As we do every week, here are a few notes and tidbits on the Seahawks' recent performance, from Pro Football Focus' Jim Seki. His notes in italics, and my comments follow.
-- Arizona blitzed Wilson on 17 of his 40 drop-backs, with Wilson grading at -2.0 on those throws with a completion rate of 28.6%.
It's no surprise that the Cardinals blitzed the hell out of Seattle, and it's no surprise that Russell Wilson struggled with it. Wilson's been good under pressure but his numbers dip when he's blitzed, and Sunday Night was worse than anyone probably could've predicted. Wilson finished the game 14 of 32 (44%) so his completion percentage on blitzes was always going to be low, but 28% is bad. Wilson needs to improve dramatically in this area, obviously. That means better recognition pre-snap, getting the ball out more quickly and decisively, and better accuracy when he does throw.
-- Jimmy Graham graded at -4.7, the worst of his career. He was targeted eight times and had two drops.
Yeesh. Yeah, it was bad. In addition to those two bad drops, Graham got a holding call on a bootleg play (one of those six first down penalties that killed Seattle in this game). It was a bad game for Graham, but not one that makes me worry about his long-term ability.
-- The tackles graded out well, Gilliam at +2.3 and Okung at +1.4. Both their grades were boosted by their good pass blocking. The interior of the line was a different story. Britt, Lewis, and Sweezy combined for 11 quarterback hurries.
This is encouraging to hear about the play from the two tackles, but again, that interior pressure on Wilson has been killer. You may have noticed Carson Palmer evade the rush by confidently stepping up and around either Avril or Irvin on the outside, and those plays worked for Arizona because things held up on the interior on those particular snaps. You may have also noticed that the two of Arizona's turnovers came when Seattle got pressure up the middle, forcing fumbles by Palmer.
Interior stability in pass protection is huge. This isn't new, but this was very apparent this week. Wilson needs to get some protection up the middle if he's ever going to evolve into a player that consistently steps up into the pocket to deliver.
-- Seahawks called a season-low 12 runs (previous low was 20) and have called a pass-first game this season (run heavy each of the past 4 yrs)
Part of this was the fact that Seattle dropped behind 22-7 early on, but this tweet by Mike Clay did stand out to me because it has felt like the Seahawks don't really have the same identity as last year. What is the Seahawks' identity right now? Is it Russell Wilson's passing game? It's certainly not Marshawn Lynch's run game.
-- Last night marked the first game this season in which the Seahawks scored more than two offensive touchdowns.
That's pretty cool, honestly. A step in the right direction, I guess. Too bad it came in a losing effort.
-- Cliff Avril (+6.1) and Michael Bennett (+5.9) dominated the game, each registering five quarterback hurries. Both Avril and Bennett rank in the top three for 4-3 DE grading and QB hurries.
These dudes are so good. Can't say enough about either of them. If Seattle wasn't so inconsistent as a team, we'd be hearing about Avril and Bennett as All Pro candidates. They still may be All Pros, but you know how it goes... this is a 4-5 team.
-- The secondary got torched— Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor all allowed five receptions. Including Cary Williams, the four of them graded at a combined -5.8. Carson Palmer attempted 18 throws over 10 yards ... and connected on 14 of them.
Palmer seriously balled out in this game.
-- Carson Palmer was pressured on a Week 10-high 63% of dropbacks, and was accurate on 76% of those throws (239 yards and 2 TD).
Again, great pressure, but Palmer played lights out.
-- Richard Sherman defended 51 pass routes against the Cardinals. All 51 came at left corner.
No traveling, I guess. Not sure why, but this was clearly not a great game for Sherm.
-- As expected, Patrick Peterson did not shadow last week for the first time this season. Expect him to be back at it vs. AJ Green this week. In 45 coverage snaps vs Seattle, Patrick Peterson was thrown at just once. Incomplete.
Patrick Peterson did not shadow anyone for the first time this season. That says something, I think.
-- Wilson had the second-worst completion rate for Week 10 at 43.8%.
-- On throws over 20 yards, Palmer had Week 10-leading 75.0% accuracy rate, connecting for three touchdowns.
Again, dude was nails.
-- The offensive line allowed 17 QB hurries, but the Cardinals allowed nearly double that at 30. The Seattle defense also had five QB hits, second-most this week.
So, again, great effort by the Seahawks' pass rush, and they were in Palmer's face all day. Huge credit obviously for forcing those two turnovers (including the Bobby Wagner touchdown), but Palmer took advantage of the times when he wasn't getting sacked by throwing touchdowns. There was a lot of talk this past week about how Palmer might be the most accurate deep passer in the NFL right now, and there was nothing in that game to make me think otherwise.
Opponent Time To Throw:
We've talked about the opponent time to throw all year and after Seattle's matchup with Arizona, their number dropped slightly (opposing quarterback took slightly less time to throw). That's a number you want to see continue to drop.