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Quick hitters on the Seahawks' 3rd Down offense

Jonathan Ferrey

The Seahawks have faced 29 3rd downs in their first two games, which is a bit more than their average in 2012 of about 12 or 13 per game.

As Jayson Jenks mentions in the Seattle Times, 14 of those 29 have been 3rd-and-10 or longer situations. Why? Well, a host of factors - and the blame can go around the offense - you can pin stuff on the offensive line, on the quarterback, and perhaps on the targets, but a lot of the blame is due to penalties.

Now, the offensive line can feel forced to false start and hold because they feel they can't handle the defensive line "straight up" - but that is something to explore on another day. Let's look quickly at the other 15 third downs that took place on 3rd and 9 or shorter.


Against Carolina, Russell Wilson had designed passes on all seven of the "3rd down and manageable" situations. He went 6/7 in those situations - not 6/7 in completions - but 6/7 in CONVERSIONS. The one he missed was a play he ended up scrambling for 3 yards or so when he could have checked down to Robert Turbin but kept it himself, but 6 for 7 is very good work for any QB in that specific category. Ultimately Wilson wants to have a high percentage of conversions on 3rd down but no quarterback will succeed at a high rate in 3rd and 10 or more.

Wilson was staring downfield for the kill-shot the play he missed (wasn't panicking and staring at the rush).

Here's what I wrote about Wilson's third down performance from Week 1: Seahawks third down analysis vs. Carolina - Field Gulls

Against San Francisco, Russell Wilson and the offense had eight 3rd and 9 or better situations.

Three of the eight ended up being designed runs - one to Marshawn Lynch that he doesn't convert on 3rd and 1, one to Ware on a 3rd and 7 where Seattle was up big and just running out the clock, and the last one was the quarterback sneak where Russell Okung hurt his toe.

Of the other five "3rd and manageables" (3rd and 9 or better) Wilson went 3/5 on conversions.

He hit Sidney Rice on the "spin the ball penalty" play (where Eric Reid was concussed), which went for 13 yards on a 3rd and 8 in a two-minute drill. He hit Golden Tate on that shovel pass on 3rd and 4 for 19 yards. Rice got a holding penalty after the completion of the 1st down - which brought it back - but the 1st down stood. Russell also hit Lynch for the "walk-pause- walk-in" 7-yard touchdown on 3rd and 4 in the face of the San Francisco blitz.

Russell misfired on a 3rd and 6 to Sidney Rice on the opening drive, and again missed on 3rd and 4 on the SF 19 yard line after the Richard Sherman interception.

Russell also converted a giant play to Baldwin for 51 yards on a non-"manageable" 3rd and 12 in the third quarter. This play has been the lone (non-penalty aided) conversion of the fourteen 3rd and 10 or longer situations the Seahawks have had this season.

All in all, in "manageable" situations (3rd and 9 or less) outside of a designed run or kneel-down, Russell Wilson has been 9/12 (75%) on 3rd downs in the first two games.

We are not asking for miracles on 1st and 2nd down - again - this is not a 3rd and 4 or better analysis, this is 3rd and 9 or better, and Russell Wilson has been solid. Just get him one yard and get him to 3rd and 9.

Something to watch for versus Jacksonville, if the Seahawks can stay out of 3rd and long, I suspect their 3rd down offense could be north of 50% on Sunday.