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The Seahawks offense has been surprisingly efficient through the first 3 games

According to ESPN, only 3 teams are more efficient than Seattle on offense.

Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

Thought No. 10 in Thursday’s 12 Thoughts article touched on the Seattle Seahawks offensive efficiency through the first three weeks of the season.

The main point of that thought was that the Seahawks currently have the 4th-most efficient offense - and that’s including (slash in spite of) the putrid performance Seattle had over the final thirty minutes of Week 1.

Today, we’re going to dig into that a little bit more.

Without any advance stats.

Just some basic math.

Here are the results from each of Seattle’s possessions over their first three games:

Week 1, Half 1: Field goal, touchdown, field goal, missed field goal.

Week 1, Half 2: Punt, punt, punt, punt, end of game.


Week 2, Half 1: Touchdown, punt, missed field goal, punt, missed field goal

Week 2, Half 2: Touchdown, field goal, touchdown, punt

Week 2, Overtime: Touchdown


Week 3, Half 1: Punt, field goal, field goal, field goal, interception, field goal, end of half

Week 3, Half 2: Field goal, touchdown, touchdown, punt, touchdown, end of game


Aside from the aforementioned putrid second half of Week 1, what stands out?

For me, it’s three things:

  1. Seattle has only turned the ball over once.
  2. The Seahawks are averaging 3 punts per game.
  3. Excluding the end of half and end of game possessions, Seattle has either put points on the board or missed a field goal on 19 of their 29 possessions (65.5%).

Now, let’s look at the three teams ahead of the Seahawks in the offensive efficiency rankings and see how they’ve done through the first three weeks:

No. 1: Miami Dolphins

  • Week 1: Fumble, touchdown, field goal, punt, touchdown, field goal, interception, touchdown, field goal, touchdown, end of game.
  • Week 2: Field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, punt, blocked field goal, punt, interception, touchdown, missed field goal, end of game.
  • Week 3: Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, downs, touchdown, touchdown, end of half, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, punt, touchdown, touchdown, downs.
  • Overall: Excluding end of half, end of game, and their final turnover on downs (since they took a knee on 4th down at Denver’s 27-yard line), Miami has had a scoring opportunity on 23 of their 32 possessions (71.9%).


No. 2: San Francisco 49ers

  • Week 1: Touchdown, field goal, touchdown, field goal, punt, end of half, touchdown, punt, fumble, punt, field goal, end of game.
  • Week 2: Touchdown, field goal, punt, touchdown, punt, field goal, touchdown, punt, field goal, punt.
  • Week 3: Field goal, punt, touchdown, touchdown, end of half, punt, field goal, field goal, touchdown, punt, end of game.
  • Overall: Excluding end of half and end of game possessions, San Francisco had an opportunity to score 18 of the 29 times they’ve had the ball (62.1%).


No. 3: Los Angeles Chargers

  • Week 1: Touchdown, punt, touchdown, punt, field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, field goal, downs.
  • Week 2: Punt, field goal, punt, touchdown, field goal, punt, touchdown, punt, punt, field goal, punt (in OT).
  • Week 3: Punt, touchdown, punt, fumble, touchdown, missed field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, downs, end of game.
  • Overall: Excluding the end of game possession in Week 3, the Chargers had a scoring opportunity on 16 of their 31 possessions (51.6%).

Now, before anyone bemoans the fact that Seattle’s percentage of scoring opportunities is better than both of the California teams above them in the rankings, allow me to point out that ESPN’s NFL Football Power Index uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate offensive efficiency and it’s a whole lot more complicated than the simple math I used in my calculations.

To elaborate on that, ESPN’s efficiency ratings use a 100-point scale “based on offense’s contribution to scoring margin on per-play basis, adjusted for strength of opposing defenses faced.”

ESPN’s efficiency score for Miami’s offense is 93.4; for the 49ers, it’s 81.6; for the Chargers, it’s 72.0; and for Seattle, it’s 67.7.

