I put together a few offensive stats earlier this week, but in my subsequent research, I've made note of a few more surprising (or perhaps maybe not so surprising) Seahawks stats after 7 weeks. This post also piggybacks on Kenneth's weekly advanced stats post so apologies if I'm repeating some things he included in his report (this was written Wednesday night).
The Seahawks are one of seven NFL franchises right now with a team Passer Rating of over 100 (100.8). They trail Peyton Manning's Broncos, Philip Rivers' Chargers, Matt Ryan's Falcons, Aaron Rodgers' Packers, Drew Brees' Saints, and Tony Romo's Cowboys. Not a shabby list, and Russell Wilson (joined briefly by T-Jack) is ahead of the other "young" quarterbacks like Cam Newton (95.0), Andy Dalton (93.9), Andrew Luck (91.5), Colin Kaepernick (85.0), and Robert Griffin III (83.4).
If you don't like Passer Rating, let's look at a raw stat that really matters. The Seahawks are tied with New Orleans and Drew Brees in passing YPA at 8.3, trailing only Peyton Manning (8.8 YPA), Aaron Rodgers (8.7 YPA), and Philip Rivers (8.6 YPC). I would say that is decent company for Seattle's 2nd year QB.
The NFL League Median for yards per attempt is about 7.3. The bottom line? The Seahawks have a low volume, but effective passing game, and this is demonstrated by that excellent YPA.
Yards per game, yards per play
The Seahawks are 25th in the NFL in passing yards per game at 214.1 and 2nd in the NFL in rushing yardage per game at 154.4, trailing only the Eagles at 165.0 yards per game. This low mark in average passing yards per game is largely due to the fact that they only throw the ball 27.9 times per game thus far, good for 31st in the NFL (2nd fewest amount of throws per game, in other words). The only team that throws the ball less than Seattle is San Francisco, at 26.0 times per game. Think about that. Only one team throws less than the Seahawks.
However, the Seahawks offense averages 5.7 yards per play, good for 10th best in the NFL, which is fairly impressive considering how much Seattle runs the ball.
As I pointed out earlier this week, for context on that 5.7 yards per play: Out of the Seahawks' 433 offensive plays through seven games (they average 62 per game), the Seahawks have attempted 238 runs and 195 passes, meaning the Seahawks run the ball 55% of the time. The league median after seven games for the NFL is about a 41% run percentage. There is one team that runs more than Seattle as a percentage of total plays: the 49ers. San Francisco runs 56% of the time, but have attempted only 414 plays total (232 runs and 182 passes).
Also, interestingly, despite Seattle's philosophy of heavy running, ball control and limiting possessions, the offense is 10th in the NFL in yards per game at 368.6.
Which brings me to an interesting, yet obviously very basic stat: The Seahawks score 27.3 points per game, which is 5th best in the NFL. For all the obvious reasons I've spelled out above, that's pretty surprising and cool.
While acknowledging that defense & special teams do account for some points for each team, it's still very interesting to note that Seattle trails Denver (42.6), Chicago (30.4), Dallas (28.6), and Green Bay (28.0) in scoring.
The Seahawks have the #1 point differential in the NFC at +75. New Orleans is +58, and three-win Carolina is +56. NFL-wide, KC is +88 and DEN is +101.
Regarding the vaunted Seahawks defense, Football Outsiders ranks Seattle the #1 defense in the NFL, with Kansas City at #2.
Per FO, Seattle has the 2nd best pass defense and the 6th best run defense. KC has the best pass defense, and the 28th best run defense. Carolina, at #3, has the 3rd best pass defense and the 4th best run defense - which is very impressive. Carolina is Seattle's friend, as it would be nice for the Panthers to knock off the Saints and Niners when they play each in the upcoming weeks.
- The Seahawks' defense is ranked #1 in opponent yards per play at 4.5. The NFL Median is about 5.3.
- The Seahawks' defense ranks #2 in yards allowed (282.1) per game, trailing only Houston (267.7). The Texans and Seahawks are the only teams holding opponents to under 300 yards per game.
- The Seahawks' 3rd down defense is ranked 12th, at 37%, with league median about 38%. Remember how this went last year.
- The Seahawks are credited with 16 forced fumbles, best in the NFL, and have recovered 8, which ranks 2nd best (KC has recovered 9 fumbles).
- The Seahawks are 3rd in the NFL in opponent points allowed at 16.6 per game, and even if you take away Seattle's blocked field goal points (flukey), the Hawks would NOT rank ahead of Carolina at 13.8 points allowed per game and KC at 11.6 points allowed per game. Wow, Carolina's defense is legit (as is Kansas City's, but we mostly knew that).
- The Seahawks have allowed only 11 20+ yard passes, best in the NFL. The median team has allowed 23, and Denver has allowed 39.
- The Seahawks' defense ranks second in interceptions at 11, and only Buffalo has more with 12.
- The Seahawks' defense ranks second in opponent passer rating at 66.1, only KC is better at 64.9. The NFL league median is about 87.3. Jacksonville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Washington, and San Diego are all allowing over 100 in opponent passer rating.
- The Seahawks' defense ranks second in opponent passing yards per game at 190.6. Only Houston allows fewer passing yards per game (145.6 - wow). The NFL league median is about 244 yards allowed per game.
- The Seahawks' defense is tied for 4th in sacks with 23. The teams ahead of Seattle have all played 7 games (as has Seattle) and are Kansas City (35), Baltimore (25), and the Jets (24). The Bills also have 23 sacks.
- The Seahawks run defense is ranked 6th overall in yards per game at 91.6, and tied for 8th in YPC at 3.7. The median yards per game allowed is 105, and the median YPC is about 3.9.
- The Seahawks defense is tied for 5th in the NFL along with 9 other teams with two runs allowed of over 20 yards.
There are really only two to three areas where Seattle does not dominate:
(1) Third down defense. Now, they are above average at this point (12th), but not dominant. However, I think this is due to scheme and philosophy and a by-product of their refusal to give up explosive plays. They could blitz more and likely get more sacks and increase their 3rd down percentage - but they would possibly give up more big plays - which is not acceptable to Pete Carroll.
(2) Third down offense. The Hawks have been downright poor in 3rd down, poor in sacks allowed, poor in fumbles and average in the red zone. I think all of these offensive issues are related and mostly due to a lack of offensive line talent and injuries. Game planning, wide receiver execution, and Russell Wilson all share a bit in the blame as well for these 3rd down woes. However, I think Seattle may go on an upswing on 3rd down, which should eventually lift these stats closer to league average. Seattle's offense had its best 3rd down performance of the year in Arizona even despite their deficiencies along the offensive line in pass pro.
Some concluding thoughts:
We knew this defense was good. Based on the stats, they're very good. It shows up on film too - the Arizona game was dominated by the defense.
However, after collecting and looking at all these different stats, it's hard for the offensive numbers not to jump out at you. Maybe we are spoiled, with some of the historic blowouts from last year still fresh on our minds, but for all the perceived and real issues on the offensive line, Wilson's perceived and real struggles at times, and overall just a frustrating feeling of perceived or real missed opportunities on offense, that side of the ball is still producing at very high levels in some of the most important categories. Scoring. Yards per play. Yards per pass attempt. Yards per rush.