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Seahawks vs. Bengals: PFF Signature Stats bonanza

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Blue Friday everyone. The hay is just about in the barn, and the Seahawks took off to Cincy this afternoon. We've got a little time to kill before gameday, so here's a quick look at some of Pro Football Focus' Signature Stats, courtesy of Jim Seki, who I've enjoyed working with.

One thing that has been talked about recently is Seattle's lack of sacks this year. The Seahawks have only six sacks (23rd - NFL) despite having two of the most disruptive pass rushers in the NFL in Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril (who both have racked up tons of hurries and quarterback hits this year). So, once again, "finishing" seems to be an issue for the Seattle defense this year, and there could be a number of reasons for this.

My first thought was that perhaps the Seahawks are simply facing teams that pass so quickly that getting sacks is near-impossible. Turns out that little theory is wrong.

Per Jim's research (and a huge thanks to him for looking this up for me), Seattle's opposing quarterbacks have taken 2.85 seconds to throw on average, third slowest in the NFL. Here is the chart Jim put together:

Opposing quarterbacks time to throw:
Team Opp time to throw
BUF 2.22
DET 2.28
DEN 2.32
CIN 2.37
BLT 2.37
CAR 2.43
WAS 2.43
ATL 2.49
PHI 2.50
DAL 2.52
CLV 2.55
OAK 2.55
MIN 2.56
MIA 2.57
TB 2.58
IND 2.59
KC 2.60
PIT 2.60
ARZ 2.60
SD 2.61
SL 2.61
JAX 2.62
NYG 2.62
CHI 2.63
NYJ 2.76
SF 2.76
HST 2.78
TEN 2.78
GB 2.81
SEA 2.85
NE 2.96
NO 3.04

So, what does this mean? Well, on one hand, it feels like Seattle's obsession with "moving a quarterback off their spot" could be a factor here. Forcing a quarterback to move does make the time to throw increase, and the idea here is to throw off the timing of those quick throws and force more improvisation from the thrower and receivers. The last two weeks' defensive performances have been good examples of how this method can be successful.

On the other hand, is this worrisome? Even with the ball coming out of opposing quarterbacks' hands at the third-slowest rate, Seattle is nearly last in sacks this year.

I have noticed that Seattle seems to rush their two outside guys deep on most snaps (just off the top of my head -- I could be wrong), forcing the quarterback to step up into the pocket and "re-set" their feet and re-set the pocket. In Aaron Rodgers and Nick Foles' cases, they made some pretty nice throws from there, but obviously Jimmy Clausen and for the most part Matt Stafford struggled.

Is this all by design or is it something worth worrying about? Something to keep an eye on going forward. Jim noted he plans to keep an eye on it for us.

Signature stats:

-- Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson are pretty much even in %YIA (the percentage of passing yards that come before the catch, i.e. "air yards"). Both are middle of the pack on the year with Wilson at 56.9% and Dalton at 54.3%.

This is pretty interesting, actually, in that Wilson's air-yard percentage is higher than Dalton's. Dalton is leading the NFL in passes of 20+ yards, so this tells you that Wilson is doing a nice job of making throws downfield. Take a look at Zach Whitman's deep-dive into this area as well.

-- While he's off to a great start with his deep passing accuracy at 60.0%, Dalton has never finished the year above 40.0%. He's connected on half of his 20 attempts, four of which went for touchdowns.

This will be a stat that could go down quite a bit this week if the Seahawks do what they've done over the past few years. Seattle hates getting beat deep so they will be ready for Dalton to throw it up, and if they can get their hands on a few or even intercept a few, that could be a big difference in this game.

-- Big time to attempt difference — Wilson at 2.58 seconds (seventh-longest) while Dalton is only at 2.32 seconds (fourth-fastest).

Not surprising at all. I wonder if Wilson's number there will creep up as the Seahawks focus on getting the ball out quickly in front of a porous offensive line.

-- Wilson is the third-most accurate QB when under pressure with a 77.1% accuracy rate. Through four weeks, Wilson ranks second in pressure rate and seventh in sack rate.

He's surviving, even thriving, under pressure. Good thing.

-- YPRR (Yards per route run) breakdown by position:



A.J. Green


Jermaine Kearse


Mohamed Sanu


Doug Baldwin


Marvin Jones


Tyler Lockett


Tyler Eifert


Luke Willson


Jimmy Graham


Rex Burkhead


Marshawn Lynch


Gio Bernard


AJ Green is good.

-- Geno Atkins ranks fifth among DTs in run stop rate at 13.0. However teammates Domata Peko and Pat Sims are in the bottom half of DT run stop rate rankings. Furthermore MLB Rey Maualuga is 35th of 50 ILBs at 6.0 and is averaging one run stop/game. If the Seahawks can block Atkins/scheme away from him, the interior run defense of the Bengals could be vulnerable.

Thomas Rawls and Fred Jackson could be major factors in this game.

-- Bobby Wagner is allowing 1.61 yards/coverage snap, allowing 17 receptions on 18 targets. His -4.0 coverage grade is fifth-worst among ILBs. He's on pace for 72 targets, easily eclipsing his career-high 59 targets back in 2013. It should also be noted that he has always finished with a positive coverage grade at the end of the season.

This is likely skewed toward the first two games, where the Seahawks' linebackers really struggled in coverage and gave up tons of yardage. I'll make sure to check back in on this stat again because it feels like Bobby's been much better in his zone drops the past two weeks (and obviously the entire defense has been way more suffocating).