Note: The Dallas Cowboys are 5th with an efficiency score of 63.6. No other team is above 60 through the first three weeks.

Let’s take another look at the top four teams . . .


  • Miami: 17 - - including 10 last week (!!)
  • San Francisco: 9
  • LAC: 10
  • Seattle: 8

Field Goal Tries:

  • Miami: 6 - - 1 missed, 1 blocked
  • San Francisco: 9
  • LAC: 6 - - 1 missed
  • Seattle: 11 - - 3 missed

Note: For those that thought John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were crazy to take a kicker with the 99th pick in this year’s draft, Jake Moody has yet to miss a kick; he’s 9 for 9 on FGs, and 9 for 9 on PATs.


  • Miami: 5
  • San Francisco: 10
  • LAC: 12
  • Seattle: 9

Turnovers, including on downs:

  • Miami: 5 (2 on downs)
  • San Francisco: 1
  • LAC: 3 (2 on downs)
  • Seattle: 1

Let’s summarize that, shall we?

Of the four teams we’re looking at, the Seahawks have had the second-most scoring opportunities, the second-fewest punts, and are tied (with the Niners) for the fewest turnovers.

Hmmm . . .

Seems to me like they should be higher than fourth.

Just imagine if they hadn’t soiled the bed in the second half of Week 1 . . . and/or if they’d had their starting tackles the last two weeks . . . and/or if they were even just league-average on 3rd down.

Still . . . No. 4 ain’t bad.

Go Hawks!

Bonus Coverage

For grins, I took a look at Seattle’s Week 4 opponent, the New York Giants, to see how they are offensively.

Here are their game-by-game breakdowns:

  • Week 1 vs. the Cowboys: Blocked field goal (Dallas touchdown), punt, interception (Dallas touchdown), punt, interception, missed field goal, end of half, punt, downs, fumble, downs, end of game.
  • Week 2 vs. the Cardinals: Punt, punt, punt, interception, end of half, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal.
  • Week 3 vs. the 49ers: Field goal, punt, punt, field goal, punt, touchdown, punt, punt, interception, punt.
  • Summary: 5 touchdowns, 5 field goal tries (1 missed, 1 blocked), 12 punts, 7 turnovers (2 on downs), scoring opportunities on 10 of 29 possessions (34.5%).

And, on the other side of the ball, the Giants defense has an efficiency score of 21.5 which puts them at No. 30 overall - ahead of only the Chicago Bears (20.3) and Denver Broncos (13.3).

Here’s a breakdown of the Giants’ defensive performance (or lack thereof) the first three weeks:

  • Week 1: Provided scoring opportunities on 5 of 9 Dallas possessions; forced 3 punts and 1 turnover on downs.
  • Week 2: Provided scoring opportunities on 6 of 9 Arizona possessions; forced 3 punts.
  • Week 3: Allowed San Francisco to match Arizona’s possession line.
  • Summary: New York’s opponents have had scoring opportunities on 17 of their 27 possessions (63%).

Note: Before we chuckle at the Giants’ defensive woes, I’ll note that Seattle’s defense is only ranked 4 spots higher (No. 26 overall), albeit with an ESPN efficiency score of 38.6 which is almost double New York’s.


Last, but not least, we have the full set of rankings for the NFC West:

  • Arizona: 15th offensively, 17th defensively, 7th on special teams, No. 12 overall.
  • Los Angeles: 11th offensively, 24th defensively, 22nd on special teams, No. 19 overall.
  • San Francisco: 2nd offensively, 8th defensively, 23rd on special teams, No. 1 overall.
  • Seattle: 4th offensively, 26th defensively, 12th on special teams, No. 13 overall.

Yes, the Arizona Cardinals, who may be tanking (but probably aren’t), are ranked one spot ahead of the Seahawks overall - - and they “stole” our No. 12 to boot.


Go Hawks!