Seahawks Advanced Stats, Week 9: Defense, numero uno

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Hola! Happy Holaween! Here's a Spanish-themed article on Samhain, sorry for any confusion.

If you know me by now, you will always always always know me. Oooh ooh ooh ooooh. Also, you'll know that I'm quite the cinephile. I started watching movies from a very young age (the first movie I remember watching is Die Hard, not Watership Down or anything like that) and more to the point, I've been an avid fan of horror films since way before I should have been watching horror films.

When I was a kid I would always beg my mom to take me to Blockbuster Video and after she inevitably gave in (because I was an annoying little prick when I wanted to be) I would shoot straight for the horror section. I'd see everything I ever possibly could and I'd watch it over and over again. I've probably seen Sleepaway Camp II more than most people have seen Godfather part II, and I don't even think that Sleepaway Camp II is a great movie.

Before I became a part of any comment sections on SBNation, I spent about a year and a half on the Imdb.com horror message board for eight hours per day. When we had the October Horror Movie Challenge, to watch 31 horror movies in 31 days, I finished that task by about the 11th of October. I tried to watch every horror movie ever made and I think I came as close as any "normal" person ever should.

So you can understand why Halloween is such a special day for me and it's just so special that I can post my Advanced Stats article for the Seahawks, my favorite team, on my favorite day. Finally a Halloween-themed Seahawks article!

And then it might also be that when I started to write this article I might have forgotten that Halloween was coming up and instead when I thought of the headline "numero uno" I decided to go with a Spanglish-themed article and by the time I realized my error I was in too deep.

Whoops there it is.

I took two years of Spanish in high school, I live in Los Angeles, I have a sister that majored in Spanish at the University of Washington, but do I know Spanish? Not really. I made my best effort below to mix it up a little bit.

Your desire to correct my Spanish, if you know me, is silly.

With no more adue, here is this weeks update on the Advanced Stats for Seattle and the rest of the league.

Los Seahawks y Las Ramas, Probability Chart de Victorio

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Pro-Football-Referencio starts off the Seahawks at nearly 80% favorites to win this game in St. Louis, but by the end, that was nearly shot to hell. Seattle remained comfortable favorites until some 80-yard touchdown to Golden Tate (? Don't remember this happening.) dropped the hammer to the tune of +20.2% and the Seahawks were at 92% late in the third quarter.

Until a 10-yard run by Rams running back Daryl Richardson gave St. Louis 1st-and-goal from the SEA 6 and they'd have plenty of time to run four (and it turned out to be five) plays to get that six yards. That would be the first and nearly the last time they'd be favored in this game. And then...

Play Grandioso!

There were several big plays in this game, including Tate's touchdown and Richardson's run to setup the Rams for failure, but none was bigger than... the second-to-last. It's 3rd-and-goal from the one and Richardson goes nowhere. Heath Farwell's (yep) tackle of Richardson technically made him one of the most valuable players of the entire game. It was Farwell's only tackle of the entire contest, but it dropped St. Louis's chances by 40% and effectively put them up creek de los poop.

"Muy Fabuloso" y "Mucho Stupido" de la Semana!

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As I said, Farwell's tackle was a very valuable play. However, it's not like I think we're going to make Farwell "Muy Fabuloso!" based on one play when others were in there for the whole game. Good job, Heath! Moving on.

Tate El Dorado was practically a one-man show on offense. Outside of his most famous snatch-grab-and-run since Top Pot Donuts, El Dorado was targeted almost as much as the rest of the team combined, caught both touchdowns, and stepped up with his teammates either getting hurt or being unproductive. Wilson was under duress all game long and it was Tate that he kept finding over and over again. That's meaningful.

The Bruce Irvin breakout tour continues. A lot of players of Bruce's ilk don't take meaningful steps forward until the second or third years of their career. Don't forget that Aldon Smith wasn't a stud rookie; He had 14 sacks but played sparingly and was a liability in other areas. He moved around and advanced in year two and became a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2012. Is Irvin moving up to that level?

