These aren't your father's Seahawks. Zorn, Krieg, Largent, Warner, Easley. Those guys were playoff teases -- but very real badasses.
These aren't your cool aunt's Seahawks. Kitna then Hasselbeck; Warren then Alexander; Tez then Walter. Contenders, mostly.
These aren't even your older brother's Seahawks. Champions in their own right, led by a Beasting backfield and a defensive-end-pwning, fifty-burgering Russell Wilson. And most importantly, laying the foundation for success, a ball-hawking LOB that regularly humiliated superstars like Rodgers, Brady, Manning, Brees.
In 2012 and 2013 those Canton-bound quarterbacks combined for 65 points in five encounters with the Seattle defense.
13 points per game, they managed. Which is bad in any era, but especially in this decade of "Offense Rules, Defense Drools"*
(*secret/non-secret NFL motto)
These are your 2015 Seahawks instead, and right now they have a detestable habit of not doing very much at all to quarterbacks any more -- except letting them drive down the field when it matters the most.
Section 1: Drawn and Quartered
You've watched a game or two this season. You know the fourth quarter has not been kind, in general, to the Hawks. Read on if you want to know more of the things that will make you more of the sad.
A) Seattle's pass defense has been exceptional in the first three quarters. The LOB has played true to form, allowing only four passing TD's in all first, second and third quarters combined. 27 periods played, four TD's allowed. Prorated over a season, that'd be 9.48 scores permitted through the air.
Now for some context to explain just how good that is. Teams with the fewest passing touchdowns achieved on offense in recent seasons:
2014: Browns, with 12;
2013: Jets with 13;
2012: Chiefs, with 8, and they finished 2-14, because of the bad that their team was being;
2011: Rams, with 8, also 2-14, also bad. Those Rams would rather have passed kidney stones than footballs into the end zone.
So you get the picture. If this season's fourth quarters had never happened, the LOB would be performing at a historically great level.
B) But just as your therapist warned, those repressed fourth-quarter memories are real. Unhallucinated. In the nine final periods so far, Seattle has allowed five passing TD's. That's more than in all the other quarters combined.
Furthermore, prorated over a season, it's 35.56 passing TD's allowed. If that sounds ugly to you, good eye. A team that threw for 36 passing scores would finish near the top of all offenses, ranking:
5th in 2014;
3rd in 2013;
4th in 2012;
5th in 2011.
C) So as you'll deduce, scoring numbers overall are quite favorable to the Hawks early in the game. Have a chart this time.
|Quarters 1-3||Quarter 4 + OT|
|Scoring Margin||+48 yay||-30 boo|
A note about that last line. According to pro-football-reference, over an entire season, a team with a +114 differential is expected to win 11.3 games. A team that runs -213 is expected to win 2.6 games.
Yes, the Hawks are sort of playing like a three-win team once the fourth quarter begins.
Section 2: Ponder No More
Right after the Super Bowl, no, not that one, the happy one, BestGuyAround delivered this memorable comparison: Seattle's defense turns elite quarterbacks into Christian Ponders. (Here's the link where he shows his work; it's a short post but a good one, and it keeps getting referenced here on FG, seasons later.)
Welllll, this year, the Hawks aren't exactly Ponderizing their opponents -- they're methodically doing... nothing to quarterbacks.
Leaving out Jimmy Clausen because of small sample size and hefty disdain, I teased out each quarterback's basic passer rating stats against the Hawks and against the rest of the league. The exercise is rather rudimentary. But rather enlightening.
Nick Foles, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Cassel and Carson Arnold Palmer perform well enough, as a group, against non-Seahawks.
1150-1914 for 13,974 yards with 100 TD's and 48 INT's. Translates to an 89.5 passer rating. Collectively, they're about league average. Last year's teams all combined to post an 88.4 rating.
Here's how those eight guys did against actual Seahawks:
172-272 for 1,933 yards with 9 D's and 4 INT's. Translates to an 89.3 passer rating.
The Seattle Seahawks defense has shaved all of 0.2 passer rating points off its opponents, compared to the rest of the league.
I'd caution against reading a ton into this. ANY/A and ANY/A+ are (in my opinion) better evaluative tools. However, a rapid cross-check with two other napkin stats confirms any suspicion you and I might be harboring.
Y/A vs. NFL: 7.30
Y/A vs. Hawks: 7.11
TD/Int vs. NFL: 2.08
TD/Int vs. Hawks: 2.25
The differences are negligible. Can we please stop the Averagizing, and go back to the Ponderizing? Like, starting now? I know just the guy, he's leading his weary troops into the CLink tomorrow.