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Seahawks advanced stats, Week 4: A rest for development

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The Seahawks were coasting but no time for boasting; these Broncos needed an extra five minutes of roasting.

We push through
We push through
Steve Dykes

As far as being shabby goes, this was not too much of it. The Seattle Seahawks enter their bye week at 2-1, and considering the circumstances I think everyone should be very happy about that record after going up against Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and Peyton Manning to start the season. Now, red rover red rover, send Eli on over!

The Seahawks slate of upcoming QBs after the bye is scheduled to be " Mr. Dough" Kirk Cousins (because he's fast-rising), "Santa Claus" Tony Romo (because he'll be gone before January), "The Mysterious Mole" Austin Davis (because how did he get here and should I be worried about it?), "The WWII Museum" Cam Newton (once deadly, the weapons are not armed anymore), "The 5 second rule" Derek Carr (because it doesn't count in the preseason), before getting to Eli "Discount double picks" Manning.

Manning has thrown eight interceptions over his last two games against Seattle dating back to 2011.

When the schedule was announced many people were upset about having such an early bye, but it's really become sort of a "relatively fair happenstance" since the other teams with a week off are the Broncos, Bengals, Cardinals, Rams, and Browns. That means that arguably the four best teams in football have the week off.


Another benefit to the early week off is that once we get through it, that means that the Seahawks are contractually obligated to give us football for the next 13 weeks at minimum, including on Thanksgiving. And don't break that contract you knuckleheads! (The week off has been very fortuitous for me, because I'll be in Dallas watching the Saints-Cowboys Sunday night game from the press box. You never know, they might even ask me to sub for Chris Collinsworth.)

There's been time to reflect on the Seahawks win over Denver, and there will be a little "overtime" of reflection with the bye. So take some time and read the following words on stats, probabilities, and Russell C. Wilson.

Seahawks vs Broncos, Win Probability Chart (via Pro-Football-Reference)


This is a game that the Seahawks had in check for 90% of the second half, only really getting questionable when the Broncos were at the Seattle 23 with 3 minutes to go and Peyton Manning had 1st-and-10. At that point the Seahawks were "only" 65% to win, their lowest chances of winning since it was tied 3-3 in the second quarter.

Unconscionably, Denver runs the ball with Montee Ball, something that had failed all day, and they lose a yard. On 2nd-and-11, Manning goes to Demaryius Thomas and Richard Sherman thwaps that idea out of existence. And on 3rd-and-11, Kam Chancellor snags a prize for himself like the Broncos offense is nothing more than a claw machine and he takes that stuffed Droopy Dog doll 52 yards the other way. Legion of whoomp there it is.

This is why Seattle is the best team in football right now. With the game on the line, you almost want the other team with the ball because it's so unlikely that they'll do shit against this defense. These cats are phenomenal and every inch of the defense got an opportunity to prove themselves on that game-winning defensive stop.

At this point the Seahawks are 100% probable to win the game. In the interest of possibilities, we'll say they are 99.99999% then, fine, whatever. Obviously the game is over. Whatever. Who cares about the .000001%?

And then we found out that there's only one true "100%."

Play of the Game

Overtime, Marshawn Lynch, six yards, touchdown.

There's a lot of different ways you could go here and I never usually go with the most obvious, but six-yard touchdown runs are not easy and if Seattle had settled for a field goal in overtime, they very well may have lost this game. I don't want to find out if Manning discovered something exploitable on that last drive that would have made it an easy Denver six on the ensuing drive.

Lynch had 26 carries for just 88 yards, but Seattle needed all of them to win.

Since 2011, Lynch is first in touchdown runs, total touchdowns, carries, and second in yards. He's got four more rushing touchdowns than second-place Adrian Peterson and six more total touchdowns than second-place Jimmy Graham.

The Sea-Hottie and the Sea-Nottie (chart via Advanced NFL Stats)


There's so much we could talk about here. Such as:

- K.J. Wright rebounded after a terrible game against the Chargers.

- Bobby Wagner now leads the NFL in total tackles with 35.

- Kevin Williams has proven to be a great bargain find for the defensive line, while Jordan Hill is contributing positively as well.

- Percy Harvin doesn't produce huge gains often, but on the game-winning drive of OT, he caught three first downs.

- Lynch is fuckin' dope.

Now we did the briefly, here's the longingly.

Sea-Hottie: Kam Chancellor

This is an easy one ... Chancellor was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his nine-tackle, one interception performance. In his last two games against the Broncos, Chancellor has feasted on Peyton Manning like he was the torso of Vernon Davis; he has 19 tackles, two interceptions, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble. Some say he was the also the right choice for Super Bowl MVP.

