I was blown away again when I put together the Seahawks' 3rd down chart for the Ravens game.
It wasn't just the fact that the Seahawks were 8 of 11 on 3rd down conversions (72.7%), it was the way in which they converted. In the past, if the Seahawks had a big day on 3rd down (7 or 8 or more conversions) the numbers were usually aided by more than a few 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2 conversions via a running back run. The Seahawks have been pretty efficient on 3rd and 1 and 3rd and 2 this season (they have a run tendency on those downs as they should) and have been 69.4% from that distance for the season. Since the bye -- the Seahawks have been a blistering 81.8% converting on those short distances.
Against the Ravens there were no attempts from 1 or 2 yards to go, and when you exclude the final Tarvaris Jackson kneel-down, there were no attempts at distances of greater than 10 yards. The Seahawks compressed everything into the 3-10 yard range and nailed it. If there was one area to keep improving on 3rd down for the season, it was still in the 3-6 yard range. Before the Ravens game consider this:
1-2 Yards to go: 69.4% (25 of 36)
3-6 Yards to go: 37.5% (21 of 51)
7-15 Yards to go: 40.0% (20 of 50)
The Seahawks were actually converting at a better clip from 7 to 15 yards out than the more standard 3-6 yard range.
Those numbers are starting to flip, as they should. The Seahawks were 7 of 8 from the 3-6 yard range against the Ravens -- four to Tyler Lockett, two to Baldwin, and one converted via a Russell Wilson scramble. Additionally, Wilson hooked up with Baldwin on a 7-yard to go situation for 14 yards and missed Baldwin deep left on a 3rd and 6 late in the game when the outcome was well decided.
For the season I have the Seahawks at 45.8% on 3rd down, which is quite impressive. The official stats have the Seahawks closer to 44%, (4th best in the NFL) but the official stats ding the Seahawks for five kneel-downs and do not give them credit for two conversions via penalty. Since the bye week, the Seahawks are a whopping 57.6% on 3rd down and that includes an ugly 1 of 8 performance against the Cardinals.
For the season, the Seahawks have done a good job of keeping 60% (100 of 165 attempts) of their 3rd downs at 6 yards or fewer to go. Additionally, only 7% of the Seahawks 3rd downs are at distances of greater than 15 yards (12 of 165).
In the last two games the Seahawks have had zero 3rd down attempts at distances greater than 10 yards. Also, in the last two games, the Seahawks have had five productive drives that never even hit 3rd down (a drive was ended by a TD, turnover after a long drive, or kneel-downs).