2011 Seattle Seahawks Season Review: Fun With Stats

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Runningback Leon Washington #33 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with after Zach Miller #86 and Paul McQuistan #67 after scoring on a 48 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Let's take a minute to look at some stats that Chad Davis of DraftBreakdown collected from the NFLGSIS in lieu of his normal formations tracking for each week, and ponder what they may mean. As a precursor, and I'm sure we'll get to this a lot during the offseason, the more I think back on the season and take a look at some of the statistics accumulated, the more it becomes apparent that the Seahawks' offense was really... marginal. Football Outsiders had the Seahawks ranked 22nd in offensive DVOA, one spot above Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos and below teams like the Matt Moore led Miami Dolphins, the Mark Sanchez-led Jets, the Redskins, Oakland, Buffalo, and Matt Hasselbeck's Titans.

Even their weighted offensive DVOA, which takes into account the play of the team later in the year, over the early struggles, the Hawks only finished 19th in DVOA, still behind Rex Grossman's Redskins, Carson Palmer's Raiders, and Andy Dalton's Bengals.

Now, I know that the offense did see some improvement over last year and the offensive line woes improved as the year went on and the future may seem bright, but the bottom line is that the on-field product from this season surely left something to be desired.

I realize that this isn't some sort of epiphany or novel concept for you but as the conversation now goes to who plays QB for the Seahawks and which positions the Hawks are 'set' at, remember how bad the offense really was.

OFFENSE

The Seahawks finished 29th in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass attempt at 9.82%. Surely a large part of this was on the offensive line and the Seahawks took an awful lot of sacks in the beginning of the year, but a large part of this statistic also leaves Tavaris Jackson to blame. His pocket presence is bad, simply, and his steadfast unwillingness to thread the needle with the football played a big part as well. He often held on to the ball too long or tried to make a play out of nothing instead of scrambling when he should have. He also was shy about throwing the ball away, instead taking costly sacks and losing a lot of yardage in the meantime.

The Seahawks finished 30th in the NFL in 1st downs per game at 16.6. Probably a large part of this was due to the extremely slow start for the team but even the late-year improvement couldn't push them past 3rd to last in the NFL in an important offensive metric. This is a lack of execution on offense, obviously, - too many three-and-outs, not enough long drives, dropped passes, sacks taken, weird play calling. You name it.

To correlate with that, the Hawks finished 29th in average time of possession at 28:07 per game. Same story. They were 24th in the NFL in 3rd down conversion rate at 33.77%. 28th in goal-to-go conversions at 52.38%. Everyone seems to be excited about the weapons we have on offense and I am too, but looking at these stats is making me depressed. A lot of teams have dangerous weapons, and the Seahawks do too, in theory, but they didn't do a whole hell of a lot with those weapons.

Let's switch it up.

On 1st down Seattle ran 242 times for an avg. gain of 3.26 yards.
On 1st down Seattle passed 223 times for an avg. gain of 6.78 yards.

Interesting balance on first down. Something that I like.

On 2nd down Seattle ran 148 times for an avg. gain of 3.93 yards.
On 2nd down Seattle passed 203 times for an avg. gain of 5.14.

On 3rd down Seattle ran 38 times for an avg. gain of 4.05 yards.
On 3rd down Seattle passed 184 times for an avg. gain of 6.37 yards.

This seems to tell me that the Seahawks had a lot of 3rd and long situations. Makes sense, considering the awful rushing attack through the first half of the season.

On 3rd down and 2 or less yards to go, Seattle ran 14 times for 8 first downs and passed 24 times for 12 first downs.

This is partly that 'cute play calling' factor that we saw a lot of this season, I think. In third and short situations, the Seahawks passed 24 times and ran 14. I'm sure in the 2nd half of the season it would probably be tilted the other direction, as it should, and this goes to the ineffective rushing attack in the first half of the year, but still, that's a strange and annoying statistic.

Seattle ran over the left tackle 118 times (most in the NFL) for an avg. gain of 4.57 yards (16th).

They trust Russell Okung.

Seattle ran over the right tackle 90 times (2nd in the NFL) for an avg. gain of 4.79 yards (15th).

Interesting. James Carpenter/Breno Giacomini held their own.

Seattle threw 212 passes to the short right (6th most in the NFL) and completed 66.04% (13th). They threw 127 times to the short left (27th in NFL), completing 70% (9th).

