The 2017 Seattle Seahawks season was filled with many ups and downs. Looking back on the season, this piece includes one key play from each of the first eight games. These key plays are plays that were found somewhere in the top 10 EPA plays of the game, but are not necessarily the #1 play from a given game. These plays are the plays that I subjectively believe most told the story of the game.
The score of each game contains a hyperlink to the full EPA Replay article from that game. This is part 1, with part 2 coming sometime next week.
For an overview of EPA and this series, see my intro article here. Onto the plays:
Game 1: Seattle 9, Green Bay 17
Q3 3-18 SEA 13: (10:46) (Shotgun) Russell Wilson sacked at SEA 3 for -10 yards (Mike Daniels). FUMBLES, RECOVERED by GB- Kyler Fackrell at SEA 6.
EPA:3.28. Score before play: SEA3, GB0. SEA WP change: 51-> 43. TD% before: 17. TD% after: 1
Green Bay would rush for a touchdown on the very next play. I chose this play because it led to one of the only two Green Bay touchdowns and because it foreshadowed the pass protection problems Seattle would have throughout the season.
Honorable mentions: Jordy Nelson touchdown on a free play; Nazair Jones interception and touchdown nullified by penalty.
Game 2: Seattle 12, San Francisco 9
Q4 3-7 SF 9: (7:13) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short left to Paul Richardson for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
EPA:3.49. Score before play: SEA6, SF9. SEA WP change: 50-> 65. TD% before: 32. TD% after: 100
With Seattle missing the ensuing PAT attempt, this score would provide the final margin of the game. One of the many pieces of Russell Wilson magic that the 2017 season would provide.
Honorable mentions: the two long runs from Carlos Hyde.
Game 3: Seattle 27, Tennessee 33
Q3 2-7 TEN 45: (7:47) Marcus Mariota pass short left to Rishard Matthews for 55 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on SEA- Frank Clark, Defensive Offside, declined.
EPA:4.81. Score before play: TEN9, SEA14. SEA WP change: 61-> 45. TD% before: 40. TD% after: 100
While the 75 yard touchdown from DeMarco Murray very well could have been the pick here, I chose this play since it had more missed tackles. Both plays proved costly.
Game 4: Seattle 46, Indianapolis 18
Q3 1-10 IND : (2:09) Jacoby Brissett sacked at IND 15 for -7 yards (Marcus Smith). FUMBLES (M.Smith), RECOVERED by SEA- Bobby Wagner at IND 21. B.Wagner for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
EPA:7.73. Score before play: IND18, SEA25. TD% before: 33. TD% after: 0
There’s something special about defensive touchdowns in a primetime home game rout. In this game, both Justin Coleman and Bobby Wagner reached the end zone.
Honorable mention: Seattle’s only rushing touchdown of the year from a running back (J.D. McKissic).
Game 5: Seattle 16, Los Angeles Rams 10
#3. Q4 1-10 LA 43: (2:57) (No Huddle, Shotgun) Jared Goff sacked at LA 35 for -8 yards (Frank Clark). FUMBLES (F.Clark) [F.Clark], RECOVERED by SEA- Sheldon Richardson at LA 40. S.Richardson to LA 20 for 20 yards (Andrew Whitworth).
EPA:5.51. Score before play: LAR10, SEA13. SEA WP change: 56-> 87. TD% before: 28. TD% after: 4
In a game featuring five Rams turnovers, I had to choose a turnover. With Seattle clinging to a 3 point lead with 3 minutes left, Frank Clark comes up with a strip sack to increase Seattle’s chances of winning the game by about 30 percentage points, a huge swing.
Honorable mentions: the Earl Thomas karate chop; Sheldon Richardson’s interception.
Game 6: Seattle 24, New York Giants 7
Q4 1-10 NYG 38: (9:49) R.Wilson pass deep left to Paul Richardson for 38 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Toss to 21- J.D.McKissic who throws back to R.Wilson.
EPA:3.39. Score before play: SEA10, NYG7. SEA WP change: 75-> 85. TD% before: 48. TD% after: 100
Paul Richardson’s second touchdown of this piece was undoubtedly the most exciting play of a game that was otherwise a slog. With his free agency looming, it will be interesting to see what the team does with him over the offseason.
Honorable mentions: Jarran Reed strip-sack, Jimmy Graham dropped touchdown on 4th and 1.
Game 7: Seattle 41, Houston 38
#7. Q4 1-10 HOU 18: (:26) (No Huddle, Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short middle to Jimmy Graham for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
EPA:3.86. Score before play: SEA34, HOU38. SEA WP change: 32-> 97. TD% before: 31. TD% after: 100
Many plays from this game could have been chosen, including the Earl Thomas pick-6, the 72 yard DeAndre Hopkins touchdown, or the Will Fuller 59 yard touchdown. In the end, I had to go with the game winner.
Game 8: Seattle 14, Washington 17
Q4 1-10 WAS 30: (1:40) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep right to Doug Baldwin for 30 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
EPA:4.09. Score before play: SEA8, WAS10. SEA WP change: 61-> 88. TD% before: 29. TD% after: 100
I’m including this play as much for everything it was (Baldwin with a brilliant release off the line and scoring the go-ahead touchdown) as for everything it wasn’t (Baldwin not going down at the 1 yard line, resulting in Washington getting the ball back with plenty of time to score). The two throws from Kirk Cousins that followed this could have been the choices here as well.
Honorable mentions: the two Russell Wilson interceptions; the three Blair Walsh missed field goals.
A first half in review
The Seahawks finished the first half of the season at 5-3, coming off a bitterly disappointing home loss to the Redskins when they could have been 6-2 and tied for the division lead with the Rams. Despite the setback, Seattle still controlled its own destiny for the division, with a home game against the Rams looming (ominous music). Next week I will recap the second half of the season.