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Seahawks Drive Recap, Week 5: Both offenses stumble just enough for Seattle’s defense to beat the Rams

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Where have we seen a scrappy win on the road against the Rams before?

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams
Earl “GOAT” Thomas at work
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Seahawks beat the Rams, and on the road no less. And on grass. And it was classic Rams-v-Seahawks ugliness. An interception on a trick play and an interception off a screen ... This win is not exactly reassuring, but I will take a crummy real win over a “moral loss” 10 times out of 10.

As a reminder, Failed Drives are drives that go fewer than 40 yards, do not end with points (with one exception), or end with a turnover. A 99-yard drive that ends with a fumble on the one is a failed drive. A 2-yard drive that ends in a missed FG is not a failed drive. A Successful Drive is a drive that travels 40 or more yards or ends with a field goal attempt of reasonable yardage. Missed field goals (of reasonable yardage) still count for making Successful Drives. I’m not going to penalize offenses for having a bad or unlucky field goal kicker. Finally, Money Drives are drives that end in touchdowns or kneel-downs after gaining at least one first down. Had Seattle converted on 3rd and medium with a minute or so left against LA, they could have had a Money Drive that did not end in a TD.

The Offense

Offense Failed Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 8
Drives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11
Yards/drive 7.5
First downs/drive 0.50
Conversions 4/10
T.o.P/drive 2:02

The offense struggled against the Rams. I have been one of Darrell Bevell’s defenders so far, but his play-calling, specifically his insistence on running out of tight sets, has me scratching my head. That being said, the running backs can’t stay healthy. Interestingly, the Seahawks had the exact same proportion of 3rd down conversions in failed drives as last week (4/10 compared to 2/5). But proportionality isn’t everything. Going 4/10 means 6 failed conversions compared to just three from Week 4.

Offense Successful Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 3
Drives 7, 8, 12
Yards/Drive 30.7
First downs/drive 1.67
Conversions 2/6
T.o.P 2:26

The offense managed three Successful Drives, but these relied on good field position, as seen by the 2-fo-6 on 3rd down conversions and only 30.7 yards gained per drive. The offense could have had another one, or maybe a Money Drive if Wilson had avoided a red zone INT that was nearly returned for a score. Seattle also have another drive where Russell Wilson was shredding in the hurry up. He went 5/5 (5/7 if we count two sacks as pass attempts) for 64 yards (51 yards counting sack yardage) and marched the ball down the field. It is tough to tell if this is a function of the offense working smoother or the defense playing softer coverage, but it bears monitoring.

Offense Money Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 1
Drives 6
Yards/Drive 75
First downs/drive 6
Conversions 3/3
T.o.P 7:34

Just one Money Drive this week is a bit disappointing after earning four in back to back weeks. This drive was all dink-and-dunk. The longest pass of the drive was just 10 yards. I don’t know if we will ever see a dink-and-dunk offense with Bevell coordinating the offense on a Pete Carroll team, but it was good to know that Russ can operate it if necessary. Hopefully the bye week gives the coaching staff time to reflect on the first five weeks of the season and implement changes that return the offense to its usually potent self.

Defense

Defense Failed Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 8
Drives 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Yards/drive 31.125
First downs/drive 1.625
Conversions 4/10
T.o.P 2:21

These first two charts for the defense are bizarre. The Rams gained more yards and first downs on Failed Drives than they did on Successful Drives. How is that possible? Turnovers, baby. The defense forced four turnovers (not counting the muffed punts) that turned potential scoring drives into disasters for Los Angeles. Also, we do not appreciate Earl Thomas enough. The Seahawks could lose every game from now until he retires and it would still be an absolute pleasure to watch him play. And by watching him play I mean watching him scream out of the middle of the field and metaphorically rip out opponent’s throats Roadhouse-style (earning a “+lemon” grade from PFF on the play).

Defense Successful Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 2
Drives 4, 6
Yards/Drive 26
First downs/drive 1.50
Conversions 3/5
T.o.P 3:01

The Rams earned two Successful Drives despite a missed field goal. A missed field goal should not count against the offense, especially when the offense drives to the opponent’s 18 yard line. The defense got bailed out by a miss from Greg Zuerlein, which, in retrospect, was probably the first sign that the Hawks weren’t going to get beat by flukey Jeff Fisher magic this time.

Defense Money Drives

Stat Result
Stat Result
Number 1
Drives 3
Yards/Drive 79
First downs/drive 4
Conversions 3/3
T.o.P 3:57

Tavon Austin scored a touchdown against the Seahawks ... I feel dirty just typing it. He has been in the league since 2013 and accumulated 12 receiving TDs and 9 rushing TDs in those 4+ seasons. Let the record show that Doug Baldwin has scored 22 TDs since the start of 2015 (2+ seasons). And for all the talk of Sean McVay unlocking Austin’s potential, he currently has 3.8 yards per reception and 5.4 yards per carry. Both are career-lows. Anyways, despite giving up a TD to Austin, the defense, either through stonewalling Jared Goff and Todd Gurley or forcing opportune turnovers largely contained the Rams offense.

Season-to-date:

Season-to-Date

Offense Number Yards/drive 1st downs Conversions Mean T.o.P
Offense Number Yards/drive 1st downs Conversions Mean T.o.P
Failed Drives 33 6.42 0.52 8/38 1:51
Successful Drives 12 48.17 3 10/20 2:05
Money Drives 11 74.4 4.36 18/20 4:02
Total Drives 56 28.72 1.80 36/78 2:20
Defense Number Yards/drive 1st downs Conversions Mean T.o.P
Failed Drives 36 16.72 0.94 10/43 2:24
Successful Drives 11 45.27 2.27 12/22 3:08
Money Drives 9 61.11 3.33 10/10 3:23
Total Drives 56 29.46 1.59 32/75 2:42

The season-to-date chart has been updated, but no major changes. The Seahawks still have fewer Failed Drives and more Successful and Money Drives than their opponents. However, Seattle’s holding the ball an average of 22 seconds less than their opponents. The biggest gap is on the Successful Drives, where opponents hold the ball for over a minute longer than the Seahawks. I don’t expect that number to come down on the defensive side, but they need to become more consistent in stringing first downs together outside of the two-minute drill/hurry-up to give the defense a rest. When the offense does put together a solid drive, it lasts for over 4 minutes on average.

Overall

I’m not going to say that this was a stellar overall performance. A dominating win over the surging Rams would have been awesome. However, dominating wins don’t happen all that often, even from great teams. You folks get a bonus chart this week, from all the way back in 2013.

Seahawks @ Rams 2013

Rams Number Yards/drive
Rams Number Yards/drive
Failed Drives 7 27.29
Successful Drives 4 43.5
Money Drives 0 -
Seahawks Number Yards/drive
Failed Drives 9 3.33
Successful Drives 0 -
Money Drives 2 53

While the offensive performance last week wasn’t great, it wasn’t the total disaster that the 2013 Seahawks subjected us to in that season’s road Rams game: 135 total offensive yards, 80 of which came on a single play to Golden Tate; 7 sacks for -48 yards; 6 three and outs. The games even ended with a defensive stand in the red zone.

The amazing 2013 defense allowed Kellen Clemens to drive 96 yards to the 1-yard line before stopping them. There was even a Zuerlein missed FG. That 2013 team, despite some wins that seemed too-close at the time, ended up being pretty successful. The 2017 game does not guarantee that the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl, but it also doesn’t guarantee that they aren’t going to the Super Bowl. Logic.