Seattle threw 45 passes to the deep right (5th most in the NFL) and completed 31.11% (25th). They threw 31 to the deep left (24th most) and completed 41.94% (14th).

Seattle threw 28 passes to the deep middle (15th most in the NFL) and completed 21.43% (32nd). They threw 64 to the short middle (30th in the NFL) and completed 57% (28th in the NFL).

So what does this tell us? In general, Tarvaris Jackson really likes to throw it to his right. He's pretty accurate in the short range, his accuracy falls off on deep passes, and he's pretty bad throwing over the middle of the field. In fact, Tarvaris Jackson (the Seahawks, technically) were the worst in the NFL in deep-middle throws, percentage-completed wise, and near that in short throws down the middle as well. This is probably part of the reason Zach Miller was a non-factor in the passing offense down the seam.

Enough of that. Moving on to the defense....

DEFENSE

The Seahawks defense is more fun to write about. They finished 10th in the NFL in Football Outsiders DVOA this year, both in weighted and non-weighted, meaning they were pretty consistently good the whole season. Interestingly, their pass defense actually ranked 9th at the end of the season in DVOA, better than their 11th ranked run defense, and that's a huge tribute to Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor, and especially (and particularly) Earl Thomas.

Let's look a a few more of the NFLGSIS numbers.

The Seahawks finished 7th in the NFL in yards allowed per play at 5.07. Not shabby. They were 3rd in the NFL in interception rate at 4.05%. Not surprising - Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman proved themselves pretty adept as playmakers.

The Hawks finished 2nd in goal-to-go conversions allowed at 48%. Credit due to the Seahawks gigantic run stuffing agents named Brandon Mebane, Alan Branch, and Red Bryant. Honorable mention to Clinton McDonald.

Seattle finished 9th in the NFL in third down conversions against at 34.84%, and you have to think this is related to two things - 1) the Seahawks ability to stop the run on first and second down and force the opposition into longer third down situations probably helped in this area, and 2) of course the above mentioned ballhawks most likely played a part as well. I'm sure that's way over simplified, but so is most statistical analysis.

23rd in sacks per pass attempt at 6.08%. I'm actually surprised it's not lower... so... good?

30th in 4th down conversions allowed at 63.64%. I dunno. Bad luck?

76 rush attempt against Seattle went up the middle for an avg. gain of 2.83 yards (1st in the NFL). Absolutely not surprising, considering our defensive line.

71 rush attempts against Seattle went to the left end for an avg. gain of 4.89 yards (8th in the NFL) and 55 rush attempts against Seattle went to the right end for an avg. gain of 5.35 yards (24th in the NFL). There is probably some Red Bryant / Chris Clemons commentary in there somewhere but neither player lines up on one side or the other the whole game, instead shifting based on the offensive strength, so I don't know what to tell you on this one.

Teams attempted 17 passes to the deep middle against Seattle (4th fewest in the league) and completed 47.06% (17th). Average gain only 10.59 yards, 5th lowest in the NFL. Earl Thomas is good.

Teams attempted 56 passes to the deep right against Seattle (2nd most in the league) and completed 30.36% (7th least). A testament to Richard Sherman and Marcus Trufant.

Teams attempted 43 passes to the deep left against Seattle (9th most in the league) and completed 37.21% (13th). Brandon Browner actually did a decent job considering how often he was targeted.

Teams completed 70.79% of their passes to the short middle against Seattle (4th highest in the NFL). Linebacker speed fail.

PENALTIES

Seattle committed 167 penalties on the season for 1047 yards and 159 nullified yards.
Seattle allowed 40 1st downs via penalty.
41 drives on the season were classified as "stalled" after a penalty.
Most common penalties: 38 false starts, 27 offensive holdings, 11 unnecessary roughness, 10 defensive pass interference, and 9 defensive offsides.
Brandon Browner committed 19 penalties for 150 yards and 14 first downs.
Richard Sherman committed 10 penalties for 69 yards and 7 first downs.
Max Unger committed only 2 penalties all season (both false starts).

I'm just going to let Matt explore these in his penalties study.

RANDOM FACTS

Just Forsett played in his 59th consecutive game when he played versus Arizona, 4th most among active running backs.
Chris Clemons played in his 80th consecutive game when he played versus Arizona, 2nd most among active defensive ends.
Seattle challenged 9 plays on the season, and had 5 overturned

That's what I got for right now, make sure you tell me what I misinterpreted, but in a nice way. Again, big thanks to Chad Davis for compiling these stats!

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