I didn't get around to posting the win probability chart from yesterday's game. It was lost in the crush of three hours I'd like to forget. I've learned to weather this team, and what happened yesterday conformed with what I expected to happen if Seattle couldn't run the ball: The Cardinals blitzed through Seattle's passing attack and sat on an insurmountable early lead.
Before that lead was insurmountable, Seattle had one of its annual special teams suicides. If Seattle could have taken the field and scored or kept the game close, maybe it could have slowed the blitz or kept field position square. The turnovers it eventually forced could be relevant and the offense able to capitalize on the good field position. Instead, the Cardinals kicked the ball at a soft spot in Seattle's coverage and executed the kind of special teams coup the Seahawks can only be on one side of. The defense didn't play that poorly and the offense didn't take the field until it was down 14. Like week one of last year, special teams did its best to lose the game by itself.
The swing from that play was 12%. It's the vertical bar I circled. The Cardinals would score three plays later, but that drive and score was worth only 3%. Teams on the 23 tend to score. Teams up by two scores in the first quarter tend to win. Seattle had not only given up a huge chunk of field position, it had given up the almost unthinkable: Its chance at possession.
Seattle did little else following that drive. Its offense was under siege. Its defense winning but already beat. I've run my mouth about Bruce DeHaven before. I do not understand why Seattle continues to employ him. The Seahawks special teams performance against the Bills alone is enough to get many special teams coordinators fired. Tim Ruskell signed one of the great all time kick off men, two great returners and has stacked Seattle's coverage teams with young linebackers, but it can kick but can't cover. It can punt but can't return. It hovers over mediocre, but is often outright bad.
A good team improves anywhere it can. A great team identifies the weaknesses in its strengths. Seattle should and has a successful special teams, but is that because DeHaven or is that despite DeHaven?