Jim Seki, our inside man over at Pro Football Focus, just sent over the final regular season notes for the Seahawks' season. Here's the full review from Jim (and follow him on twitter).
Just can't say enough about how much Russell Wilson upped his game this year. Here's a look at some key stats in each year of his career with his rank against QBs that year:
Here's a breakdown of his passes this season by direction and corresponding cumulative grading. Great balance on throws beyond 10+ yards in terms of left and right of the numbers, even more so on passes over 20 yards:
Under our new rating system, he finished the regular season tied for fifth (ironically w/ Cam Newton) at 87.0. While the increase out of the bye week looks small, keep in mind that the earlier weeks will have more peaks and valleys. Thus his 7-8 point increase is quite substantial from Week 10.
Along with Wilson's outrageous jump in stats, Doug Baldwin was the other offensive standout. He established career highs in the following:
The emergence of rookie Tyler Lockett and the timely contributions of Jermaine Kearse saw this "aight" WR core finish with three players in the top four in terms of WR rating. In the PFF era (since '07), no team has ever done that. The closest was the Packers in 2011 who had three in the top six.
Marshawn Lynch hasn't played since Week 10, yet he finishes with a league-leading 79.0 Elusive Rating that features 37 combined missed tackles forced. Rookie Thomas Rawls had a 56.0 which put him 10th. Sorting by yards after contact per attempt, Rawls was third-best at 3.12 and Lynch 14th at 2.65.
The offensive line climbed out of the Pass Blocking Efficiency cellar finishing with a 74.2 rating, 28th in the league. While that looks discouraging, going into the bye they were dead last at 71.5 allowing 108 pressures. After the bye, they were 17th at 76.9 allowing 89 pressures, but drastically cut down their sacks allowed.
The "Nowak-at-center" experiment didn't pan out but Patrick Lewis stepped in nicely, especially in the run-blocking department. Nowak finished the year with a -4.1 run blocking grade on 214 run snaps while Lewis graded only at -0.7 on 264 run snaps. A net 3.4 difference might not seem like much over 200+ snaps but you could tell the difference, especially with the interior running with Rawls.
Michael Bennett edged out MIA's Olivier Vernon for the most pressures by a 4-3 DE, finishing with 84. He was second with a 13.4 pass rush productivity rating by the slightest margin behind DET's Ziggy Ansah. Looking at his alignment, while Bennett lined up on the left side only 57.8% of the time (his lowest while with Seattle), he was in the top-four in PRP (pass rush productivity) from both the left and right side. Avril finished seventh in PRP at 11.5 and 70 total pressures (fifth-most). Frank Clark finished with 24 pressures, third-most among rookie 4-3 DEs.
A huge need this year for the Seahawks was more of an interior presence and both Jordan Hill and Ahtyba Rubin were productive. Neither graded that well which isn't a shock, especially for a 4-3 DT, but both held their own against the run. Hill had 11 stops on just 74 run snapsâthat 14.9 run stop rate is fifth among ALL DTs! Rubin had 23 stops on 235 run snaps (9.8 RSR).
K.J. Wright has had a phenomenal year -- he's top 11 in all four signature stat categories we keep for 4-3 OLBs (pass rushing, run stop, tackling efficiency and coverage). His 0.75 yards/coverage snap allowed was third-best and allowed only a 78.9 QB rating when he was targeted (sixth-best). He played 994 snaps (fourth-most for 4-3 OLBs) yet only missed four tackles!
Of OLBs who played at least 50% of the defensive plays, his 28.8 combined tackle efficiency rating was nearly double that of the next player (Bruce Irvin 16.0).
After starting out slower than normal, Richard Sherman squashed any skeptics finishing with a third-best 0.73 yards/coverage snap allowed. Below are a few stats during the RWE (Russell Wilson Era). The rise in his QB rating allowed is not a concern -- he had 8 INTs in both 2012 and 2013 and has since seen fewer targets. He only had two picks this year, but we have him with three other possible interceptions that he dropped. All this is is short-term variance.
Opposite of Sherman there was much turnover when Cary Williams was cut. DeShawn Shead, Jeremy Lane, and Marcus Burley have all seen some playing time with the first two more on the perimeter. Going forward, Shead seems better suited to be the slot corner, as he only allows 1.06 yards/coverage snap where lane gives up 1.60. Kam Chancellor is sitting the last three games of the season allowed DC Kris Richard to experiment with different guys as well as how they played when Sherman shadowed a WR.
Earl Thomas finished the 2015 season with a 87.7 rating, fourth-best for safeties. He allowed a catch rate of only 58.3% to go along with his five INTs.
Steven Hauschka finished the season with the sixth-highest grade for double-duty kickers (kickoff & FG). His +4.7 grade on FG/XPs ranked fourth and was one of four kickers to only miss two or fewer FGs who had over 30 attempts.
Jon Ryan had a 37.6 net yard average in 2015, his best season since 2010 (37.4). Lockett delivered on special teams as well and was one of two players with a kick and punt return for a TD (NYG Dwayne Harris). He was +3.0 on kick returns and +8.0 on puntsâhis cumulative +11.0 was second to only Jarvis Landry who finished at +12.5.