Right now Chancellor may be the very early favorite for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. More on that later.

Sea-You There: Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett

The Seahawks Fly-namic Duo of Avril and Bennett continue to rack up league-leading numbers with "backpage stats." Despite the fact that most people really only pay attention to sack totals, the truth is that when you pressure the QB, you often force mistakes and forcing mistakes is at least as important as a five-yard loss.

Bennett was unreal on Sunday, totaling four QB hits and three QB hurries. He now leads all 4-3 DEs in QB hits with six. On the downside, Bennett did have a penalty and two missed/broken tackles. Opposite of him was his Bro-regard Avril, who posted three QB hurries and two tackles, both of which were "stops" (a tackle that represents an offensive failure, like a sack or tackle-for-loss.)

Avril now leads all 4-3 DEs in QB hurries, with 12.

Meanwhile, O'Brien Schofield was saying to himself, "Shit, that looks fun. Can I?" and finished with two QB hits, one QB hurry, and one stop. But wait, there's more. Rookie Cassius Marsh played just 20 snaps (59 for Bennett, 58 for Avril, 41 for Schofield) and had four tackles with two stops.

Sea-Nottie: Two poor plays from Russell Wilson

There were two obvious mistakes from Wilson, one of which ended in an offensive pass interference to avoid an interception and the other which was just simply Wilson's first interception in his last seven games. I think that the advanced sites that are saying Wilson's having a poor season (ProFootballFocus has given him negative grades all year while ESPN's QBR has him 23rd) are wrong, but he's certainly forced some questionable throws.

It's really not a whole lot different than the criticism of Sherman. Wilson's leading the league in QB rating and people are criticizing a couple of mistakes. He's young, he's damn-near Doogie Howser with his advanced understanding of the game, his stats are on point, and he's leading the offense on game-winning drives on the reg.

If he cleans up those mistakes, he's unquestionably "elite."

More young stars than 'The Outsiders' DVOA Update (via Football Outsiders)


I stretched this out from 10 to 12 this week not as a Seattle status symbol, but so that you could see the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals right now are like the Atlanta Falcons of a few years ago and perhaps the Bengals of the past few seasons in that they don't dominate in anything. A jack of all trades, a master at nothing. You typically have to be dominant at something in this league -- typically passing offense or defense in this era -- and right now Arizona has Drew Stanton at quarterback, while Patrick Peterson hasn't looked good.

The Cards ranked 17th in Net Yards per Pass Attempt on offense and also 17th on NY/A allowed on defense. Meanwhile, the first place Bengals have taken that step up to the next level and rank 1st in that category on offense and 2nd on defense.

Now there are a number of other facts to consider here, like that it's a small sample size, opponent adjustment, injuries, the fact that Tyrann Mathieu hasn't played much and looks to be playing hurt or without much confidence, that Peterson will probably get better, or that Carson Palmer should return, but the reason that I'm not freaking out about Arizona's 3-0 start is clearly represented in their (D)VOA ranking of 12th.

That being said, it doesn't mean that a team ranked in the bottom 22 can't become number one. That's exactly what happened to the Hawks in 2012.

This week, the Seahawks move up one spot to fourth in (D)VOA (the D gets added next week that's what she said?) behind the Bengals, Falcons, and Broncos. Yes Seattle is behind Denver, but a lot of teams are behind a lot of other teams that they have beaten this season. That's just how it works, especially this early in the year. Whereas in previous years a team like the Seahawks were dominant in all three phases of the game, we're not seeing that yet in 2014.

The Saints are first in offense but 31st in defense.

The Patriots are first in defense but 23rd on offense.

The Falcons are first in special teams but 17th in defense.

And Seattle is second on offense but just 21st on special teams, an area they typically excel at but Steven Hauschka has missed a field goal already, while Bryan Walters is literally the punt returner after Earl Thomas was 2 Proud 2 Fair Catch.

A lot of things will change in these rankings between now and Week 17, one of which will probably be the Seahawks special teams performance I'd imagine, but these rankings seem like a mostly fair representation of the first three weeks.



Seattle might be in second place in the NFC West but the Cards aren't anywhere to be seen on the top five play-odds report. Instead, the defending champion Seahawks have the fourth-best chances to make the postseason and tied for third to win the Super Bowl. In the AFC, Cincinnati has an easier path to the playoffs, a perfect record, and therefore the best current odds to win it all.

A couple of sleeping giants here: The Patriots are first in defense, tied for first in the AFC East again, and could be dangerous if Danny Amendola ever decides to try again. Or at least, try to try.

