Sometimes Google's ruthless algorithm finds truth without trying:
Tatupu's prediction was preposterous from the start. Shutouts just don't happen much anymore. The top three scoring defenses in the NFL, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Baltimore, combined for just one shutout all season. The 2002 Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Bucs recorded just two. The 2000 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens recorded just four. For Seattle to force five shutouts, it would have to be among the best defenses in the history of the NFL. It would have to turn opponent offenses into the expansion, 0-14, 1976 Buccaneers.
Seattle didn't just defy Tatupu's pie-eyed prediction, it sliced open its own stomach and strangled Tatupu with its intestines.
So how'd it go down? We'll talk about this extensively starting next week, but here's a quick top ten list.
10. Kelly Jennings regresses.
9. Rocky Bernard regresses.
8. Brian Russell regresses.
7. Leroy Hill regresses in coverage.
6. Marcus Trufant, Patrick Kerney and Tatupu are hobbled by injuries.
5. Kerney placed on IR.
4. Lawrence Jackson starts over Darryl Tapp.
3. Stultifying seven man blitzes on third and long.
1. Seattle's defense wasn't that good to begin with.
Each examined in its time, but for now, let's consider the Seahawks defense in 2007. Its VOA was -12.4%, second in the league. It's weighted DVOA was -7.0%, fifth in the league. But its total DVOA was just 5.5%, 11th in the league. Its variance was very high, 10.4%, 27th in the league. Most importantly, in 2007, the Seattle Seahawks' average opponent had a -5.5% offensive DVOA, last in the league. Three of those opponents, Carolina, Philadelphia and Baltimore, started second or third string quarterbacks. An important even crippling substitution DVOA doesn't fully account for. Seattle's best defensive player, Kerney, turned 31 December 30th. His 2007 defied the typical age curve for defensive ends. His 2008 did not. Seattle's defense was young and promising, but, in retrospect, never capable of taking the leap I and so many other Seahawks fans expected it to. Instead, it collapsed.
And Tatupu's shutouts turned into OK Corral like shootouts; Seattle shot to shit like Billy Clanton.