I deemed a question appropriate for this headline, as that’s what we are left with, questions. Can the Hawks win out? Will the right teams lose? What about the O-line injuries? Which NFC teams will we beat in a tiebreaker? These are all relative questions pertaining to the Hawks playoff chances. According to @seahawk_talk on twitter, the Hawks have a 6.5% chance to play in the postseason. Any 12th man will take that and run with it as we seem to be eternal optimists, torturing ourselves with every possible scenario for the Hawks to make it. This optimism is likely rooted from the utter and total lack of respect this team gets from a national standpoint. There’s nothing the 12th man wants worse than to tell the national media to suck it, and have the Hawks back it up on the field by defying these long odds.
That being said, lets take a look at priority number 1, winning out. I believe this defense is already playing good enough to compete in the playoffs, so I will focus on offense.
We all know scoring more points than the opponent is the object of every game. With the running game steadily gaining ground, and the offense becoming increasingly efficient, how has this affected actual points scored per drive?
According to football outsiders, the Hawks currently stand 28th in the league averaging 1.31 pts/drive. However, over the last 4 games the hawks have had 51 offensive drives resulting in 94 points, averaging 1.84 pts/drive. While that doesn’t seem like a huge difference, if sustained through the season it would be good for 17th, an 11 spot jump in the league rankings, averaging 23.5 pts/game, which would be good for 12th. Compare that to the 15.25 pts/game, ranking 28th, the first 8 games, and it’s a solid improvement.
The Seahawks have 135 offensive possessions on the season, second most in the league (Det 137). Green Bay and Pittsburgh are tied for the fewest with 112, followed by New England (119), San Diego (120), and New Orleans and Atlanta tied with 122. “Dsr” represents drive success rate, which measures the percentage of down series that result in a first down or a touchdown. The top 6 teams in this category are also the 6 with the fewest offensive possessions, and 5 of the 6 are in the top ten in average time of possession. What all this means is that sustaining longer drives is more important to wins than possessions.
The Seahawks longest drive (in terms of time) in each game has resulted in a touchdown only three times, and field goals twice. They did however kneel down at the end of the game vs. Baltimore after their longest drive of the game that would have undoubtedly resulted in points. Among these drives are also 5 punts and a turnover. 41% of the longest drives of the season have resulted in points, and that’s not going to be good enough to make the playoffs, let alone win in the playoffs. If the Hawks hope to make a run at this, a real run, these long drives have to result in points. Long scoring drives are the trademark of most winning teams, and the blueprint Pete Carroll is trying to engineer. I can’t explain why an equal amount of our longest drives result in punts that result in points, and ill leave it to speculation, but it needs fixed.
That drive against Baltimore at the end of the game is the trademark of this season offensively, up to this point, in my opinion. Drives like that physically take it out of the opposing defense, and for the Hawks to punch a Defense like the Ravens in the mouth was spectacular. Drives like that pump a young roster with confidence and allows the offense to run several consecutive plays to gain continuity. I realize that all of this is easier said than done, but with Marshawn Lynch leading the way, I have nothing but faith.
So as a 12th man I’m going to strap myself firmly in the passenger seat and hope the Hawks can drive it in!!!!!