1. "Can you win the division in the first half?"
The Seahawks have tried their best to do exactly that. A 7-1 first-half record, which includes a flawless 3-0 division mark, has put plenty of distance between them and the so-called competition.
But the historical truth is, the CarrollHawks are a second-half team. This is not new news. Still, it hasn't been discussed much this week, even though we are smack dab in the middle of the season's second half. On with it!
First, wins by season:
2010: 4-4 start, 3-5 second half including 2-1 vs. NFCW
2011: 2-6 start, 5-3 second half including 2-2 vs. NFCW
2012: 4-4 start, 7-1 second half including 3-0 vs. NFCW
2013: 7-1 start, 4-0 second half, division games TBA.
Total: .531 in the first half, .678 in the second half including .700 vs. NFCW
That information fits nicely with the domination we've come to expect from Seattle over its foes within games as well. Looking up the total game score by halves since 2010 gives us confirmation:
First half: Seattle 633, Opponents 641.
Second half: Seattle 747, Opponents 502.
Only the 2012 team bucked the trend, as it was +85 in the first half and +82 in the second. Until the playoffs, when, as you may recall, we were treated to this:
First half: Seattle 13, Opponents 37
Second half: Seattle 39, Opponents 10
When the game reaches the second half, when the division race reaches the second half, when the season reaches the second half, that's when the Seahawks are usually better than before. I'm not sure what to make of it, as there are undoubtedly a dozen good reasons for the phenomenon. But it's real.
2. Colin Versus The Volcano
(Quick reading comprehension tip: In this cheap underdeveloped metaphor, Seattle is the Volcano.)
Colin Kaepernick has been under higher scrutiny and criticism this season as his statistical performance has failed to match last year's. But how much worse has he really been?
Kap vs. league, 2012, minus the Hawks game: 105 rating, 7 yards per rush, more than 8 Y/A.
Kap vs. league, 2013, minus the Hawks game: 95 rating, 5 yards per rush, more than 8 Y/A.
When he's not playing the Seahawks, Colin Kaepernick is a bright star. In fact, last season he was 1998 Randall Cunningham with better legs: swift, elusive, savvy. This season he's a little better than 1996 John Elway. That's all. Those guys are his company. Just them. No biggie.
So it's not surprising that his team wins so often. In games started by Colin against everyone besides Seattle, the Niners are 13-4.
Ah, but turns out the Seahawks are on the schedule.
Kaep vs. Seattle, career: he's no longer Cunningham or Elway. He's... Dan McGwire. Of all people. And it's uncanny.
Seahawk'd Kaepernick: 50 percent completion, 1/4 TD/INT, 3.30 AY/A, 47.1 rating
"I'm not Mark" McGwire: 50 percent completion, 2/6 TD/INT, 3.50 AY/A, 52.3 rating
Of course, Biceps With Benefits has only faced the Hawks at the CLink. (Last time the teams met in SF, Alex Smith was quarterbacking the Niners!) It wouldn't be a shocker if Kaep finally solves the Seattle D in a friendlier environment. Home field matters. What would be more meaningful, in the long term, is if he got buried for a third time in the lava-ing arms of Thomas, Sherman and friends.
3. Flirting with .600 and GOATs
Before the 2013 season, the list of most successful Seahawks coaches looked like this:
Chuck Knox 80-63 .559
Mike Holmgren 86-74 .538
Pete Carroll 25-23 .521
Those are regular-season W-L records. After Monday night's victory, Carroll sits atop that list at 36-24, having just now reached a .600 winning percentage with the Hawks.
It's no longer a stretch to call Pete the Greatest Of All Time in Seahawks coaching history. You can debate how much longevity should count, and talk about deep playoff runs as a factor. You can wait until he wins a conference championship or a Lombardi before you rank him above Knox or The Big Show. But also consider this list:
That's playoff wins. Should this version of the Hawks notch a couple more postseason victories, there will be virtually no denying that Carroll is the most successful head coach to walk the Seattle sideline. Just like we all thought would happen when he replaced Jim Mora, right? Right? Riiiiight.