The Seattle Seahawks finished 9-7 for the 10th time in franchise history, their most common result of any record. The most recent time the Seahawks went 9-7 was 2006, the year after they went to the Super Bowl for the first time. Seattle isn’t coming off of a Super Bowl win or loss, but it does feel like the end of an era and the beginning of a slightly new one.
(The “Russell Wilson era” is really what we’re in the middle of though, so it’s not all different.)
The Seahawks also went 9-6 once, during the labor strike season of 1987. The best record they’ve ever had is 13-3 (twice) and the worst is 2-14, though they also went 2-12 in their inaugural season of 1976.
Seattle scored 366 points, tied for the 14th-best total in team history with 1986, a 10-6 team that missed the playoffs with Dave Krieg, Curt Warner, Steve Largent, All-Pro returner Bobby Joe Edmonds, Jacob Green, Kenny Easley, Fredd Young, and Eugene Robinson. That’s the year before they went 9-6 and made the playoffs but lost in the wild card round.
The Seahawks allowed 332 points, 25th-lowest total in franchise history. The lowest in a 16-game season was 231 points in 2013, of course their championship year. That 101 point difference is 6.3 points per game and obviously a big difference between 9-7 and 13-3. The 2013 Seahawks had a point differential of +186, which is much better than +34.
The +34 is the 15th-best mark in team history, but the worst for Carroll since 2011’s +6. This is the second year in a row that the Seahawks point differential got worse, following +146 in 2015 and a +62 in 2016. That’s from an average of +9.1 on your opponents each week to an average of +2.1 in the course of only two years.
Russell Wilson has led the team in passing for six straight seasons; Jim Zorn led the team in passing in each of their first seven seasons, then Krieg did it in each of the next eight years; Matt Hasselbeck led the team in passing for seven years in a row.
Doug Baldwin is the third receiver in franchise history to lead the team in receiving for at least four years in a row — Joey Galloway did it in four straight, but Largent did it in 12 straight seasons.
Seattle ranked 11th in points after ranking 18th in that category in 2016, but they dropped in total yards from 12th to 15th. The defense was 13th in points and 11th in yards allowed, after ranking 3rd and 5th respectively in 2016; the top five defense seasons in team history in either category are: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The Seahawks were top-3 in scoring defense and top-5 in total defense in all five of those seasons.
This was certainly a change from that.
The Seahawks ranked first in penalties and set a record for penalty yards. The thing is, I don’t know that there’s a strong correlation between penalties and losing — that mostly happens if you aren’t talented enough to make up for the penalties, especially if that style of play helps you win, and the issue this time around was that the Seahawks were not good enough to convert 3rd-and-long or to stop 3rd-and-short — or 3rd-and-long.
Seattle allowed 43 sacks in 2017 after allowing 42 in 2016.
Net Yards/Pass attempt was 6.1, down from 6.8 a year ago.
Their 4.0 Yards/Carry was up from 3.9 in 2016, but all because of Wilson. They also rushed for more yards this season than last season, but had four rushing touchdowns (three by Wilson) compared to 13 a year ago.
Seattle converted 37.3% of their third downs, down from 38.2%.
Their red zone scoring % went from 46.4% in 2016 to 55.6% because of the improved goal line plays and playcalling involving Jimmy Graham, the NFL’s top red zone threat in 2017.
Defensively, the Seahawks had 39 sacks, down from 42 in 2016. They allowed a passer rating of 79.1, eighth best in the NFL, which is an improvement from 85.0 in 2016. Overall, Seattle allowed 19 touchdown passes, up from 16 a year ago. They had 14 interceptions, which was three more than last year.
The run defense was ranked first in the NFL a year ago in yards per carry allowed, at 3.4. This season it went up to 4.0 yards per carry despite the early season acquisition of Sheldon Richardson. They allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, which was two fewer than 2016.
Another thing that happened was that Seattle saw opposing kickers go 31-of-35 on field goal attempts this season. Last season, kickers were 19-of-27 against the Seahawks, tied as the worst percentage of kicks against a team in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns. That’s eight misses on eight fewer attempts.
Teams converted 38.1% of their third downs against the Seahawks this season compared to 38.7% last. They had a 47.6% success rate in the red zone in 2017, compared to 56.5% a year ago. So some things were actually better this year, even if it doesn’t seem that way and in spite of major injuries across the defense. It may be that teams also didn’t need to do as well in the red zone because the Seahawks were allowing more explosive plays this year — or so it seemed.
Though things aren’t always what they seem.
What changes statistically from 2016 to 2017 do you not see here that you find interesting or want to know more about?