clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let Russ Cook? Heck, Seahawks let others cook too

But not as thoroughly as you might think!

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Indeed, while the great revelation of 2020 Seattle Seahawks football is Russell Wilson’s ascendancy to head chef, the corollary has been poisonous — seemingly everyone who faces the Seahawks defense is also allowed to cook.

I’ll show you what I mean after the Tracker, our maitre d’s chef d’oeuvre du jour. En garde. (Je ne regrette rien.)

Let Russ Cook Tracker, Week 9

Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Neutral downs passing 51-49 55-45 67-33 A
2nd & long rushing 61/166, 37% Below 25% 15-66, 23% A-
Designed RW runs 11-31-0 Use him earlier 11-132-2 A
4th & short past midfield 6/25, 26% Above 26% 6/13, 46% A

Wilson added an improbable rushing touchdown on a sneak and was trusted two out of three times past midfield on fourth and short. The Seahawks got 10 points out of those three instances, so while the interception was... unfortunate, the result was still better than kicking three field goals, no matter how many of them Jason Myers would’ve made.

The Seahawks aren’t turning off the heat. Since Week 1, here are their pass-run splits on neutral downs, game by game.

65, 57, 65, 56, 75, 67, 58, 69

The composite, as noted in the tracker, comes out to 67 percent. Still two percentage points above the Chiefs at 65. Still atop the entire NFL.

Ah. But no matter how you slice it, four turnovers is a bad game, mademoiselle. Say all the nasty things you/I want about the defense, and they’re about to be said, football teams don’t win games in which they lose the turnover battle 4-0, and quarterbacks responsible for all four of those turnovers can’t be praised for having a good game. Is Wilson putting together a magical season that could culminate in an MVP trophy? Yes. But one more game like today and he’ll be left shooting for the single vote they keep reminding us he’s never earned, rather than the whole plaque. (Patrick Mahomes has 25 TDs against one interception for the best all-around team in the other conference. He’s the frontrunner, in my opinion.)

Long-winded way of saying RW continues to cook like he did early on, but he is also just as much to blame for the loss in Buffalo as anyone else, and I do mean the defensive coordinator.

Stop stalling, John.


More than two seasons combined. The two best seasons of defense we’ll ever see, but still, maximum yikes. To illustrate, I’ve prepared another little table, a sad (?) one wherein we compare the performance of each QB against the Seahawks to his performance in the four games surrounding Seattle.

I’m gonna use passer rating even though it’s an inferior stat. It’s a shortcut, it’s easy to calculate, you’re all familiar with it, and we know that a guy who had a 66 day fared worse than the guy who had a 118 day. Obviously it’d be more rigorous to do EPA/play or QBR but I don’t have the resources for that.

Methodology reminder: I only counted the four games closest to Seattle on the schedule for each quarterback. You can quibble with the parameters, but it seemed fair enough to me.

QBs the Seahawks have faced

QB Rating vs. SEA Rating vs. others Mobility vs. SEA Mobility vs. others Better overall vs. SEA?
QB Rating vs. SEA Rating vs. others Mobility vs. SEA Mobility vs. others Better overall vs. SEA?
Matt Ryan 98.5 87.1 1-(-1)-0, 2 sacks 4-6-0, 1 sack No
Cam Newton 94.6 74.5 11-47-2, 1 sack 10-49-1, 2 sacks Yes
Dak Prescott 93.6 99.7 6-26-0, 2 sacks 3-17-1, 2 sacks No
Ryan Fitzpatrick 66.4 118.5 6-47-1, 1 sack 4-18-0, 2 sacks No
Kirk Cousins 92.8 114.6 1-2-0, 3 sacks 2-5-0, 2 sacks No
Kyler Murray 104.5 115.9 14-67-1, 0 sacks 9-72-1, 1 sack No
Jimmy Garoppolo 55.2 95.2 4-4-0, 3 sacks 1-3-0, 1 sack No
Josh Allen 138.5 79.2 7-14-1, 7 sacks 8-38-0, 1 sack Yes

Overall — wait, what? — six of the eight QBs the Seahawks have seen have actually been worse against Seattle? How is this possible, when all we keep hearing is that the Seahawks Swiss-cheese defense has been shredded, grated and melted by all comers?

It’s possible because opponents marched up and down the field at will.

Yardage against

Quarterback Yards vs. others Yards vs. SEA Difference
Quarterback Yards vs. others Yards vs. SEA Difference
Matt Ryan 251 450 Plus-199
Cam Newton 143 397 Plus-254
Dak Prescott 346 472 Plus-126
Ryan Fitzpatrick 260 315 Plus-55
Kirk Cousins 254 249 Minus-5
Kyler Murray 247 360 Plus-113
Jimmy Garoppolo 188 84 Minus-104
John Allen 212 415 Plus-203

Aha! Quarterbacks are NOT automatically better against the Seahawks defense. What they suddenly become is volume kings. Andrew puts it in historical perspective:

Not great, Bob.

At least it’s humorous, in a moment that begs for comic relief, that Jimmy Garoppolo was the worst-rated performer against Seattle.

The discrepancy between overall performance and yardage can be explained largely by turnovers — while the QB’s above averaged 0.7 interceptions per game against non-Seahawks, they average 1.1 against actual Seahawks. Almost half an extra turnover a game will swing some one-possession contests.

Next up? The Rams, who’ve scored 42, 33, 36, 29 and 28 points in their last five meetings with the Seahawks. Anything can happen when your defense is led by two All-Pros and just received pass rush reinforcements. So far, the anythings have alternated between terrifyingly terrifying and terrifyingly relieving. And maybe not as bad as everyone thinks.