Maybe. It's only been four games since he returned and he's adjusting to a new position. If he can already be playing at this level after four games, that's muy bruceirvien. It sort of reminds me of how certain defenses can add players like Irvin and help turn them into stars because they don't have to worry about costing the team points for making mistakes. They're surrounded by great players, so they can focus on what they're told to focus on and not worry about the rest.

Think about Terrell Suggs beginnings in Baltimore, Lance Briggs in Chicago.

I think Irvin could definitely be heading down that path. And he wouldn't be there if it weren't for this other guy.

"Muy Fabuloso! de Semana!" - Earl Thomas

Irvin credited "Me Llamo Earl" for putting him in the right position to get his interception on Monday against the Rams. Were it not for Thomas, that play never happens. The same can be said for Richard Sherman's game-tying pick six against Houston, giving credit to Earl for setting that play up.

So why don't we talk about him more often? By nature.

Most defensive positions feature a lot of one-on-one matchups: Corner vs Receiver, Defensive End vs Tackle or Quarterback, Linebacker vs Running Back or Quarterback. When they win those battles, with a sack or a fumble or a pass deflection, or an interception, it's obvious and notable. There's a celebration.

Safeties rarely have that luxury. Their job is to be felt, not seen or heard. Thomas is the on-field defensive coordinator. He helped Gus Bradley get a head coaching job for the Jaguars, one might wonder what Bradley would do to bring him to Jacksonville -- and how much one player could really turn around that team in the way that he's done in Seattle.

Thomas, on pace picante for 104 solo tackles, eight interceptions, 12 pass deflections, and four forced fumbles, is not only Muy Fabuloso! for the Semana, he's the first-half Seahawks Muy Fabuloso on Defense for the whole ano!

"Mucho Stupido! de Semana" - Marshawn Lynch

Modo de la Bestia!!! De la Bestia!! De la Bestia!!

Fine, I'll take the heat on this from your comments. You saw "stupido" and "Marshawn Lynch" in the same line and you're heading straight to the comments to call me an idiot. Well, just give me a break for a second and hear me out.

It'll be old hat to call out the offensive line every week and we will likely have to call them out for at least another month. I already said in my recap that Lynch didn't necessarily have a "bad" game, he just had an unproductive game, which happens when you only carry it eight times. The Seahawks offense was so stagnant and they ran so few plays that Lynch never stood a chance.

It was the fewest carries he's had in a game since rushing eight times for 24 yards against the Falcons in the 30-28 loss at home in 2011. The next week he ran for 98 yards, and two weeks later he started a streak of 16 100-yard games over a 25-game stretch. Lynch is fine, but if I have one opportunity to put him on the naughty list, let me do it.

Put mi corazón in a blendora: Inside-Outsiders DVOA Update (DVOO for the masculine phrasing)

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Seattle stays at number two this week but there's a whole half of a season to go. Remember where the Seahawks were at this time last season (4-4) and where they finished (first overall in DVOA!) By my calculations that means that they have plenty of room to still move up and get into negative rankings territory. You know what's better than first in DVOA? A negative billion in DVOA.

What Seattle does take over the top spot of however is the number one defense in the NFL by DVOA. Not the Chiefs, not the Panthers, not the Bengals... in fact, the number two defense in the NFL by DVOA isn't even in the top 10 of overall DVOA. Can you guess what team that is?

If you guess Viva El Birdos, you are correctamundo!

The Arizona Cardinals have the second-best DVOA defense in the NFL but rank 14th overall because they play poorly on offense and average on special teams. Including the Cardinals, the Seahawks have played four teams in the top 14 in DVOA, and went 3-1 in those games. They have games remaining against the 49ers, Cards and Saints, but an otherwise easy remaining schedule.

And two of those games are at our own casa.

Playoff y ¡Super Bowl! Odds

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The news for us last week was that the Seahawks were actually por favored to win the ¡Super Bowl! This time around, they have slipped a bit behind the Broncos again. For what reasons would Seattle fall? I guess it does have something to do with a near-loss to a team ranked 26th in DVOA.

Less not forget that Denver also lost to the Colts (and way worse than the Seahawks did) and didn't play that well against the Jaguars and nearly lost to the Cowboys and were down 21-7 to the Redskins. Or that the Broncos are in second place and the Seahawks are in first.

