Stats Don’t Lie Part II-Post Season Edition
As a part-time statistician, I’m grateful to my home team that the Seattle Seahawks have been in the post season for the past four seasons. This is enough data that I can look at the first two seasons when we went to the playoffs and the last two seasons, which didn’t consist of all of the Superbowl hyperbole.
If you read my first data blog, regarding the past four seasons of the regular season, you may be surprised at what I saw in the post-season.
Let’s take a look at the post-season data:
Just like the regular season these past two years, you’d be surprised that the post-season version of the Seahawks wasn’t that different in offensive yards per game that their championship seasons. The last two post seasons, the Seahawks declined in yards per game, but at only 13 measly yards per game. Analysis: I’m very astonished at this statistic. I thought for sure the Seahawks offense was very inferior to their championship seasons. As the Seahawks showed, post-Marshawn Lynch, they could still run the ball (not as effectively as their championship seasons) but they changed their way of garnering yards per game by using speed at WR, using their TE and utilizing undrafted running backs to help them gain almost as many yards per game as their championship seasons.
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The defense these past two seasons only gave up 51 yards per game more than their championship seasons. Analysis: As I stated in the regular season data summary, the Seahawks defense wasn’t up to their championship seasons which were very historical. I don’t really know if the Seahawks will ever get back to the 2013 ‘1985 Chicago Bears-like’ status, but a true fan can only hope? To only give up 51 more yards per game than their championship season isn’t as bad as I thought going into this project.
The defense gave up only 3 points less per game than their championship seasons. Analysis: Again, I was baffled at the fact that they only gave up 3 points per game than their championship teams. See the above reasons why I was surprised.
One big key performance indicator is how the offense does on 3rd down. I believe that this team is more predicated on how they perform on 3rd down than most teams. I say that because we don’t spend a ton of money on offense, (less the Russell Wilson’s of the offense) and how we do on 3rd down also means how much the high-paid defense has to spend on the field. Seattle’s post-season teams these past two seasons were actually better on offense, 2% better. Analysis: I was shocked that we did better these past two seasons on offense in the post season than our championship seasons? Wow! Given the fact that we have had some very questionable choices on the offensive line? Given no Beastmode this past season? This gives me optimism this season as our offensive line gets more reps and more experience, especially on 3rd down in the post season.
Just when I was giving the offense a ton of kudos for their work on 3rd down, I see the next key performance indicator: points per game. The past two post seasons, the Seahawks offense has garnered 8 points less per post season game. Eeesh. Analysis: Uh, yeah, we’ll have to work on this for our upcoming post season if we want to hoist the Lombardi once again. Simple math says we need to score more points than the opposition to win, and to score less per game isn’t a good trend. I think our second year offensive weapons will need to step up and score more for the Seahawks in 2017 in general, but especially in the post-season. CJ Procise and company will need to step up and get the Seahawks at least an additional 8 points to get the Seahawks back to 2013-2014 status on offense.
Wow, the next key performance indicator won’t blow your mind, but it makes a ton of sense why we didn’t get to the promised land this post-season. The Seahawks takeaway/giveaway ratio was at a whopping -8. Analysis: I firmly believe that this statistic is one of the main identities of this team. Yeah, sure, most teams who succeed do well here, but for the Seahawks who like to think they are bigger, faster and stronger than their opponents, there is no other indicator than taking the ball away more than they give it up. Can the Seahawks offense keep onto the ball more than they did these past two seasons in the post-seasons? Yes, I think they can. I think the big question mark is can the Seahawks defense take away the ball more than they have had these past two post-seasons. A better pass rush means the QB has less time to throw. A better coverage scheme in the back seven possibly means more opportunities at intercepting the ball. Teams are throwing more than they are running it so if this statistic is to go up, they will need to rely on the interception more than the fumble recovery via run.
In their loss versus the Atlanta Falcons in the 2016 post season, the Seahawks matched the Falcons time of possession. In reviewing the past two post seasons versus our championship seasons, the Seahawks offense kept the ball about :30 seconds less than their championship seasons. Analysis: Is it because the championship seasons the Seahawks defense kept the offense field shorter per drive? Is it because the offensive line during the post season these past two seasons was not that good? I think there’s truth in both those questions. Going forward, it is my hope that the defense takes away the ball quicker on their drives so that the offense is not having to drive the length of the field. I also hope that the offensive line does its part on 3rd downs like we’ve seen that they can to extend drives and increase their time of possession in the post season. It would be great to know that on 3rd and short, the Seahawks can convert using their big back and their speedy WR/RB.
Summary: Can the Seahawks resurrect themselves to 2013 and 2014 post seasons? I think they have the coaching, the transactions and hopefully the depth (through next month’s draft). Their QB is supposed to be like fine wine and get better with age. It is my hope that just like the 2016 Patriots can show the Seahawks that if they work as a unit, regardless of draft status or power rankings, they can hoist the Lombardi, together.