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From 3-0 in 2020 to 1-2 in 2021: Digging into why the Seahawks have fallen from their perch

The Seahawks have given up HOW MANY rushing yards?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, the Seahawks were 3-0 and had outscored their opponents 111 to 86. This year, Seattle is 1-2 and has been outscored by a single point in regulation, 75 to 76, and by 4 points overall.

Comparatively, the Hawks must be much worse this year than last year, right?

Well, um .... not exactly.

Seattle’s Offense through 3 games

  • 2020: 1,224 total yards
  • 2021: 1,167 total yards
  • Difference: minus-57

Seattle’s Defense, through 3 games

  • 2020: 1,492 yards allowed
  • 2021: 1,321 yards allowed
  • Difference: minus-171

Now, granted, the 1,321 yards that Seattle’s defense has allowed does put them at the very bottom of the defensive rankings. But it’s still an improvement over last year.

And, as a bonus, the Kansas City Chiefs are only two spots ahead of us (1,290 yards allowed) and the defending Super Bowl Champions are within shouting distance as well (T-26; 1,206 yards allowed).

Hell, the Rams had the #1 defense in the league last season and they’re only 199 yards ahead of us (22nd; 1,122 yards allowed).

So the sky isn’t exactly “falling” ... at least not just on US.


Defense is about more than just yards-allowed

The primary focus of this article is going to be on the gross yardage the Seahawks defense has allowed through the first 3 games. And I mean gross in basically every sense of the word.

However ...

Here are some other stats - mostly just so y’all don’t think I overlooked them:

Scoring (through 3 games)

  • 2020: 111
  • 2020: 75
  • Difference: minus-36

Points Allowed (through 3 games)

  • 2020: 79
  • 2021: 86
  • Difference: minus-7

Note: The scoring differentials were actually in the intro, but without the math.

Time of Possession (through 3 games)

Seattle:

  • 2020: 94:29
  • 2021: 71:02
  • Difference: minus-23:27

Opponents:

  • 2020: 85:31
  • 2021: 114:13
  • Difference: plus-28:42

Note: Minus the 5:15 of OT vs. Tennessee, the 2021 numbers would be 70:02 for Seattle and 109:58 for their opponents which would make the differences 24:27 on both sides of the ball: minus for Seattle, plus for their opponents.


Yards, yards, and more yards

As mentioned, “The primary focus of this article is going to be on the gross yardage the Seahawks defense has allowed through the first 3 games. And I mean gross in basically every sense of the word.”

But ...

I’m going to cover half of the equation super quickly ... by quoting myself. This is from my recent “Checking in on the Seahawks’ DBs” article:

Through 3 games, the Seahawks have allowed 856 yards passing (after subtracting sacks). That’s an average of 285.3 yards per game which ranks 26th in the league.

Lest we forget, last year, through 3 games, Seattle had allowed 1,292 passing yards (an average of 430.7 per game).

That’s a decrease of 145.4 yards per game (!!!).

In that context, I can honestly say that 26th never looked so good (!!).

Hollow victories and joking aside ...

Based on the data I shared in the intro, we know that Seattle’s defense has allowed 171 fewer yards this year compared to the first 3 games last year. Yet when you crunch the numbers in the quote above, the pass defense has improved by way more than 171 yards.

1,292 (in 2020) minus 856 (in 2021) equals 436 yards.

So, um ... crap?

__________

As you might expect / suspect / already know, Seattle has been GASHED on the ground by all three teams they’ve faced.

Rushing yards through the first 3 games

  • 2020: 200
  • 2021: 465
  • Difference: No (expletive) comment

Let’s look at a few pictures while that sinks in ... “properly” ...

Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images
NFL: Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Henry is obviously the poster boy for this change in Seattle’s fate, given the 182 rushing yards he racked up for the Tennessee Titans in Seattle’s Week 2 overtime loss.

But ...

Mr. Henry wasn’t exactly the exception to the rule.

I mean, strip out the 60-yard scamper and Derrick Henry was very Mattison-esque. As in, Alexander Mattison, he of the 112 rushing yards in Seattle’s 30-13 loss to the Vikings.

(Not-Really-All-That-)Fun Fact: This past Sunday, Alexander Mattison exactly matched his yardage total from the first time he played us: 112. This time it took him 6 “extra” carries though.

Here’s to small improvements! (we really need a sarcasm font for the articles)

More pictures!

(because our defense allowing 465 rushing yards through 3 games deserves some ... um ... painful documentation)

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

I’ll spare y’all the Jonathan Taylor slide show - since Seattle actually won that game (and did fairly well against him and the Colts - at least comparatively).

Plus, I’m not a complete sadist. Well, not publicly anyway.

I will, however, share the stats:

  • Indianapolis, Week 1: 113 yards on 30 carries (3.8 average), no TDs, long of 12
  • Tennessee, Week 2: 212 yards on 40 carries (5.3 average), 3 TDs, long of 60 (SIGH)
  • Minnesota, Week 3: 140 yards on 34 carries (4.1 average), no TDs, long of 24

For context, even with the Week 2 game removed, Seattle would have given up 53 yards more than they did in the first 3 games last year - a 26.7% increase. With the Titans game included, the increase is a mind-boggling 133%.


Conclusion

Shit be broken.