explanations of some of the stats included in this piece, please see the first article in the series.)

Rushing Averages

Game Yds/Att Yds/G Yds/Att
Allowed
Yds/G
Allowed
1 (ARI) 3.48 115 2.15 43
2 (DAL) 4.44 182 3.06 49
3 (GB) 4.38 127 4 84
4 (STL) 5.26 179 2.78 75
Total 4.4
(9th)
150.8
(6th)
2.99
(2nd)
62.75
(2nd)

After giving up 4 yds/att against the Packers, the defense returned to form by shutting down St. Louis’ run game.  By himself, Steven Jackson averaged 3.06 yds/att, so he fared better than the team as a whole, but he was still limited to 55 total yards; including the postseason, this marks the 17th time in 17 career games against the Seahawks that he’s failed to reach 100 yards rushing.  The streak is still alive!

On offense, the Seahawks were even better running the ball than the above stats would have you believe: Lynch ran for 5.9 yds/att on his 18 carries, and Turbin ran for 7.5 yds/att on 6 carries.  Those stats proved to be good enough to keep the team’s average above 5 yds/att even after adding in Washington and Wilson’s 2 yds/att on 8 combined carries.  The o-line may have had problems with their pass blocking throughout the game, but they demolished the Rams with their run blocking.

(To continue reading, please click on “Read More” below.)

Passing Averages

Offense
Game Yds/
Att
Yds/
Cmp
Net
Yds/G
Cmp
%
TD % Int %
1 (ARI) 4.5 8.5 139 52.94% 2.94% 2.94%
2 (DAL) 7.55 10.07 133 75% 5% 0%
3 (GB) 6.19 13 111 47.62% 9.52% 0%
4 (STL) 6.4 9.41 140 68% 0% 12%
Total 5.94
(32nd)
9.9
(29th)
130.75
(32nd)
60%
(21st)
4%
(21st)
4%
(25th)
Defense
1 (ARI) 5.97 10.75 210 55.56% 2.78% 2.78%
2 (DAL) 6.28 10.91 247 57.5% 2.5% 2.5%
3 (GB) 5.72 8.58 184 66.67% 0% 0%
4 (STL) 7.19 13.12 211 54.84% 3.23% 3.23%
Total 6.25
(3rd)
10.6
(6th)
213
(10th)
58.9%
(7th)
2.05%
(4th)
2.05%
(18th)

Consider this the “get angry at the Seahawks” portion of today’s festivities.

Wilson’s 68% completion rate for the game is fantastic, but it’d be a lot better if it wasn’t also coupled with a sub-10 yds/cmp average.  He may not be entirely to blame for his 3 interceptions, but it’s still an unacceptably high number of turnovers for an offense to commit no regardless of who is at fault.

On defense, the TD pass by Hekker skews the stats some (Bradford completed 53.3% of his passes and had TD and INT percentages of 0% and 3.33%, respectively), but not enough to justify the Seahawks giving up more yds/att and yds/cmp against the Rams than they did versus the Packers.

Game Sacks
Allowed
QB Hits
Allowed
Sacks %
Allowed
Sacks +
QB Hit %
Allowed
 Sacks QB Hits Sack % Sacks +
QB Hits % 
1 (ARI) 3 7 8.11% 27.03% 1 5 2.7% 16.22%
2 (DAL) 2 4 9.09% 27.27% 1 6 2.44% 17.07%
3 (GB) 1 3 4.55% 18.18% 8 12 17.02% 42.55%
4 (STL) 2 4 7.41% 22.22% 2 3 6.06% 15.15%
Total 8 (9th) 18 7.41%
(22nd)
24.07% 12
(7th)
23 8%
(5th)
26.4%

Wilson is still being hit far too often, but in the last two games he’s only been hit on roughly one out of every five dropbacks instead of the 1:4 punishment ratio he dealt with in the first two games of the season.  It’s not much, but at this point any progress at all is a good thing.

Unfortunately, that progress doesn’t extend to the defense’s pass rush.  Clearly, the Rams spent some time poring over Green Bay’s protection adjustments from the second half of week 3’s game, because even with two backup tackles they managed to keep Bradford clean and untouched for most of the game.  Two sacks is nice and all, but 3 measly QB hits is pathetic.

Special Teams Averages

Game Kick
Yds/Ret
Punt
Yds/Ret
FG % Punt
Avg
Net Punt
Avg
Kick Yds/Ret
Allowed
Punts Yds/Ret
Allowed
1 (ARI) 44.3 12.5 75% 46.25 37 22 9.3
2 (DAL) 20 7 100% 53.75 53.25 21.8 1
3 (GB) 21 5 - 51.5 49.5 23 4
4 (STL) 69 0.5 100% 49 12 18
Total 37.71 (1st) 7 (26th) 87.5%
(24th)
50.28
(6th)
46.44 20.75 (6th) 6.9 (8th)

This week, the Seahawks continued their trend of being decent returning kickoffs and defending kickoff returns, but less okay in their blocking on punt returns.  They also had an off day on punt coverage, but they did manage to keep Amendola’s 18 yd punt return from turning into a TD and that counts for a lot.

Hauschka’s total field goal average still isn’t great, but that’s only because of the small sample involved.  His only miss of the season was on the blocked kick against Arizona.

Also, it’s pretty damn great to have a punter whose off-day performances are still better on average than the majority of the NFL (the league average is 45.8 yds/punt).

