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Seahawky numbers: An advanced stats check-in

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Season’s somehow a quarter of the way gone.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
look ma, no knees
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With one quarter of the 2016 season* somehow completed already, the bye week marks a perfect time to check in with some of our best friends at Field Gulls — advanced statistics.


Elsewhere, you’ll read about how to rank offenses based on total yards and how to make QB tiers from such bland ingredients as passer rating and quarterback winz and gut feelings.

Herewhere, you’ll get the stats that tell a better story, predict the future better, and insult your intelligence just a little less. It’s mostly offense-oriented, though I snuck in some team stuff too.

Because of the need for organization, any organization, stats are arranged alphabetically.

Air Yards

2016 quarter: Russell Wilson is 7th (653) and 3rd in Air Yards/att (4.91), on pace for 2612 air yards

2015 season: Finished 11th (2206), and 8th in air yards/att (4.57).

Remarks: Is substantially ahead of his 2015 pace in air yards, both by volume and by rate. The quick-passing and deep-shots scheme of 2015 has been upgraded in aggressiveness.

ANY/A (better passer rating that adjusts for sacks taken)

2016 quarter: RW is at 7.38, good for ninth in the league

2015 season: RW cleaned up with 7.73, third behind Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton.

Remarks: After four games in 2015, Wilson was most decidedly not at 7.38. He’s ahead of his slow-start pace from last year. At the same time, nobody seriously believes he’s going to run a 130 passer rating like he did in the second half of last season. So ninth in the league is pretty meh, and getting up to 7.73 would mean running an 7.91 ANY/A the rest of the way and that’s not easy. However, he has dug himself a much shallower hole this year to dig out of. If it’s a hole at all.

DVOA (overall)

Seahawks are second right now with +35.4, trailing only the undefeated Eagles at 46.4. Breaking it down is what we do:

DVOA (defense)

Hawks are in their accustomed first place, edging out the Eagles this time -30.7 to -30.2. A higher negative score is better. You want your defense to be harvesting DVOA from opposing offenses, making them function poorly. Hence the negative number being good.

DVOA (offense)

The 2016 team finds itself 17th presently. In past years, the offense has finished 1st, 5th, 7th and 4th. There is some catching up to do, but considering they scored just 15 points in the first two games combined, then 64 in the next two, I’d say the catching up has already begun.

DVOA (special teams)

Due no doubt to Jon Ryan’s precision kicking so far (probably owe him a post on that too) and Tyler Lockett’s 14.8 yards per punt return and Steven Hauschka’s 8-for-8 performance on field goals, the Hawks are an excellent 6th in special teams DVOA.

DYAR, Russell Wilson

2016 numbers: 10th in DYAR with 220. Pace is therefore 880.

2015 numbers: 3rd in DYAR with 1190. Top-tier numbers, eclipsed only by Palmer and Brady.

Remarks: For the first time, Wilson’s rushing totals are hurting his DYAR, as they drag it down 13 points. Yes, down. In ‘15, his rushing was worth +123; while in ‘14, his legs added +269, best in the league by a wide margin.

The idea that RW rescues the offense with his legs was no doubt born during the read-option years and then confirmed in the past two seasons for many casual observers. Since then, however, Wilson has gone out of his way to disprove that notion. Don’t really need the negative DYAR, Russ, but who am I to question your master sleepless plan.

Jimmy Graham stuff

2016 numbers: 64 DYAR, tied for first (YES FIRST) in the league. 42.2 individal DVOA, second in the league.

2015 numbers: 110 DYAR total, good for 8th. 14.8 individual DVOA, good for 10th.

Remarks: Obviously Rob Gronkowski’s injury is causing a re-shuffling of the league’s TE hierarchy. But that’s working out OK for the Hawks so far, with Jimmy Graham on pace to soon pass his full-season DYAR from last year. Should he continue on this pace, he’d finish with 256 DYAR, which would’ve been enough to lead the league last year, just ahead of Tyler Eifert’s 247 and Gronkowski’s 235.

ELO (538’s baby)

After four games in 2015, fivethirtyeight’s ELO Rankings were high on Seattle despite the 202 record — they had the Hawks pegged at 1648, near the top of the league.

After four games this season, Nate Silver’s people have the Hawks looking just as good, with a 1643, second in the NFL, behind on Denver, and with the third-best Super Bowl odds.

Remarks: ELO is predictive, with a heavy emphasis on recent results and team history, and relying on simulation of future games. It’s an interesting animal. I’d click on the links above if you’re not familiar with it.

FO ( Pass Protection

2016 numbers: Adjusted Sack rate of 6.1 places the Seahawks 17th in the league, 4 percent worse than league average. We will take it.

2015 numbers: Adjusted Sack rate of 9.0 placed the Seahawks 30th in the league, 40 percent worse than league average. We believe it.

Remarks: Oh, not 32nd this year? How weird. I thought we had the worst line in the NFL. Huh.

FO Run Blocking

2016 numbers: The line is 28th in adjusted line yards, 22nd in power success, 30th (nad) in stuffed rank, 15th in second level yards, and 22nd in open field yards.

2015 numbers: They were 4th, 8th, 5th, 15th and 12th in the same five categories. Oops for 2016.

Remarks: FO tells us line isn’t as good run-blocking as it was last year. That jibes with the eye test, as C-Mike’s success has been dragged down by Thomas Rawls’ 1.3 YPC and Alex Collins’ 1.9 mark. Without Christine Michael, I shudder to think where the offense would be. That is a sentence I typed and you read, in 2016. Football!

(By the way, something to remember about the OL from last year — they were very good in run-blocking despite having the weirdest lineup of starters. Beast Mode, Rawls, Michael and Derrick Coleman all started games at RB last year. And still the line performed. Much more on this some other day, when you’re not already in front of a firing squad of digits.)

Percentages of TD and INT

2016 numbers: Wilson entered the bye having thrown only one interception all year, against five touchdowns. Not surprising he is therefore 8th in INT rate at 0.8%. Somewhat disappointing he finds himself 20th in TD rate, however, at 3.8%.

2015 numbers: 2nd in TD rate with 7.0, 6th in INT rate with 1.7. Elite. No discussion.

Remarks: This will be said again later, but the Atlanta game might easily be a get-well event for Russ and his offense. The Falcons are 31st in defensive DVOA.

Points per drive and differential

2016 numbers: 1.70 points per drive, +.41 more than the opposition.

2015 numbers: 2.27, +.84

Remarks: The offense was so good in 2015. So good. Tops in DVOA. It’s not anywhere near that level yet in 2016, especially after being weighed down by a 3-point output in Los Angeles three weeks ago. That was obviously the lowest amount of points ever scored by a RW-led Hawks team, and since it counts for one-quarter of the data this season, it’s torpedoing the averages. Be fun to check back in at the halfway point with how these drive stats have evolved.

Yards per play and differential

2016 numbers: 5.4 ypp, +0.9 more than the opposition.

2015 numbers: 5.9, +1.0

Remarks: At last we’re a little more in line with 2015, when the team led the league in scoring defense and outgained foes by a yard per play. A big offensive showing against the suspect Atlanta defense in Week 6 would give these numbers a boost. Did I mention the Falcons aren’t very good at defense?


Recapping in the recap part of this recap section, it’s clear that Russell Wilson has some catching up to do if he’s going to approach his historic 2015 campaign. It’s also clear the offense is suffering statistically from the poop egg (thanks Jacson) it laid earlier this year. It’s also also clear the offensive line is ahead of pace -- STATISTICALLY — compared to last year in pass protection.

See you in four games for your next check-up. Here, have a lollipop.