Why the Seahawks Offense Fails, the Deep Passing Attack: Part 2

Stoutly built Golden Tate is one of Seattle's best deep threats. Targets to Tate have proven as ineffective as targets to every other Seahawks receiver.

The next thing I asked myself was, is the Seahawks poor deep passing attack a function of a poor overall passing offense, or is it particularly bad? To attempt an answer, I broke out the five passing offenses that compare most closely to Seattle in adjusted net yards per attempt: Buffalo, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Minnesota and Chicago.

How do those five teams compare to Seattle at passing the ball deep?

Bills:

Overall adjusted net yards per attempt: 4.5

Completion percentage: 34.8%

TDs: 6

Interceptions: 4

Adjusted yards per attempt: 7.3

Jaguars:

Overall adjusted net yards per attempt: 4.5

Completion percentage: 55.1%

TDs: 3

Interceptions: 3

Adjusted yards per attempt: 11.6

Rams

Overall adjusted net yards per attempt: 4.3

Completion percentage: 28.1%

Touchdowns: 1

Interceptions: 4

Adjusted yards per attempt: 2.7

Vikings

Overall adjusted net yards per attempt: 4.2

Completion percentage: 43.5%

Touchdowns: 2

Interceptions: 2

Adjusted yards per attempt: 10.0

Bears

Overall adjusted net yards per attempt: 3.8

Touchdowns: 1

Interceptions: 6

Adjusted net yards per attempt: 6.8

(For point of reference, noodle-armed Todd Collins had five deep pass attempts, completed one for 19 yards, threw another incomplete, and threw three interceptions.)

There doesn't seem to be a clear trend, which isn't too surprising when dealing with small samples. The only team in the ballpark with Seattle is St. Louis, and St. Louis starts a rookie quarterback and doesn't have a ton of receiving talent.

It would be tough to do a noodle arm-strong arm breakout, because that's rather subjective. For instance, where do we put Brett Favre? He once had a terrific arm and deep ball. Does he still? It's declined for sure, but if I had to split it down the middle, it would be debatable whether to list him as above average or below. Guys like Jay Cutler and Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly belong to the strong arm bunch, but what about Sam Bradford?

Anyway, there also doesn't seem to be a split among superstar rushers. We might expect someone like Steven Jackson to draw safety attention, but the Rams passing offense has not been able to take advantage of it. There is an interesting split among rushing performance. The teams that effectively pass the ball deep, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Buffalo and Chicago, rank 11, 7 and 9 and 18 in rushing yards per attempt. Seattle and St. Louis rank 26 and 27. That might imply that passing the ball down field effectively opens up space to run underneath, but that's hardly conclusive. Just a thought.

It is very clear that Seattle does not pass deep effectively. Its adjusted yards per attempt is dwarfed by four of the five very worst passing offenses in the NFL. When opposing coordinators stuff the line and take away the run and the short passing game, Seattle has no recourse.

Now that we've shored up the hypothesis, that Seattle's offense is powerless against teams that stuff the line, the next step is to examine if that is what the Raiders did. It certainly looked like it, and that impression inspired this series of posts, but I haven't written out play by play formations for the entire game. Will examining this game through the above hypothesis reveal why Oakland was able to run over Seattle's offense?

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