Run-Pass & Turnover Differential

Game R-P TO Result
1 (ARI) +11 0 Loss
2 (DAL) +17 +2 Win
3 (GB) -8 0 Win
4 (STL) +7 -2 L

The law of averages caught up to the Seahawks in this one.  After getting away with a low-probability win against Green Bay, the positive run-pass and negative turnover stats they put up against St. Louis ended in a loss for 57.7% of the teams who finished similarly in 2011.

Toxic Differential

Games Expl. Plays Expl. Plays
Allowed
Expl. Play
Differential
TA TO TO
Diff.
Toxic
Diff.
1 (ARI) 2 6 -4 2 2 0 -4
2 (DAL) 6 6 0 2 0 +2 +2
3 (GB) 4 3 +1 0 0 0 +1
4 (STL) 6 5 +1 1 3 -2 -1
Total 12 13 0 4 2 0 -2

With the first quarter of the season in the books, the Seahawks enjoy a toxic differential of -2.  For 2009, the only season for which I’ve seen toxic differential stats using Billick’s definition for explosive plays (12+ yards for runs, 16+ yards for passes), the differentials for the top five teams ranged from +42 to +33, while the differentials for teams six through ten ranged from +20 to +10.  Nine of those ten teams made the playoffs.

In short, the Seahawks are negative now, but their numbers are not so low that they couldn’t still build up a top ten differential over the next twelve games.

First Down Efficiency

Game 4+ Plays <4 Plays 4+ Plays
Allowed
<4 Plays
Allowed
1 (ARI) 10 (34.48% 19 (65.52%) 7 (26.92%) 19 (73.08%)
2 (DAL) 9 (36.0%) 16 (64.0%) 9 (37.5%) 15 (62.5%)
3 (GB) 14 (70%) 6 (30%) 13 (48.15%) 14 (51.85%)
4 (STL) 19 (67.86%) 9 (32.14%) 11 (44%) 14 (56%)
Total 52 (50.98%) 50 (49.02%) 40 (39.22%) 62 (60.78%)

First off, in the last two games the offense’s performance on first down has been spectacular.  Remember, NFL offenses typically only gain 4+ yards on 40-50% of their first down plays, so St. Louis’ performance against Seattle’s defense falls in the middle of that range.

Game 1st & 2nd
Conv.
3rd & 4th
Conv.
1st & 2nd
Conv.
Allowed
3rd & 4th
Conv. Allowed
1 (ARI) 9 (45.0%) 11 (55.0%) 12 (66.67%) 6 (33.33%)
2 (DAL) 10 (52.63%) 9 (47.37%) 10 (58.82%) 7 (41.18%)
3 (GB) 7 (63.64%) 4 (36.36%) 10 (47.62%) 11 (52.38%)
4 (STL) 17 (85%) 3 (15%) 7 (43.75%) 9 (56.25%)
Total 43 (61.43%) 27 (38.57%) 3 (54.17%) 33 (45.83%)

(Note: Penalties resulting in first downs and all scoring plays are counted here as conversions.)

As you can see, the offense continued its early-down success here by converting as many downs on 1st and 2nd against the Rams as it did in its last two games combined, but there’s something more at work here.  Normally, making more than 65-75% of your conversions on 1st and 2nd down would be a reason to pop some champagne corks, but in this case the percentage is only that high because they were so very atrocious when it came time to convert on third down.  I’ll take a closer look at the Seahawks’ stats on 3rd down next week, but for now I’ll just say that 3 lousy conversions are not going to cut it.

Red Zone Efficiency

Game RZ Trip
w/ Score
RZ Trip
w/o Score
Total
RZ Trips
RZ Trip
w/ Score
Allowed
RZ Trip
w/o Score
Allowed
Total
RZ Trips
Allowed
1 (ARI) 3 (75%) 1 (25%) 4 4 (100%) 0 (0%) 4
2 (DAL) 3 (100%) 0 (0%) 3 0 (0%) 1 (100%) 1
3 (GB) 0 (0%) 1 (100%) 1 2 (100%) 0 (0%) 2
4 (STL) 2 (100%) 0 (0%) 2 2 (100%) 0 (0%) 2
Total 6 (75%) 2 (25%) 10 6 1 9

Once again, the Seahawks’ defense was able to hold the opposing offense to a minimal number of red zone trips, although the howitzer the Rams signed to be their kicker nullified that success somewhat by scoring field goals at extremely long ranges.  Unfortunately, at the same time the Seahawks’ offense was once again mostly unsuccessful at fighting their way into their opponent’s red zone.  That has to change if they’re going to keep pace with the Cardinals and 49ers.

Penalties

Game Off.
Pen.
Def.
Pen.
ST
Pen.
Total
Penalties
1 (ARI) 7 5 1 13
2 (DAL) 5 0 0 5
3 (GB) 7 6 1 14
4 (STL) 3 2 0 5
Total 19 11 2 37 (31st)

As obnoxious as Giacomini’s penalties were in this game (all of the offense’s penalties were his), overall the Seahawks improved significantly in this category.  No delay of game penalties on Wilson, no false starts on Okung, and no pass interference penalties.  Whether the team will be able to keep their play clean for a second week in a row remains to be seen, but for now life is good (except where Breno’s concerned).  And hey, we’re only the second most penalized team in the league now!

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