3 things Seattle Seahawks need to improve on for the rest of 2023

  • Third down defense is still an issue
  • Unfortunately, so is third down offense
  • Penalties are going to cost the team eventually

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Seattle's third down offense stinks again

In 2022, Seattle was 20th in the NFL in third down conversions (37.8 percent). But before one goes blaming Geno Smith for that kind of inefficiency after he took over QB1 duties last season, one should know that 2021 was worse. Seattle ranked 23rd in the league in third down conversions (37.3). The last time the Seahawks ranked inside the top 20 of the league in third down conversions was 2019 when they were 16th at 39.5 percent.

The issue also isn't offensive coordinator Shane Waldron either. Third downs have been a concern for Seattle over a few OCs now. And the issue is almost exclusive to third down. On first and second down in 2023, Seattle has a success rate of 53.1 percent, second in the league. Their Expected Points Added (EPA) rate is third in the league.

But then when the team is forced to get to third down, trouble happens. (And I point out specifically when the team is forced to go to third down because in the second half against the Lions in Week 2 Seattle rarely went to a third down, and didn't at all in the game-winning touchdown drive in overtime.) In terms of EPA, the Seahawks fall to 28. In overall success rate, Seattle falls to 31. Seattle's success rate is 29.8 percent while, in comparison, the New York Giants are 38.2.

Seattle has managed to make it to 3-1 even with third down concerns. But one could also argue they have played two not-good teams in the Carolina Panthers and Giants. The games get much tougher between weeks 12 and 15 and that stretch against the 49ers (twice), Cowboys, and Eagles, could make or break the season. Seattle will need to increase their performance on third down going forward overall, but especially in those four games.