As we do every week, here are a few notes and tidbits on the Seahawks win over the Cardinals from Pro Football Focus' Jim Seki. His notes in italics, and my comments follow.
-- Russell Wilson only had a 73.1 accuracy rate in the game, but more amazing is that the quarterback with the worst accuracy rate in Week 17 was Carson Palmer at 59.1.
This says a lot about the Seahawks' defense. They had Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket all day long, and for a guy that has been very accurate this season (finished with a 63.4-percent completion rate at 8.7 freaking yards per attempt), it was impressive how "off" he looked. He rushed throws. He was off-target. He was on different pages with his receivers. Seattle did a great job on him before Bruce Arians yanked him at the half.
-- Christine Michael tried to break our Elusive Rating stat -- he leads this week at 171.3 with five missed tackles forced and 5.82 yards after contact. He gained 1.57 more yards after contact per attempt than the next running back this week.
This is probably my favorite stat from the game. It's hard to not start getting excited about Christine Michael's future potential in this offense as a #2 back (assuming Lynch retires and Thomas Rawls recovers fully). Sometimes guys have to take weird paths to eventual success and it's looking more and more plausible that C-Mike has had a lightbulb go on about what it takes to be a pro. We'll see, but regardless, physically speaking, he's been as good as we thought he'd be when the Hawks took him in the 2nd round three years ago.
-- Michael Bennett had an 18.8 PRP (pass rush productivity metric), second-best among 4-3 DEs behind only Carolina's Mario Addison. Bennett's eight total QB pressures were the most this week.
Bennett was running at "70-percent" or so in the Rams game due to a toe injury, he said after, but he sure didn't look hobbled in this game. Mike may have to play through a lot of pain during the playoffs but it was great to see that he was his normal disruptive and active self. That should carry on into the playoffs this week.
-- Christine Michael has graded fairly well in the last three weeks at a combined +5.1 in only 77 of a possible 222 snaps (34.68% snap rate). In that same span, his 3.8 yards after contact is tied for third-best, with seven missed tackles forced.
Again, good to see that the PFF stats back up the eye test that he's been an explosive runner. It's really pretty ridiculous and cool that the Seahawks just picked him up off the street as a free agent a few weeks ago. What a world.
-- Patrick Lewis was the only starting offensive lineman to grade in the positive at +1.3. The other four combined for a staggering -12.8 grade. Most of it was bad run blocking, with Justin Britt leading the way at -4.5. In pass protection, Alvin Bailey and Garry Gilliam allowed five quarterback hurries between them.
It didn't really stand out to me that the offensive line struggled particularly, but in retrospect there were quite a few run plays that got blown up for losses or no gains. Regardless, kind of to be expected considering Seattle had two non-starters going at left tackle and right guard (plus Luke Willson was out). Cobbled together offense lines often underperform and that was the case here, per PFF.
-- TE Chase Coffman played the most snaps of his six-year career (36). He finished with a respectable +1.3 grade and he and Baldwin were the only skill players with receiving grades above +1.0.
It's very, very interesting to see what Chase Coffman could bring to the Seahawks now and next year. He was a highly productive college receiving tight end for Mizzou and won the Mackey Award there (most outstanding tight end in the nation) so there's obviously a history of production at that level. He never caught on anywhere in the pros, but like I mentioned earlier, sometimes players take weird paths toward success.
James Harrison is one guy that comes to mind, a guy that went undrafted and got cut three times before really catching on with the Steelers and becoming a great player for him. That's not to say that Chase Coffman is the next great receiving tight end in this league, but there's definitely precedent of weird routes to productivity, and it's certainly intriguing that Pete Carroll mentioned this week that Russell Wilson has really seemed to have a strong connection with him in practice. We'll see what he can bring to the table.
-- Cardinals CB Justin Bethel got a dose of everyone, allowing receptions to five different players.
He also got stiff-armed something tough by Christine Michael.
-- Targets: Doug Baldwin 7, Cooper Helfet/Chase Coffman 5, Tyler Lockett 4, Jermaine Kearse/Kevin Smith 3
-- Nine of the eleven defensive starters graded at +1.0 or better, with a hobbled Michael Bennett leading the way at +5.5.
-- Speaking of Bennett, his +5.5 ranks second among 4-3 DEs this week. His four quarterback hits led 4-3 DEs.
Again, it was great to see him bounce back from a lackluster performance against St. Louis to be really active in this one.
-- Jordan Hill and DeMarcus Dobbs returned from injury but really didn't do much, each contributing one defensive stop in 29 combined snaps played.
I think the notable thing here is that those players did return. Seems like they've been out for ages. That depth will be huge in the playoffs, even if they're only role players. Hill in particular could be a darkhorse type of guy that could produce some key snaps during the playoffs.
-- Clark bounced back after a three-game skid, finishing with a +1.3 grade. He seems to be most efficient when he plays about 35-40% of defensive snaps.
Keep an eye on that playtime percentage. I'm sure the Seahawks are looking to massage that out and figure out what works best for the rookie. Always key to remember that the college season is long over for these guys and many young players experience "rookie walls" or whatever at the end of the season. The fatigue can have an effect.
-- QB hurries: MichaelBennett/Bruce Irvin 4, Frank Clark 2, four w/ 1
-- Coverage targets: K.J. Wright/Richard Sherman 6, DeShawn Shead 5, Bobby Wagner 4, Brock Coyle/Jeremy Lane 3
-- No surprise but Tyler Lockett is the highest-graded kick/punt returner this week at +3.5. His 34.8 punt return average this week was DOUBLE that of any other player.
No big deal. Just a pro bowl returner as a rookie and a guy that legitimately looks like he should've been a first round pick as a receiver.