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Seahawks 3rd Down Notebook: Midseason review

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A few more thoughts on the Seahawks work on 3rd downs with eight games in the books (LINK):

1

Seattle was able to compensate for a miserable 5-of-21 (23.8%) performance from 3-6 yards to go during the first four games by stealing a few in the 7-15 yard to-go range -- 8-of-14 (57.1%) during the same period.  Seattle was also a solid 10-of-15 (66.7%) from 2 yards and in in the first four weeks.

In the last four games, Seattle was able to improve on the 3-6 yards to-go numbers and post a decent 10-of-22 clip (45.5%) from that manageable distance, but saw a dip in the other distances:

6-of-10 from 1-2 yards to go (60%)

3-of-16 from 7-15 yards to go (18.8%)

When you smooth out the numbers over the full eight games, the numbers look more reasonable, but improvements can still be made in the 3-6 yard range.

EIGHT GAMES

1-2 yards (64.0%): Seahawks should shoot for around this figure- about 2 of every 3 should be converted-

3-6 yards (34.9%): the goal would be to trend this up over 40% by season's end

7-15 yards (36.7%): These numbers aren't that bad really

15+ yards (0.0%): It would be nice to perhaps hit one or two of these before the season ends

DEEP DIVE

When you look deeper and find out how the Seahawks are converting, I found a few tidbits that I thought were worth sharing (LINK):

1

The Seahawks success on 3rd and 1 is based on predominantly running the ball (not a surprise). What did surprise me is how little they chose to run the ball on 3rd and 2 and 3rd and 3. On 3rd and 2, the Seahawks designed a pass 9-of-11 times. On the two runs, they converted one and failed to convert the other. On the nine passes, they converted four and missed on five.

On 3rd and 3, the Seahawks designed a pass either 10 or 11 times out of 12 situations. They were stuffed on a run vs Green Bay and Russell Wilson did not convert on a run vs St. Louis (not sure if it was a read option). Of the 10 passes they did throw, they were 5-of-10 in terms of conversions. 

Whether the Seahawks should be running more on 3rd and 2 and 3 yards to go is probably an interesting discussion.

What is not an interesting discussion is the fact that the Seahawks biggest hole on 3rd down is 3rd and 4. Of those 12 situations, they designed pass all 12 times. Russell has converted only two 3rd and 4's all season, one via pass and one via run. The Seahawks are a miserable 2-of-12 (17%) on 3rd and 4. If they could pull closer to 40% on this distance they can get close to their goals on 3rd down. 

The Seahawks are 12-of-23 (52%) on the 5-7 yard distance, which is very acceptable. Additionally, the Seahawks have been keeping their distances manageable in 2015 -- 68 of the 107 3rd downs (64%) have been 6 yard or shorter. 72 of 107 have been seven yards or shorter. That means that two out of every three third downs has been from 7 yards or less. The Seahawks just need to make short distances these pay off, especially on 3rd and 4.

Two more notes on the manageable distances: The Seahawks have had a median down and distance of 5.5 yards or less to go in eight of ten games. Against Green Bay, the Seahawks median 3rd down distance was 10 yards and against Carolina it was 7 yards. The rest of the games have been very manageable:

STL- 3.5 yards
CIN 4 yards
CHI 4.5 yards
DET 5 yards
SF 5.5 yards
DAL 5.5 yards

Also, despite the 31 sacks, the Seahawks have found themselves in 3rd down and 13+ only 12 times this season (11%).