Swept Under The Turf: Week 15 edition

Andy Lyons

Now with 90 percent less anonymity! (Because Field Gulls GM Danny Kelly has selected me with the final pick of the seventh round, my old username "fiftyone" is retired. My actual factual name takes over. This can only go well?)

Last week's Under The Turf delved into Colin Kaepernick's McGwireness, the Hawks' second-halfiness, and Pete Carroll's greatness. This week, help yourself to three new under-discussed topics: the objective difference between K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith, then a surprising nugget about which Seattle units perform better on the road, before we wrap up with a deeper take on the "Seahawks don't get blown out anymore" storyline.

1. Bruce Al-Wrighty

K. J. Wright possesses some attributes other people just don't have. He's 6-foot-3 with an 81-inch wingspan. Don't be fooled by the uniform. Dude is no hawk. He's a freakin' condor.

He helped make Jimmy Graham irrelevant for 60 minutes.

He's been worth 1.13 WPA already, just on his own. That's tops among Seattle LB's. It's as much as Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan -- combined.

Smith has none of those shiny things on his resume. What he does bring to the table vis-a-vis Wright is an extra helping of Bruce Irvin goodness.

How about a table? Sure.

Dude Def. snaps +EPA +EPA/snap Tackles + assists Sacks
Irvin 375 22.6 .060 36 2
Smith 322 15.2 .047 32 1

(WPA and EPA provided by this page at advancednflstats.com.)

If you're trying to get a good idea of what the Hawks have lost for the remainder of the season, it's easy: You just replaced K.J. Wright with a Bruce Irvin clone. Things could be a hell of a lot worse.

2. Hawks better at home? Just on offense.

Seattle is 6-0 at home and "only" 5-2 on the road. But W-L doesn't tell the whole story, isn't that right Felix? Here are some stats culled from the last eight weeks of professional football events. Got these from pro-football-reference.com's best team page, under the column "expected points." Totaled them all up, and voila:

Location Off Def ST Total Expected Points but wait for it... Def + ST Expected Points
Home 37.68 24.06 -5.66 56.08 ...okay 18.40
Road 11.04 21.55 -3.20 29.39 ...okay 18.35
Whoa HFA! HFA! Studs no matter where

Yep, it's the offense that has the most pronounced home-road split, the offense that appears to benefit the most from playing at the CLink, while the D and ST travel quite well, thank you.

The HFA at the CLink is ridiculous. You want to hold a few playoff games here? Yes, we accept your offer. But should disaster strike in the season's final three games and someone else nabs the NFC's top seed, remember: at least one metric shows us that the Seahawks are, in two phases, just as good on the road as they are at home.

3. The Patriotic Seahawks

Have you heard? The Hawks haven't lost a game by more than one score in the past 25 months. Probably you've heard.

Yeah, on its own, that oft-bandied statement does not remotely qualify for a "swept under the turf" story, right? Everyone mentions it, in every thread, on every show, in every broadcast. Ah, but what usually goes unsaid is this: the rest of the field isn't even close.

Another pretty table!

Since Nov 24, 2011:

Team Number of losses >7 points
Jaguars 20 ...ouch
Raiders 17 ...Raidahs
Jets 15 ...figures
Bills, Bucs, Chiefs, Eagles 14, yep
Lots of teams 7 to 13
49ers, Steelers 6, jerks
Broncos, Ravens 4, still jerks
Patriots 1
Your Seattle Seahawks less than 1

The New York Looming Giants have 10 such losses. The LuckColts and RGSkins have 11 each. The rest of the NFC West has combined for 30.

Basically, when it comes to being in every game with a chance to win, only the Hawks and Pats manage to pull it off every week. The company you keep, I tell ya. (That's a compliment, Tom. Take it.)

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