It's Week 8, Game 7, and the Seahawks aren't getting any.
Sacks, that is.
Stat One: Pressure
One could say they're not getting lucky, not getting home, not reaching the promised land. However one chooses to phrase it, the Hawks need to start gettin some. The sooner, the better.
Look at the last three years.
|Hawks' sacks||36||44||7 (projects to 18)|
It is known that traditional metrics are shallow and devoid of true meaning. It is known. Surely the more advanced metrics, then, will appease us by offering a different opinion. Um, shit, no. Football Outsiders laughs in our direction: 28th in adjusted sack rate at 3.8 percent. Only NO, OAK, DAL, STL are worse.
Well, fine, sacks are not the end-all of pressure, we know that. But they are highly disruptive to a team's offensive schedule, and as such, borderline explosive plays for the defense. Lacking them is only okay if the pass rushers supply hurries. Hurries lead to bad decisions, so if the sacks are absent, let's just pile up the hurries and --
Last season, Seahawks hurried opposing QBs 20 times in 4th quarter. This season it's only happened...ONCE.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) October 22, 2014
|4th quarter sacks||12||1|
|4th quarter hurries||21||1|
(source because numbers are slightly different: Wall Street Journal)
That's all right, s'all right. We still have a deep, deep defensive line, like last year, with a heavy, heavy rotation, like last year. So if the coaches just rotate in some of the more historically productive veterans, everything will surely --
|2013 snaps||% of team snaps||2014 snaps||% of team snaps||Notes|
|Cliff Avril||551||52.8||286||66.3||Projects out to 654 snaps in '14|
|Michael Bennett||600||57.5||322||81.5!||57.5 percent led team last year|
Stat Two, I Guess
The pressure-related underachieving of the defensive line connects us nicely -- nicely and stupidly -- with Stat Two: Overall pass defense.
"Supported" by an unfortunate, unproductive pass rushing effort, it follows that the Legion of Boom is finding itself on the wrong side of the explosions far too often these days.
Don't smile, here comes the saddest chart. (Sources: advancedfootballanalytics.com for the first three, then profootballfocus.com, nfl.com and footballoutsiders.com.)
|Metric||Hawks' 2013 NFL rank||Hawks' 2014 NFL rank||Places dropped|
|Pass success rate %||13th||22nd||9|
|PFF Pass coverage||1st||15th||14|
|PFF Penalty rate||29th||28th||same poor result|
|Receiving TD allowed||2nd||25th||23|
|Y/C against||1st||2nd||1... solid.|
|3rd down conv. against||10th||29th||19|
|FO Pass Defense||1st||22nd||21|
I'm including stats such as scoring defense, third down percentage against and penalty rate, as those are also affected by mediocre pass defense.
Time for some bright side. The Hawks have faced, in the space of six games, four of the game's premier QBs: Rodgers, Rivers, Manning, Romo. Footballoutsiders.com ranks the Seattle schedule as hardest in the league.
No surprise there. Forehead & The Three R's are the top four NFL performers in three crucial stats: ANY/A, TD percentage, and passer rating. Those are literally the first three stats I look at when evaluating quarterbacks numerically. And there's our foursome, right on top, each time.
Did I mention a bright side? You can be pretty sure the opposition's quarterbacking won't be getting any better. Still, the flipside to that bright side is that the Seattle defense is not having an ill effect on any of their opponents' passer ratings.(The Hawks have seen Rodgers, Rivers, Manning, Cousins, Romo and Davis thus far, in that order.)
|Those 6 vs. the league, 2014||Those 6 vs. Seattle, 2014|
|Comp-Att, Pct.||713-1074, 66.4||142-208, 68.3|
|TD / INT||75 / 24||12 / 2|
Admittedly, quarterbacks are somewhat respecting the Legion of Little Boom; that much still shows up in a better stat than QB rating: Yards/Attempt.
|QB||Y/A vs. others||Y/A vs. Seattle||Notes|
|Rodgers||8.3||5.7||That game seems like two seasons ago|
|Rivers||8.7||7.7||Gates of Hell now a fading memory|
|Manning||9.2||6.2||9.2 would lead the NFL most years; 6.2 would not|
|Cousins||8.6||7.9||7.9 to Kirk Cousins? Really?|
|Romo||8.5||7.8||Still coulda won this one with one more big stop|
|Davis||7.4||7.2||Not a single guy raised his Y/A vs. Hawks|
That's the entirety of the bright side. Only Rodgers thus far has failed to throw more TD's than picks against Seattle. Since Week 1, the Hawks have conceded 12 passing touchdowns while producing one lonely interception, in Week 3, when Peyton found Kam wide open in the middle of the field. As is their tradition.
Screw that though. I don't even want to talk about interceptions this time around. Bring them up in the comments, sure, but I'm ready for the vaunted Seattle pass defense to show its face again. And for that face to start gobbling up some errant throws. Sunday's good for me if it's good for you.