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Breaking down the Seahawks red zone situations over the last four games

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I looked at the failed red zone situations for the Seahawks over the past four games below.

Cowboys:

1st Quarter

1-10 - Dallas 13: Lynch up the middle for 4 yards
2-6 - Dallas 9: Lynch left tackle for 1 yard
3-5 - Dallas 8: Wilson incomplete to Kearse.

On this play, Tyler Lockett and Jimmy Graham are running a rub on the left side; Graham is going into the end zone and Lockett is underneath. I believe Graham is the 1st read, but as the play unfolds, he is bracketed by two defenders and Lockett is alone underneath, short of the sticks. Wilson decides against the underneath throw to Lockett, and then resets and scrambles right as Garry Gilliam has allowed pressure. The ball falls to the turf as Wilson tries to improvise to Kearse in the end zone.

At the end of the Dallas game, trailing 12-10, Seattle did not convert a touchdown in the Red Zone, but they were playing the clock and the field goal more than going "all out" for the touchdown.

49ers:

Against San Francisco, the official box score does not count the Interception thrown by Russell Wilson right before halftime as a Red Zone opportunity, even though the play was from the 20 yard line. I assume they don't count it a red zone if perhaps it was on the "20.5" yard line. Seattle converted their lone official red zone opportunity versus San Francisco when Lynch smashed the ball in on the opening drive.

Panthers:

Against Carolina, Seattle was 1-of-3 in the Red Zone, when Lynch carried the ball for a 1 yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter. The other two situations were as follows:

1st Quarter:

1-10 - Carolina 17: Wilson pass short right to Graham for 0 yards
2-10 - Carolina 17: Lynch left guard for 4 yards
3-6 - Carolina 13: Wilson scrambles left guard for 1 yard**

4th Quarter

1-10 - Carolina 16: Lynch right tackle for 2 yards
2-8 - Carolina 14: Lynch left tackle for -1 yard
3-9 - Carolina 15: Wilson sacked for -10 yards by Thomas Davis

Bengals:

Against Cincinnati, the Seahawks were 0-for-2 in the Red Zone. Marshawn Lynch did not play in this game. On one of the situations, the Seahawks were trying to rush down the field on an 82-yard drive with 0:54 to go before halftime. On 1st and 10 from the Cincinnati 28 and 9 seconds to go, Wilson hit Graham underneath for 22 yards. Seattle was then set up 1st and 10 from the 6 yard line but with only 2 seconds left. They called a timeout and kicked a field goal.

The other Red Zone situation came in the 3rd Quarter:

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1-10 - Cincinnati 16: Wilson's pass to the short middle intended for Graham is intercepted by Adam Jones. It's a bad pass (and the Bengals only had 11 players on the field) but I like the idea of passing here on 1st down.

A few thoughts:

The Seahawks' offense is truly defined by three highly-paid and highly-decorated players: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Jimmy Graham.

The official score sheet says the Seahawks are 2-of-8 in the Red Zone over the last four games, but when you take out the last series against Dallas and series before half against Cincinnati (playing for field goal in both) they are 2 of 6. That' 33-percent, and still not good.

If you read the play by play -- the plays are dominated by "The Big 3": Wilson, Graham and Lynch. The Seahawks are trying to use, and will continue to lean on, their best players. Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin are probably not what you consider as traditional red zone threats.

One thing I do think the Seahawks should go away from, when they are not in a Goal-to-Go situation (on the yard-lines in the "teens"), I would not do the "RUN-RUN-PASS" pattern they've used frequently. They may need to pass earlier in the down and distance before the Goal-to-Go situation to try to avoid the 3rd and manageable down and distance from the "13 yard line". You want to incorporate Marshawn Lynch as a key part of your Red Zone package, but not necessarily on two runs in non Goal-to-Go down and distances.

The Seahawks are getting by in their scoring using the leg of Steven Hauschka this season, who has been incredible. They have also been scoring from outside the red zone: a 22 Yard touchdown pass by Luke Willson, a 60+ touchdown run by Thomas Rawls, a 30 yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse, a 60+ yard bomb to Tyler Lockett vs the 49ers, and a 40+ yard double pass to Ricardo Lockette vs the Panthers.

I expect to see an improvement in the Seahawks Red Zone numbers in the second half of the season from the 5-of-17 clip (29%) they laid down in the first eight games.