The 2019 Seattle Seahawks season was defined by thin margins. They were within a yard of winning the NFC West, yet just as easily could’ve missed the playoffs outright if they didn’t have extraordinary success in one-score games. With only one win by double digits all year, their point differential was an underwhelming +7.
If it felt like Seattle spent a lot of time playing without a lead, the stats confirm your priors. Rotoworld’s Hayden Winks charted every NFL teams’ percentage of offensive snaps with a lead vs. with a deficit, and the Seahawks are in the bottom-half in both categories.
How often each offense was leading and trailing: pic.twitter.com/7VsWkGiiwF— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) June 27, 2020
The Seahawks only had about 33% of its total offensive snaps with a lead, which ranks 21st. Every team ranked below them except the Tennessee Titans missed the playoffs, and the caveat for Tennessee is they benched Marcus Mariota after a 2-4 start to the season. Of course, you also see sub-.500 teams like the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Jets in the top-half of the table, but the absolute top-tier featured the consensus top five teams in the league.
Heading over to the “snaps with a deficit” chart and you’ll see the Seahawks had over have of their offensive plays while trailing. Again, the teams below them were all mediocre at best and terrible at worst. You’ll see the Buccaneers and Browns also with a high percentage of snaps while trailing despite favorable stats with a lead, but obviously what the stat leaves out is “snaps with the score tied” so you can figure out the math from there.
When you isolate it to the 2nd half, the Seahawks again are near the bottom in snaps with a lead, but in the upper-half when it comes to snaps with a deficit. This is perfectly logical when you consider that Seattle trailed at halftime in 10 of its 16 regular season games, with seven of those games seeing the Seahawks not lead at any point in those opening halves.
% of offensive snaps in the 2nd half while leading/trailing: pic.twitter.com/kwOi1rT0BA— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) June 27, 2020
In case you’re wondering, the Seahawks had a negative 4th quarter point differential, so it’s not like they were unstoppable monsters who wore their opponents down with “body blows.” Sometimes they were just straight-up knocked out and didn’t beat the ten-count.
With all of that said, Seattle finished 8th in DVOA, which is usually a strong indicator that they were indeed one of the better teams in the NFL, but they just made life ridiculously hard for themselves on a near-weekly basis. It’s one of the many things we needn’t see repeated in future seasons.