Explosive Season-in-Review: The Seattle Seahawks

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

While the 2013 regular season is over, your Seattle Seahawks are still playing. However, their hard-earned playoff bye gives us an opportunity to review their season from an explosive perspective.

By just about any measure, this season's iteration of the Seattle Seahawks is very, very good. They are the first team in over 15 years to finish consecutive seasons as the NFL's best team per DVOA. They finished this season with a higher DVOA (40.1%) than last year (38.7%). Their 2013 DVOA also lands them as the fifth-best team since 1991 (the 2012 unit is seventh-best).

That ain't too shabby, son.

And oh, that defense. The Seattle defense, which fields the aptly-named Legion of Boom finished 2013 as the seventh-best defensive unit since 1991 with a -25.8% DVOA. They led the NFL in the following defensive categories: total yardage allowed, total passing yardage allowed, takeaways, opponent scoring efficiency percentage, interceptions and interception rate, scoring defense, touchdowns allowed, and yardage-after-catch allowed. There are plenty more but this gives you the general picture.

In short, them boys (offense and defense) be good.

Avid readers of this space know both the power of the explosive play and the Seahawks' commitment to it. As part of his football philosophy, Pete Carroll asks that his offense creates explosive plays and his defense prevents them. Let's look at how the Seahawks fared in living up to the explosive side of Carroll's philosophy, as well as the individual players who made explosive contributions.

The Seattle Seahawks Offense

Week

Opponent

Ex. Run

Ex. Pass

Total

1

at CAR

2

7

9

2

vs. SF

4

3

7

3

vs. JAX

1

9

10

4

at HOU

5

2

7

5

at IND

6

5

11

6

vs. TEN

5

4

9

7

at ARZ

2

7

9

8

at STL

1

2

3

9

vs. TB

7

7

14

10

at ATL

5

7

12

11

vs. MIN

3

6

9

12

BYE

13

vs. NOR

3

6

9

14

at SF

0

4

4

15

at NYG

1

4

5

16

vs. ARZ

3

2

5

17

vs. STL

1

2

3

Season Totals

49

77

126

Avg. per game

3.06

4.81

7.88

In looking at the table above, Seattle averaged a hair over 3 big run plays and almost 5 big pass plays per game in 2013. That adds up to about 8 big plays per game on offense. Those are respectable totals, though they could have ended on a much higher note if it weren't for the offense's performances over the final quarter of the season. After averaging 9 big plays per game through 12 games and only making fewer than 7 big plays once, Seattle's offense went out and made four, five, five and three big plays in their final four games. So while the Seahawks finished with a very respectable number of big plays, just think what might have been. Just don't dwell too much on it.

2013 NFL Rankings

Total Explosive Plays: Tied with Washington for 6th

Explosive Passes: Tied with Indianapolis for 18th

Explosive Runs: Tied with Kansas City for 3rd

Player

Passing

Rushing

Receiving

Plays

Yards

TDs

Y/PA

Plays

Yards

Y/C

TDs

Plays

Yards

TDs

Russell Wilson

74

2008

10

27.1

15

258

17.2

0

Tarvaris Jackson

3

93

1

31

Marshawn Lynch

27

484

17.93

1

5

166

0

Robert Turbin

5

65

13

0

2

35

0

Golden Tate

1

20

20

0

21

577

2

Christine Michael

1

13

13

0

Doug Baldwin

17

500

2

Jermaine Kearse

10

251

4

Luke Willson

6

162

1

Sidney Rice

6

138

2

Zach Miller

5

151

0

Ricardo Lockette

2

60

0

Kellen Davis

1

23

0

Michael Robinson

1

21

0

Percy Harvin

1

17

0

The above chart highlights each Seahawk player with at least one explosive play this season. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin both have the lion's share of explosive catches from Russell Wilson; nearly half (49.4%) of Russell's big passing plays went to either Tate or Baldwin. Marshawn Lynch led the way for the Seattle running game with 27 big runs this season. That equates to 55.1% of all of Seattle's big running plays.

2013 NFL Rankings

Explosive Passes: Russell Wilson tied with Andrew Luck (IND) for 11th

Explosive Rushes: Marshawn Lynch ranked 4th

Explosive Receptions: Golden Tate tied with 6 other receivers for 22nd

The Seattle Seahawks Defense

Week

Opponent

Ex. Run Alwd

Ex. Pass Alwd

Total

1

at CAR

2

1

3

2

vs. SF

4

2

6

3

vs. JAX

0

4

4

4

at HOU

4

9

13

5

at IND

2

4

6

6

vs. TEN

0

2

2

7

at ARZ

0

3

3

8

at STL

6

5

11

9

vs. TB

4

3

7

10

at ATL

1

2

3

11

vs. MIN

3

4

7

12

BYE

13

vs. NOR

1

2

3

14

at SF

2

4

6

15

at NYG

0

2

2

16

vs. ARZ

1

4

5

17

vs. STL

0

1

1

Season Totals

30

52

82

Avg. per game

1.88

3.25

5.13

This is where the numbers get juicy. In addition to the many categories I listed above, the Seattle Seahawks also led the league (along with Cincinnati) in total explosive plays allowed. Seattle only allowed a little more than 5 big plays per game, with about 2 of those being big runs and only about 3 of those being big passes.

Seattle had the best explosive pass defense in the league and it wasn't even close. The next best explosive pass defense, Cincinnati, still allowed 9 more big pass plays than Seattle. While Seattle wasn't as stout defending against big running plays, they still allowed under the league average of 32.94 total explosive runs.

2013 NFL Rankings

Total Explosive Plays Allowed: Tied with Cincinnati for 1st

Explosive Passes Allowed: Ranked 1st

Explosive Rushes Allowed: Ranked 14th

According to Pete Carroll and his staff, when a team holds its opponents to 3 or fewer big plays in a game (historically), they give up an average of 8 points in those games. The 2013 Seattle Seahawks weren't very far off from these numbers. Seattle allowed 3 or fewer big plays a total of 7 times this season: 3 at Carolina, 2 vs. Tennessee, 3 at Arizona, 3 at Atlanta, 3 vs. New Orleans, 2 at New York and only 1 vs. St. Louis. Points allowed in those games: 7, 13, 22, 10, 7, 0 and 9. That averages out to slightly more than 9 points per game allowed.

If you're still uncertain that Pete Carroll and his staff know what they're doing by now, then it seems the only thing you'll be convinced by is seeing Wilson and Carroll hoist the Lombardi Trophy four weeks from now. When on its game, this Seattle offense is explosive and dangerous. On defense, they're physical, stifling and will slowly but surely choke the life out of you. And with the sound and the fury of 68,000 12th men and women behind them, it may take an act of divine intervention (or just Jeff Triplett) to keep the Seattle Seahawks from going to New Jersey on February 2nd.

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