Seahawks' 3rd down conversions in the Russell Wilson era

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Some 3rd Down Thoughts:

- Seattle needed every one of their eight (8-for-12, 67%) third down conversions when coming back from the dead to beat Tampa last weekend. When you turn the ball over three times, fail to earn a takeaway, and give up 200 yards rushing - you're going to have to really excel in another key area. This week, their 3rd down work, which was their best of the season, helped pull out the win.

- Seattle jumped up to 37% for the year on third down, good for 19th in the NFL, while prior to the Tampa game they were at 34%, good for 28th in the NFL. Obviously, Seattle was 2-for-11 against St. Louis, which did not help. 

- In 2012, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (see chart) steadily improved on third down if you break up the season into "4 game quarters" - in pretty amazing fashion:

1Q12- 28%
2Q12- 37.5%
3Q12- 44.4%
4Q12- 51.1%

Screen_shot_2013-11-06_at_8

- In simpler terms, the Seahawks were 32.7% on third down in their first 8 games of 2012, and 47.5% on third down in their last 8 games of 2012. They finished the year a respectable 40.2% on 3rd down. League median in 2012 was about 38%.

- The first 8 games of 2013 have gone similarly to the first 8 games of 2012 for Seattle on third down: in 2012 they finished 32.7%, and in 2013 they were at 33.7% for the 8 game period.

Screen_shot_2013-11-06_at_8

- The Seahawks face a remarkably similar number of 3rd downs per game (about 12 to 13 per game), look at these breakdowns in four game clumps

1Q12 - 50
2Q12 - 48
3Q12 - 54
4Q12 - 47
1Q13 - 53
2Q13 - 48

....and against Tampa they faced 12 third downs.

- One game can really bring your average up, so I wanted to break down the Seahawks' third down performance over the last 25 regular season games (the Russell Wilson era) into five buckets

Very Good: 50% or above (6 games)
Good: 42%-50% (2 games)
OK: 38%-42% (4 games)
Not Good: 30%-38% (8 games)
Very Bad: Below 30% (5 games)

- When you look at 2013, Seattle has actually had five performances in the "OK" (JAC, TEN), "Good" (at CAR), and "Very Good" (TBB, at ARI) categories, which is a little surprising.

- The Seahawks have one "Not Good" performance (SF), and they have three of the devastating "Very Bad" variety - at HOU, at IND and at STL.

- Interestingly, four of the five "Very Bad" third down performances happened on the road in the Russell Wilson era: At HOU, at IND, at STL 2013, at STL 2012, with the only home performance of that variety was the 2/11 performance on Monday Night vs the Packers.

- Also, interestingly, four of the six "Very Good" third down performances of the Russell Wilson era (over 50% conversion) happened on the road (at AZ 2013, at MIA, at CHI, at CAR 2012). The two amazing home performances was SF 2012 and the Tampa game on Sunday.

- Of the 14 "middle of the pack" performances (neither over 50%, nor under 30%) nine of them have happened at home.

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Could Seattle be poised for a similar uptick on third down in 2013, as witnessed in 2012? With offensive line help and a favorable home schedule, let's hope so! The Tampa Bay game was a good start to the 2nd half of the year on third downs. 

I will post my thoughts on a few third down plays later in the week with Danny....

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