Halfway into the season, Denver is the number five seed in the AFC.

Now, we all agree that we think that the Chiefs will give up that spot to Denver and probably the Broncos will be the number one seed in the AFC, but most people (other than senor numero one Kenneth Arturo) didn't expect Kansas City to be ahead of the Broncos eight games into the year.

In other news, my AFC ¡Super Bowl! pick, the Bengals, is now the third-most likely team to win the ¡Super Bowl!

Numeros de la Semana!

I see a lot of talk around here about how the Seahawks "need" to win 14 or 15 games to stand any chance (seriously) and that got me thinking about teams that have won 14 or more games. I could find 25 such instances of a team winning 14 or more games since the 16-game season was instituted and here are some of my findings:

- The Steelers were the first to do it, going 14-2 in 1978 and winning the ¡Super Bowl!

- Each of the first five teams to do it, going from the '78 Steelers to the '85 Bears, made the ¡Super Bowl! and three of them won it.

- Between 1986 and 1992, six more teams accomplished the feat, and three of them ('86 Giants, '89 49ers, '91 Redskins) won the ¡Super Bowl! The other three did not make the ¡Super Bowl!

- It didn't happen again until 1998 and that's when the Vikings, Falcons, and Broncos all won 14 or more games. The Falcons beat the Vikings in the playoffs and then the Broncos beat the Falcons in the ¡Super Bowl!

- Then it was the '99 Jaguars, the '01 Rams, and the '03 and '04 Patriots. The latter two teams won the ¡Super Bowl! Also in 2004, the Patriots beat the 15-1 Steelers.

- Okay, that was all sort of setup to this because there was the first 27 years where we had dominating regular season teams go on to win the ¡Super Bowl! and then there's present reality...

- The last six teams to win 14+ games have not won the ¡Super Bowl! only two of those teams (the '07 Patriots and the '09 Colts) actually made it that far. The ''05 Colts, '06 Chargers, '10 Patriots, and '11 Packers all got knocked out before the big game. (Even I got tired of writing ¡Super Bowl!)

Does winning matter? Yes.

Does winning the ¡Super Bowl! matter more than in the regular season? Yes.

Does winning the most games in the regular season give you a higher probability of winning it all? Not lately.

It's also important to note that the '04 Steelers won the '05 championship. The '05 Colts won the '06 championship. The '11 Packers won the '10 championship. Teams that have won this many games are generally good enough to at least have a five year window of being ¡Super Bowl! capable and that does matter.

But we already know the Seahawks are really, really good. So that's all that matters. I'd rather they go 13-3 and win it all then go 15-1 and fall flat.

Semana Nuevo Hombres muy Malo

Los Buccareenos!!

The Bucs were a team that Football Outsiders (and many others) could defend after an 0-4 start but there's little positive left to say. They've fallen to 27th in DVOA, which some might still say is generous for an 0-7 team, but it seems like the team is also starting to buy into the hype that they are terrible.

After hanging tough in games to start the year, they've lost the last three by 10 or more points, including a 31-13 loss to the Panthers in Week 8.

By DVOA, the Bucs are 30th on offense, 16th on defense, and 16 on teams de muy specialoso. Tampa Bay is ranked 24th against the pass and 3rd against the run and Football Outsiders noted in it's preseason almanac that the Bucs 2012 defense was actually one of the best run defenses they've ever tracked.

You would have thought that adding Darrelle Revis would've changed their overall potency on defense if they could then also become a shutdown pass defense but that hasn't happened. The addition of safety Dashon Goldson hasn't seemed to help much either and Goldson is questionable to play Sunday. Rookie Johnthan Banks hasn't appeared to help either.

Tampa is 29th against number one receivers and 24th against a numero dos.

The offense is equally bad at running and passing the futbol.

Update Numeros de los Russell Wilscorazón, an hombre among little niños

Against the Rams: 10-of-18, 139 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, 7.72 Y/A, -80 DYAR (22nd among QBs in Week 8), three rushes for 16 yards

Hey, no turnovers! The Seahawks didn't turn the ball over in a game for the first time this season. Wilson adds to his touchdown total and not to his interception total, while raising his overall QB rating.

