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The Seahawks biggest weakness this year - 3rd downs

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  • The Seahawks under PC/Wilson have consistently been near the top of league in 3rd down efficiency. This year is a huge outlier in their expected performance.

    Defense
    NO (8) - 38.2%
    GB (9) - 39.5%
    SEA (27) - 47.1%

    Offense
    GB (2) - 49.4%
    NO (8) - 44.7%
    SEA (20) - 40.2%

    Passer Rating
    Rodgers - 113.4
    Brees - 91.0
    Wilson - 81.7

    Wilson has been improving - when I checked about 5 weeks ago he was in the low 70's.

    What is the cause of this? Playcalling? Execution? ???

    If they're going to go anywhere in the playoffs, this problem needs to be solved.
    renofox
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  • I'll play since no one else has.

    I'm just basing this off memory and have no stats to back it up. But it seems to me over the years that the Hawks like to throw a lot of low-percentage passes on 3rd and short, often going for the homerun instead of a short high-percentage throw to keep the chains moving. I've seen that a lot in the PC era with both Bevell and Schott. I know they're trying to catch the opposing defense off-guard when they do that, and often get single coverage in those situations, but I would much rather see them run the high-percentage play and work their way down the field.

    Secondly, we don't do a very good job of scheming receivers open in a way the great offensive coordinators do in cities like KC and NO. For the most part, our receivers have to beat their man one on one to get open, and often times that doesn't happen. We need to be a whole lot more creative in our schemes. Also I don't think we utilize our TE's enough, particularly in short yardage situations.

    And finally, along the lines of my first point, and although I don't have access to all-22, it seems like we are often having at least 2 or more receivers running go routes, leaving very limited options for those shorter high-percentage passes beyond the chains.

    I just had another thought on this. I think Russ has to accept at least part of the blame for this as well. PC loves the deep ball, but so does Russ. Often times I have seen him ignore a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field or along the sidelines, and opting to look for the big play instead. I love Russ and I think he's a great QB. He has carried this team on his shoulders pretty much the entire time he's been here. But he's certainly not without his faults.
    TraderGary
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  • 3rd down and the Seahawks are the reason I have to buy a new TV every week.
    UK_Seahawk
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  • TraderGary wrote:I think Russ has to accept at least part of the blame for this as well. PC loves the deep ball, but so does Russ. Often times I have seen him ignore a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field or along the sidelines, and opting to look for the big play instead. I love Russ and I think he's a great QB. He has carried this team on his shoulders pretty much the entire time he's been here. But he's certainly not without his faults.


    I agree this is a HUGE factor in the piss poor 3rd down performance, but I think it's probably more in PC than on RW. Maybe RW is just extremely focused on doing exactly what PC wants him to do, and PC is hyper-focusing on the big play - even if there's an INT it most likely ends up with the same resulting field position as a punt.

    I think PC is OK with taking the chance of 3rd down failure, punting (or risking punt-like INT), and then trusting his defense, rather than reverting to the hated short passing game. Pete seems to be almost pathologically averse to the short passing game - maybe with some cause as it seems that is where most of RW's interceptions occur.

    Did you ever notice how PC talks about the importance of turnovers more than any other coach in the NFL? After every single win the 2nd half of this season that has been his (and RW's) main talking point in the post-game presser. He probably believes that if RW didn't have that string of turnovers near the middle of the season, the Seahawks would be 16-0. He's transferred that belief to RW and that's one of the main reasons RW is so tentative until he absolutely, without-a-doubt has to start "taking risks" in the 4th quarter to get the lead.

    Maye PC only "Let Russ Cook", knowing there would eventually be some multiple turnover games, so that he could reinforce the lesson that avoiding turnovers is the primary way to win games. Looking at the results (12-0 when -0- or plus turnover differential, and 0-4 when -1 or more) RW probably took the lesson to heart. Maybe took it too far and it's negatively affecting his game more than it should, influencing his decision-making which seems to be "off" this year?
    renofox
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  • Agreed with tradergary, on 3rd down the hawks love to call deep plays on most receivers with few, if any short options. Last game we settled for a field goal because we called a fade to the end zone on 3rd and 3 at around the 15 yard line thereabout from what I remember. it’s a ridiculous low percentage throw that’s fast off the tee but ignores coverage. Especially when called for early, before Wilson has had time to get into rhythm in many of these games that start with him not playing his best ball, they might as well be kneeling.
    Hawaii-hawk
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  • 3rd and Short...let’s call a 20+ Yd long developing play.....
    3rd and Long...let’s call a play with the receivers running 2yds short of the 1st down marker and hope they can break a tackle and pick it up
    ludakrishna
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  • accurate ^^^
    So maddening. But it clearly isn't the play calling, it's only on you know who...…. :?
    SoulfishHawk
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  • Does anyone have the data on this?

