Wrongness in victory is so much better, though, than correctness in defeat. Let’s try that soon.
“It’s A Dream Matchup, At The Right Time, Too”
We knew, going into Sunday, that the Saints’ horrific defense would allow the Seahawks’ struggling offense to get well. Even an ineffective run game should work more smoothly; even a spotty passing game should put up some scores.
Coming in, New Orleans was giving up 6.1 yards per play. Seattle bested that, with 6.5. Advantage taken... except if you thought that aspect of ball-moving ability would matter, you would be wrong.
The dream mathchup (yesssss portmanteau win) went a little awry.
The Hawks’ two longest drives ended in field goals. The final one ended in no points because clock and fate and decision.
Maybe points per drive is a better metric? Coming in, New Orleans was giving up 2.62, most in the league. Ah yes, get those lengthy unproductive drives tallied up, and Seattle notched just 1.44 points per drive (13 on 9).
One more “coming in”: New Orleans had permitted offenses to score 30.7 points per game. Seattle got 13 offensive.
Of course, the difference between all those stats being turned around is a completion on the last drive, which would’ve boosted the ppd to 2.0 (in the ballpark) and the ppg to 27 (still in the vicinity).
So it’s pretty clear the Hawks underperformed compared to the Saints’ averages. How about compared to our own?
6.5 ypp was above our 5.2 through six games.
1.44 ppd was not far off from our 1.59 through six games.
13 offensive points was well below the 18.5 put up through six games.
The offense didn’t get well, nor did it really get held that far in check overall — it just stayed sick. Cures
“At Least Our D Will Make Them One-Dimensionaller”
The Saints came in with 273 passes and 135 runs on the season — the very picture of an imbalanced offense. The Hawks, masters at stopping the run, would surely take advantage of those tendencies and put the Saints into passing situations, like they do to every opponent?
Not so much.
New Orleans ran the ball a season-high 35 times. 37 dropbacks, 35 rushes — oh hey the very picture of balance.
The Seattle defense did its expected part on a statistical level. 3.4 ypc is what the Seahawks had posted before Sunday, 3.5 is what they delivered.
But Tim Hightower was effective to the tune of 26-102-1.
Theory: Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor’s run-stopping skills were missed, while lack of depth at linebacker also hurt. Bennett’s knee issue meant that Frank Clark played 62 snaps, a season high. Kevin Pierre-Louis being inactive meant that Brock Coyle was on the field for 34 defensive snaps. Also a season high. Because his previous high this season was 1.
This isn’t to lay the loss at the feet of the depth. Just that in a game decided on the final play, every edge matters, and the Seahawks forfeited a sliver of one main defensive advantage.
“Wilson’s Improving Health Will Be A Boon. A Boon, I Tell You”
Three stats would say otherwise. Despite adequate protection, Russell Wilson:
- Made only three deep throws all game. All to Jermaine Kearse, for a total of 40 yards. The obvious suggestion would be that a combo of his health, the game plan, the opposing defensive choices, and pass pro concerns did not permit the more frequent deep shots we’ve seen out of this offense since he arrived. Nobody knows the exact importance of each, but it’s hard to imagine the pec didn’t play at least a small part.
- Threw no touchdowns. Wilson sits at five TD’s now, total, in seven games. Which feels like a typo.
- Ran three times for 11 yards. There was a dive forward, there was a burst of speed twice, but when RW’s longest run is five yards, he’s not enough of a threat that the defense needs to account for him.
“George Fant Is Gonna Be Exposed Like That Time You Dreamt You Were In The Wimbledon Final But Forgot Your Racket”
Perhaps I’ve said too much?
Didn’t happen, though, because it hasn’t been happening. The Hawks have given up the 7th least amount of sacks and the 15th least amount of QB hits. The Saints’ pass rush has a terrible reputation, but one sack on Sunday and just four QB hits — that’s the opposite of exposed. If Fant, or any other tackles, will be exposed, it will have to be in the future, because so far they’re keeping RW cleaner than in previous seasons. (An alternate future is fine too, guys.)
Let’s not forget that the improved protection is happening while RW continues to throw more than ever. 252 attempts in seven games. That’s an average of 36 throws. 36! It was 31 attempts per game last season and 28 the year before. But that’s a topic for another deeper post.
“Long Offensive Drives Will Help The Tired Seahawk Defense Rest After 95 Plays In Arizona”
The Hawks’ drive chart was, no way around it, sad. Number of plays: 5, 3, 4, 1, 6, 11, 4, 13, 9
Instead it was NO converting on 9 of 15 third downs.
Instead, it was NO holding the ball, for a TOP advantage of 36:12 to 23:48.
Instead, it was NO playing 22 more snaps on offense than defense.
So you’d expect, then, the defense would be tired from the 95 plays? I don’t see it.
The Saints ran 12 plays inside the Seahawks’ 10-yard line. Those plays netted 20 yards. Twice the Saints had to settle for field goals. At the end of drives, backed up against their own goal, the Hawks were at their best. They needed one more stop, one more TD whisked away into a FG instead, but asking any more from a defense in those situations is crazy talk.
Bills, Monday, Let’s Be Wrong Together
Is this the game the offense finally figures it out?
Does Christine Michael become the GOAT or the goat?
Will third-down penalties be a factor again?
Do Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin re-awaken from quiet days in New Orleans?
How close to a must-win is this game, with New England looming in Week 10? (Good one to bust out in a few weeks if we lose but still take the division.)
As always, try and be right. The wrong will come on its own.