Like many of you, I am shocked and happy over the last weekend. Happy because the Hawks won, and shocked also because the Hawks won. If anything showed during Sunday's win against Arizona is the the Seahawks can win the division, but barely. We have only played one full game effectively on the 3 sides of the ball against Chicago while we were bailed out from our 3 wins with special teams, defense, home-field advantage our just plain sucking from their offense (I'm looking at you Alex Smith).
Which brings us to next weeks opponent, the Oakland Raiders.
Now, if you were in NFL land last weekend as I was, you would be shocked to see Oakland scoring 59 whooping points against a pretty good Denver team that routed us in week 2. 59 points, and mind you, not like a breakout from a catastrophic injury or some miracle: total domination from the Raiders within the first few minutes of the game. Jason Campbell, once benched in week 2 and had a 10.7 rating against the 49ers, threw for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Raiders defense, who had a 6 total takeovers over the course of 6 games, doubled their total in just a day. Oakland led at halftime 38-7. Scary statistics isn't it.
Observant bloggers would instantly list off the numerous mistakes Denver made in the game,but something still doesn't seem right. Oakland Raiders and 59 points? These two words are as similar as Mike Singletary and a good head coach. They just don't add up.
So how did this once pathetic team manage to score so much on a pretty good team like Denver? I tell you how, and for the Seahawks to win this Sunday and continue their dominance over the NFC (West), they will need to stop...
...This guy, Darren McFadden.
Now McFadden has been rapidly shedding his bust label, and for good reason. He's 8th overall in the league with 557 rushing yards. He's third for most receiving yards on his team. Whatever McFadden was looked at 2 years ago in the draft is finally breaking out, and the Raiders can't be happy enough to have him.
Let's look at his overall performance as of now:
Week 1 : 18 carries, 95 yards, 6 catches, 55 yards, 1 TD
Week 2: 30 carries, 145 yards, 2 catches, 8 yards
Week 3: 25 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD
Week 4: 12 carries, 47 yards (Injured midway)
Last Week: 16 carries, 165 yards, 3 TD
Again, scary statistics. But like a complex math problem, one must go deeper into this info.
Reading the official stats book found on NFL, I calculated the times the McFadden ran up inside (Lynch) or outside (Forsett). Because there is a limitless number of offensive plays through 7 games, I picked Sunday's and Week 1's to create a mix.
The results were staggering
On week 1, McFadden rushed 18 carries for 95 yards. 12 of those carries were rushed inside for 69 yards. The 6 carries outside resulted in 26 yards.
On week 7, McFadden rushed 16 carries for 165 yards. 6 of those carries were rushed inside for 24 yards. The other 10 resulted in 141 yards.
At least Tom Cable is a bit smarter than his predecessors.
Seattle is currently ranked 2nd in rushing defense, allowing only a average of 77.5 yards a game. Against Arizona though, it looked liked our run defense regressed a little bit. I did the same analysis for McFadden as with Arizona, and last week, the Cardinals had 20 carries for a total of 113 yards. Surprisingly, the 8 outside runs that they made only resulted in 37 yards, while we suffered from 12 inside runs for 76 yards. So seemingly, we seem to be defending their greatest strength well.
With Red Bryant and Chris Clemons at the corners, I'm not really worried that McFadden has the power or speed to get to the outside. More importantly, the Seahawks are the first team in the top 10 in rushing defense to face the Raiders this season, outside of San Diego which they won on special teams.
The Raiders offense is centered on McFadden, and Jason Campbell has not prove that he can win a game (See San Francisco, week 6) without his star running back. If we can stop McFadden, (such as stacking 8 men in the box), then we can stop their overall offense and have a greater chance of winning the game.