    One thing appears to be that we fall on 3rd down less, as we are converting 1st and 2nd downs at a higher clip.

    But what is our average 3rd down we convert vs the average we miss?

    Where are most of our 3rd downs?

    Also, it would be interesting to see the conversion rate given we ran 2 separate styles of offense this year. When we were 'cooking' it looked very different than now. Not always in a good way because we were blowing 3rd downs by running 4th string RBs on 3rd and 3.

    The long ball thing tends to lead to 3rd and longs. But then again, one of our big throws for TD earlier in the year came on 4th and short. Can't complain if you cheer when it works.

    Anyone have this data or know where to locate?
    TwistedHusky
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  • TwistedHusky wrote:Anyone have this data or know where to locate?


    Seahawks splits

    This is the best site I've found for stats/splits/etc.

    3rd down rushing:
    1st downs / attempts
    20 / 49

    includes 11+ to go:
    0 / 15

    3rd down passing:
    1st downs / attempts
    56 / 124

    includes 11+ to go:
    2 / 20 (3 sacks)
    renofox
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  • renofox wrote:
    TraderGary wrote:I think Russ has to accept at least part of the blame for this as well. PC loves the deep ball, but so does Russ. Often times I have seen him ignore a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field or along the sidelines, and opting to look for the big play instead. I love Russ and I think he's a great QB. He has carried this team on his shoulders pretty much the entire time he's been here. But he's certainly not without his faults.


    I agree this is a HUGE factor in the piss poor 3rd down performance, but I think it's probably more in PC than on RW. Maybe RW is just extremely focused on doing exactly what PC wants him to do, and PC is hyper-focusing on the big play - even if there's an INT it most likely ends up with the same resulting field position as a punt.

    I think PC is OK with taking the chance of 3rd down failure, punting (or risking punt-like INT), and then trusting his defense, rather than reverting to the hated short passing game. Pete seems to be almost pathologically averse to the short passing game - maybe with some cause as it seems that is where most of RW's interceptions occur.

    Did you ever notice how PC talks about the importance of turnovers more than any other coach in the NFL? After every single win the 2nd half of this season that has been his (and RW's) main talking point in the post-game presser. He probably believes that if RW didn't have that string of turnovers near the middle of the season, the Seahawks would be 16-0. He's transferred that belief to RW and that's one of the main reasons RW is so tentative until he absolutely, without-a-doubt has to start "taking risks" in the 4th quarter to get the lead.

    Maye PC only "Let Russ Cook", knowing there would eventually be some multiple turnover games, so that he could reinforce the lesson that avoiding turnovers is the primary way to win games. Looking at the results (12-0 when -0- or plus turnover differential, and 0-4 when -1 or more) RW probably took the lesson to heart. Maybe took it too far and it's negatively affecting his game more than it should, influencing his decision-making which seems to be "off" this year?

    No question PC is obsessed with protecting the ball at all costs. You can say that about any HC in the NFL as turnovers play a crucial role in any game, but PC seems to take it to another level. I do believe this is a factor in RW being so tentative and indecisive in recent weeks. I think Pete has ingrained and pounded this into RW's head following that streak of games where he was turning the ball over at an alarming rate, and I tend to believe this is where the tentativeness is coming from. It seems like he's afraid to make a mistake, at least that's my impression.
    TraderGary
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  • 3rd down is a scheming down. Plain and simple, and these numbers are very reflective of that.

    One thing they could do to give their 3rd down numbers a bump next year is to go out and get a big, physical running QB, for 3rd and short. Since they won't ever sneak it with Russ.

