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The Seahawks have become surprisingly good on 3rd down

NFL: JAN 03 Packers at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

During the disastrous 1-year reign of Jim Mora, the Seattle Seahawks converted only 1 out of every 3 third down opportunities (33.3%). That ranked 25th league-wide.

Then Pete Carroll arrived and things improved!

Seattle climbed up 3 whole spots with a conversion rate of 35.12% in 2010.

The Seahawks backslid in Year 2 of the Pete Carroll era, finishing the 2011 season with a conversion rate of 33.77% (24th).

Then they drafted Russell Carrington Wilson in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft and things significantly improved!

The Seahawks leapt all the way up to #12 in the rankings with a 3rd-down conversion rate that started with a 4 - as in 40.00%.

In 2013, they dropped to #18 at 37.07% but no one seemed to mind because ...

NFL: FEB 05 Super Bowl XLVIII - Seahawks Super Bowl Parade Photo by Jesse Beals/ Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The following year, the Seahawks jumped all the way up to #8 with a conversion rate of 43.57%. Oh, and what we wouldn’t have given for one more 3rd-down opportunity; maybe we’d have handed the ball off to Marshawn Lynch ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In 2015, the Seahawks converted 45.80% of their 3rd-down opportunities, finishing the year behind only the New Orleans Saints (47.71%) and Atlanta Falcons (47.14).

And then ...

That brings us to today ... a day that finds the Seahawks sitting in the #2 position with a 3rd-down conversion rate that starts with a 5; with a pair of 5s, actually: 55.32%.

You read that right.

Fifty-five point three-two percent.

And before you assume that the awesomeness is courtesy of the shootout against the Detroit Lions which saw Seattle turn 9 out of 12 third downs into first downs (or touchdowns), it’s not.

Well, not entirely.

If you add all of that up, you’ll find that the Seahawks’ conversion rate through first 3 games was 48.57% ... which would drop them down one whole spot to #3 overall.

The team that is currently ahead of the Seahawks is the Buffalo Bills - and they’re only 0.45% ahead at 55.77%.

The team that currently ranks 3rd is the Kansas City Chiefs at 51.06%.

Behind them are the Los Angeles Rams (48.39% heading into MNF) and the Cincinnati Bengals (46.77%).

That’s some pretty good company if you ask me.

Granted, we’re only 23.53% of the way through the season and a lot of things can change. But if this holds, it would be the highest conversion rate in the Pete Carroll era (by almost 10 full points) and a collosal improvement from the Jim Mora years.

Sunday’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints will be an interesting test as the Saints currently sit at #7 with a 3rd-down conversions against percentage of 32.76% which is just a hair behind the 49ers (32.5%, heading into Monday Night Football).

The Arizona Cardinals - Seattle’s Week 6 opponent, who also happens to be the Week 9 opponent - has allowed opponents to convert 43.24% of their 3rd-down attempts this season (24th league-wide).

The Los Angeles Chargers (Week 7) are currently 21st (42.00%), the New York Giants (Week 8) are currently 2nd (29.41%), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 10) are currently 20th (41.67%).

If the Seahawks get to their Week 11 bye and are still over 50%, things could get really interesting.

Post-bye, the only team Seattle faces that is currently ranked in the top-10 is the 49ers. The Las Vegas Raiders just barely miss the cut at #11. Finishing out our schedule: the Kansas City Chiefs are 16th, the Carolina Panthers are 17th, the Rams are 29th (haha!), and the New York Jets are 31st.

Bottom line: The Seattle Seahawks have been (mostly) killing it on 3rd down so far and if they can keep it up through their bye then they may be able to keep it up all year.

And wouldn’t that be something?

Go Hawks!