The final defensive play of Monday night's game says all you need to know about what Kam Chancellor has means to the team. But the big negative was the the six sacks suffered by quarterback Russell Wilson.
Our usual morning-after review of some Seahawks notes, stats and numbers is a little delayed due to the Monday night game and all that entailed. But better late than never as we look at Kam Chancellor’s impact in the two games he has played, the sack totals, and more.
— The final defensive play of Monday night’s game says all you need to know about what Chancellor has meant to the team since ending his 54-day holdout. Still, the numbers are also telling. Chancellor has been on the field for 89 plays since returning — recall he sat out 10 plays against the Bears, including most of Chicago’s best offensive series.
In the 89 plays he has been on the field, opponents have gained 344 yards. That’s an average of 3.86 yards, more than half-a-yard better than that of the Denver Broncos, who lead the NFL in yards per play allowed at 4.4. It is also more than two yards per play better than what Seattle allows when Chancellor has not been on the field. In the 128 plays opponents have run without Chancellor on the field, Seattle has allowed 771 yards, an average of 6.02. That would rank 27th in the NFL, between the 5.9 of New England and the 6.1 of Atlanta (a really surprising number given the success so far of the Falcons, though the fact that Atlanta has been way ahead in a lot of its games undoubtedly has played a role).
No question, the teams Seattle has faced with Chancellor are not as good as the teams the Seahawks faced without him. Since Chancellor returned, Seattle has played the Bears and Detroit, a combined 1-7, while facing Green Bay and St. Louis, a combined 6-2, without him. And both games with Chancellor have been at home, while the two without him have been on the road. Still, the difference in the numbers can’t be all due to circumstance. We’ll find out for sure Sunday, when Seattle plays at Cincinnati against a 4-0 Bengals team that is one of the best in the NFL in most offensive categories.
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— The big negative of Monday’s game was the the six sacks suffered by quarterback Russell Wilson. There will be much discussing and breaking down of the reasons for those sacks all week. Is it all the line? Is Wilson to blame for not stepping up enough or getting rid of the ball quickly enough? Are the receivers getting open quickly enough? It won’t be a surprise if the coaches say it’s a combination of all three.
Still, the number are what they are — Seattle has allowed 18 sacks, second-most in the NFL behind the 19 of Kansas City. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was sacked five times Sunday by the Cincinnati team the Seahawks are now preparing to play next Sunday.
Being sacked 18 times through four games puts Wilson on a pace for 72 for the season, which would break the Seattle season record of 67 set in 1992 by the trio of Stan Gelbaugh (sacked 34 times), Kelly Stouffer (26) and Dan McGwire (seven). That was also maybe the worst season in Seattle history, as the Seahawks went 2-14 and scored just 140 points. Despite everything, this year’s team is on pace for 348 points, an above-average pace historically.
And being sacked 18 times also puts Wilson on a pace to challenge the NFL record. That mark was set by Houston’s David Carr with 76 in 2002— four more than the pace Wilson is on. Next on the list is Randall Cunningham, with 72 in 1986, followed by Carr again with 68 in 2005. (And to clarify — two teams have had allowed more sacks in a season than Carr was sacked —the Eagles allowed 104 as a team in 1986 and Arizona 78 in 1997).
And while Wilson has not been sacked as often as K.C.’s Smith, he has been sacked at a higher rate, going down on 12.41 percent of passes compared to 11.73 of Smith. Seattle’s sack rate was 8.98 in 2014.
— The Seahawks, who last year scored 20 rushing touchdowns, don’t have any through four games, one of just three teams without one. The others are Miami, which just fired its coach, and Jacksonville, which is 1-3 and has scored the second-fewest points in the NFL at 62 (one fewer than the 63 of the Dolphins). Seattle has scored just five offensive touchdowns, getting two on special teams and another on defense.
— Seattle also has yet to get an interception in four games, just two years removed from getting 28 in 2013. That was the third-highest total in team history (the record is 38 by the 1984 team which had 63 takeaways, which ranks second in NFL history). No doubt there are some mitigating circumstances. To name one, opponents have thrown just 112 passes against the Seahawks, which is the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Seattle also played Aaron Rodgers, who rarely throws picks anywhere and almost never at home. And there has to be something to the idea that teams aren’t trying to get downfield as much anymore against Seattle, especially since the 2013 season. Still, that’s a surprising number given the reputation of the Legion of Boom. Seattle should get plenty of chances again this week against the Bengals and Andy Dalton, who has thrown just one interception this season.
— The Detroit game was the first this season when the Seahawks officially had more runs than passes, with 31 rushes for 110 yards compared to 26 pass attempts for 287. But throw in the six sacks and the passes outnumber the runs, and a few of Wilson’s 10 official rushes also were scrambles after pass plays. Despite that, Seattle still has an uncommon pass-to-run ratio of 55.34 percent.That ranks just 22nd in the NFL, but is significantly above the 48 percent of last season.
— I’m sure I’ll bring this up again, but the game against the Bengals presents a number of really intriguing stats. Consider that the Bengals rank third in the NFL in passing yards at 1,176 while alternately ranking 32nd in pass-run ratio, throwing it just 48.76 percent of the time, barely above the 48.41 of Seattle last year, when the Seahawks were the most run-heavy offense in the NFL. The key for Cincy is an offense that is averaging 10.1 yards per pass attempt, by far the highest in the NFL. Arizona is next at 8.5 (the Seahawks are 15th at 6.9 with the 49ers at the bottom at 5.5).