    They need a guy that can take the snap and fall forward at about 250 lbs. No scheming required. There's got to be a guy in college that isn't considered a starting caliber guy at the next level, but features this simple, one dimensional skill set that could be drafted on day 3 or be an UDFA.

    Defensively, they just need to stay well stocked at CB, to avoid giving up cheap first downs, and continue to add to their pass rush.

    The Seahawks are just not an X's & O's team. They like to keep it simple, and out effort the opponent. So the only way they're going to drastically improve on 3rd down is by upgrading their existing talent, and finding niche ways to utilize that talent within their existing scheme.
    Fade
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  • renofox wrote:The Seahawks under PC/Wilson have consistently been near the top of league in 3rd down efficiency. This year is a huge outlier in their expected performance.

    Defense
    NO (8) - 38.2%
    GB (9) - 39.5%
    SEA (27) - 47.1%

    Offense
    GB (2) - 49.4%
    NO (8) - 44.7%
    SEA (20) - 40.2%

    Passer Rating
    Rodgers - 113.4
    Brees - 91.0
    Wilson - 81.7

    Wilson has been improving - when I checked about 5 weeks ago he was in the low 70's.

    What is the cause of this? Playcalling? Execution? ???

    If they're going to go anywhere in the playoffs, this problem needs to be solved.


    How about they are playing some of the best defenses in the league... this is a widely misunderstood factor on this board...

    Why is the Seahawk O not performing like they did the first 5 games? Well it's simple. the Defenses are performing better than they were at the beginning of the season the circumstances became different... it's just as simple as that...why does Rodgers have a better QB rating than Wilson well its because Rodgers didn't have to play the Rams, 49ers twice... they didn't have to play Buffalo Washington or the Giants etc... I guarantee you that the packers wouldn't have as good of a record if they had the schedule the Hawks played...

    LTH
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  • I don't buy that scheme has much to do with it. Take a look at why the failed third downs vs. the 49ers didn't work.

    1st 13:10 - 3rd & 13. The problem here is the down and distance. This series was sabotaged by a two yard running loss on 1st down due to egregious missed blocks by Simmons and Metcalf.

    1st 10:11 - 3rd & 7. Wilson completes a 6 yard pass to Hollister who is blown up by Ward. This is mostly a good play by the defender, although slightly faster execution on offense could have had it turned upfield for the first.

    1st 2:17 - 3rd & 11. We had three first downs earlier on this drive but stalled at this difficult down/distance to convert. The series started with a Penny carry for -1 yards when Simmons completely whiffed on his man. On second down, Wilson didn't like any of the reads, felt the pressure perhaps too early and left the pocket, and then still didn't like any of the reads while he was scrambling. Given the score at the time it's probably fine for him to be erring on the cautious side even though it frustrates us.

    2nd 9:46 - 3rd & 3. Wilson has plenty of time in the pocket but overthrows Lockett in the end zone instead of taking a check down for a first down. It's unfortunate but the Wilson-Lockett connection has been hot so far this game so I don't think this is necessarily a bad decision either.

    2nd 7:28 - 3rd and 8. Getting on the edge of manageable here, there were pass plays on 1st/2nd down which didn't materialize and led to this. Wilson doesn't like his first read and then takes a big sack when the protection breaks down against a blitz. Wilson should have been more decisive on this series.

    3rd 8:45 - 3rd and 8. Wilson had a pass tipped on 2nd down that would have been a 1st down to Dissly, and then on 3rd down they try a quick out to Metcalf that Witherspoon is all over. Mostly a good play by the defender here.

    3rd 5:24 - 3rd and 9. This was the ugly drive in the game with three shotgun passes in a row that don't work leading to a punt. Wilson had enough time to throw on all three downs but didn't see anything he liked on the first and it was an overthrow/miscommunication on the 2nd and 3rd. This was Wilson's worst series, but after this series he drove the team for three straight touchdowns.

    With the exception of the 6th example, the rest are pretty clear cut examples of our players being out-executed by their players. That's going to happen sometimes. This also isn't really a "third down" problem, per say, as most of the failed third downs are really the result of miscues earlier in the series that led to the unlikely third down/distance attempt in the first place.
    AgentDib
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