In los Pantheonas of Russell: Wilson has now thrown at least two touchdown passes in exactly half of his 24 career games. The team is 7-1 when Wilson throws at least two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

It was the seventh-highest Adjusted Yards Per Attempt of his career, a stat that accounts for yards, touchdowns, interceptions and on how many attempts. Wilson posted a 9.94 in that area. I point this out mainly because last year at St. Louis, Wilson posted a 1.00 AY/A, the lowest of his career.

Historically: I made a lot of points on Twitter about this the other day, but Wilson is technically off to one of the five greatest starts to a career among any quarterbacks ever. I say "technically" because the game has changed so much in the last 10, 20, 30, 50 years and in so many different ways.

Perhaps none bigger than players starting from day one and also being expected to produce very early on. Not many players before the 2000s were expected to do that and even Dan Marino, the greatest start to a career in history, played in just 11 games as a rookie.

Wilson has posted a QB rating of 99.7 in his young NFL career, one of the best marks ever over a players first two years. He has thrown 39 touchdowns in 24 games.

Marino threw 68 touchdowns over the first 27 games of his career, spanning his first two seasons in the league.

Kurt Warner threw 62 touchdowns with the Rams over the 27 games of his career, though he was almost 30 by then.

In 1946-47, Otto Graham threw 42 touchdowns over the first 28 games of his career, though he was drafted in 1944.

And then.... It's Wilson at 39. In 24 games.

Ben Roethlisberger is probably the best modern-day version of a quarterback to get off to such a good start.

Roethlisberger's first two seasons: 26 G, 364-of-563, 64.65%, 5,006 yards, 34 TD, 20 INT, 98.3 Rating, 8.9 Y/A, 213 rushing yards.

Wilson's first two seasons so far: 24 G, 377-of-598, 63%, 4,746 yards, 39 TD, 14 INT, 99.7 Rating, 7.9 Y/A, 828 rushing yards.

Roethlisberger did win the ¡Super Bowl! in his second season... Ay Dios Mio!!

Also, Andrew Luck has 33 touchdowns and 21 interceptions so far in his career. Robert Griffin has 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his career. Cam Newton had 40 touchdowns and 29 interceptions over the first two seasons of his career.

I'll note that Griffin ran for seven touchdowns as a rookie, none this year. Newton ran for 22 touchdowns over the first two years of his career. Wilson still has four.

But as a passer, there's no competition. Except maybe Dan Marino.

Update de fútbol los.... other equipos! Si!

- In the futbol conference de Americanos, you've really got the five teams at the top, then teams six through 15, then the Jaguars. Really every team is in contention for the second Wild Card besides Jacksonville, and really none of the teams outside of the top five can compete with the top five.

And at the end of the day it really seems like it comes down to Denver, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. Where's New England?

- Wilson is averaging 2.0 yards per attempt more than Tom Brady.

Of course, 29 players have a higher YPA than Brady right now, though Brady is third in the NFL in attempts.

- We now have WEIGHTED DVOA! Basically, Weighted takes the last eight games into account moreso than any of the games prior to those eight games to get a better picture of how good the team is that you are facing now as opposed to the team they were in Week 1.

Why don't get we Weighted DVOA until now? We didn't have eight games yet, knucklehead!

And for that reason, Weighted DVOA isn't really different than DVOA right now.

- In a single game, Calvin Johnson went from 20th in the NFL in receiving yards, to leading second-place AJ Green by nearly 90 yards. And Johnson has played in fewer games than Green.

In other receiver news:

- We thought that Wes Welker's numbers would suffer when he became a "number three" receiver in Denver instead of being "the guy" in New England. He's on pace for 100 catches (2nd in NFL) and 18 touchdowns (already tied his career high with nine.)

- Passing yards are so easy to get this year that Hakeem Nicks is still on pace to top 1,000 at a time when most are still asking "What's wrong with Nicks?" Not that there aren't things wrong with Nicks this year (or the Giants as a whole) but 1,000 yards!

- The Jaguars have two players on pace to go over 1,000 yards receiving.

I think that says it all.

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