And I know that nobody around here likes to hear it, but the 49ers have lost to the Bears (5th in DVOA) based on a weakness (Jimmie Ward) that was exploited in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals in Arizona. Do I have a lot of faith in the Seahawks winning in Arizona? Not really. I mean, I expect them to, but that's definitely one of the hardest games on the schedule.

They get Aldon Smith back with seven games to go and then NaVorro Bowman at some point. If they make the playoffs, they'll be the same old hateable Niners you've come to hate hate hate. Not just for what they stand for but also because they're good.

Stat of the Week

Back to Chancellor and his DPOY chances. A secondary player has won the award in four of the last 10 seasons -- Troy Polamalu, Charles Woodson, Bob Sanders, Ed Reed -- and while Earl Thomas gets much of the credit for what his presence brings to the defense as a whole, Chancellor is putting up the numbers that voters will like even more.

Stat of the Week: Over his last eight games, including playoffs, Chancellor has 81 tackles, four interceptions. and five passes defensed. In that time, Seattle has faced Peyton Manning twice, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, and Kellen Clemens.

If Chancellor managed 150 tackles and say five interceptions and three forced fumbles, and the Seahawks won 13 games with a top three defense, with his reputation as a "Heart of Darkness" on the field, you'd think he'd be a viable candidate for the award. It doesn't necessarily mean he is the best defensive player in the league (Luke Kuechly wasn't) or even on the Seattle defense, but he'd make a great candidate.

Russell Wilson stats update

In Week 3: 24-of-34, 258 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 99.9 rating, 7.59 Y/A, nine rushes for 40 yards, one catch for 17 yards, 47 Total DYAR (18th among QBs)

What a game means:

FootballOutsiders described Wilson's game as either "very good or very bad" because he mixed in some particularly excellent drives with some unfortunately inept ones. Not only was his late-game interception a seemingly poor decision (or throw or both) but he was bailed out on another would-be pick. Was this Wilson's best game? No, obviously not. Do the would-be interceptions from Week 1 or Week 3 worry me? Not really.

Every QB has interceptions that aren't interceptions because the defender drops the ball or the QB gets bailed out by his receiver. The reason that Wilson has the eighth-lowest interception rate this season (1.1%) is because overall he makes good, sound decisions with accurate throws. The players that tend to throw a lot of interceptions get bailed out too, but they make mistakes much more often.

Let's also consider that Denver intentionally revamped their secondary over the offseason to combat players like Wilson in a way that they were unable to in the Super Bowl. And he still looked pretty great.

Wilson had two touchdowns for the third time in three games this season. His 19 two-TD games since the start of 2012 is tied for the fifth-most in the NFL over that time period. His 19 career two-TD games is now tied for the 10th-most ever in a player's first three seasons.

Wilson is the only player this year to post a QB rating of 99.9 or greater in each of the first three games.

On the season: 60-of-87, 69%, 651 yards, six touchdowns, one interception, 7.5 Y/A, 8.3 AY/A, rating of 108.9, 54.22 QBR, six sacks for 42 yards lost, 18 rushes for 87 yards, 16th in DYAR, 18th in DVOA, 23rd in QBR

What a season means:

Wilson now leads the NFL in passer rating. No player has ever posted a passer rating of 100+ in each of his first three seasons, but Wilson could be the first.

His completion percentage is a career-high, his yards per game is a career-high, and his sack% is down from 9.8 to 6.5. However, his 7.5 Y/A is a career-low, down from 8.2 last season. This is at least partly due to the fact that Wilson doesn't have an especially long ... bomb. His 39-yard touchdown pass to Lockette the Rocket was his longest pass of the season.

30 other players, including TJ Yates and Mohamed Sanu, have a longer pass this season.

In his career: 569-of-887, 64.1%, 7,126 yards, 58 TD, 20 INT, 101.4 rating, 8.0 Y/A, 54.22 QBR, 1,115 rushing yards with five touchdowns, 5.4 yards per carry

Russell is now 26-9 in his regular season career. That's as many wins as Peyton had over his first three years. The record for QB wins in first three years is 33, by Dan Marino. It doesn't matter if 'QB Wins' is a good stat or not, I want it.

His completion percentage is the third-highest in history for a player's first three seasons with a minimum of 750 attempts. The only two players above him actually played six consecutive seasons for the same team: Kurt Warner from 1999-2001 and Marc Bulger from 2002-2004.

Wilson is now 19-1 in his career at home.

The Seahawks return in Week 5 for a road matchup against the Washington Redskins, where he'll face off against that 2012 draft pick he was compared to so much and is now leading the league in adjusted yards per attempt and yards per game. Nope, not Robert Griffin.

How weird are sports?