Seahawks Insider Blog

Statistically speaking: Are the Hawks really better than last year’s team?

Look, on the surface I think we all know just by looking at the win-loss record, this year’s team was better. They finished 7-9, won the NFC West and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

This year’s team defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the opening round of the NFC playoffs. And they won three more games total than last year’s 5-11 finish in Jim Mora’s first and only season as head coach of his hometown team.

Still, it’s interesting to take a look at the numbers of both teams and see how they compare. In a lot of ways, they are pretty similar teams.

Record2010: 7-9 (1-1 in the playoffs)2009: 5-11Comment: After going 5-7, the 2009 team lost four straight by an average margin of 21.5 points a game, sealing Jim Mora’s fate in his first and only year as head coach. This year’s team didn’t finish the season much better, losing seven of the last 10 games. But they won win it mattered, including the season final against St. Louis to get into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Total yards gained2010: 4,7652009: 5,059 Comment: Both teams have one thing in common – the offensive coordinators (Greg Knapp in 2009, Jeremy Bates in 2010) were fired at season’s end. For comparison, the Seahawks finished with 4,385 net yards in Mike Holmgren’s final season in 2008, and 5,583 yards in 2007. The franchise record is 5,915 yards in 2005. Total offense2010: 297.8 (28th)2009: 316.8 (21st)Comment: Hard to believe an offense could be as inconsistent as the 2009 season, but then the 2010 team showed up and put the Knapp-led offense to shame. One number to note, Seattle was 33 percent on third down in 2010, No. 25 in the league.

Rush offense2010: 97.9 (26th)2009: 89.0 (31st)Comment: The Seahawks still have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2005. This year’s team came close to setting a franchise-low for average rushing yards, 87 yards a contest set by the 1989 team. It’s interesting that most team observers thought that Greg Knapp stayed with the running game for too long, while Jeremy Bates apparently go fired for not sticking with the running game long enough. Pass offense2010: 208.8 (19th) 2009: 218.9 (15th) Comment: Both teams had to throw it a bunch because they were behind a lot and had no running game, hence the decent numbers passing the ball.

Points per game2010: 19.4 (23rd) 2009: 17.5 (25th) Comment: You’ve got to score to win in the NFL, and neither of these teams could do that consistently. For comparison, the 2005 Super Bowl Seahawks averaged a league-high 28.2 points a contest, while the 2007 team averaged 24.6 points a contest (tied for 9th overall).

Total yards allowed2010: 5,897 yards 2009: 5,703 yardsComment: Neither one of these numbers are something to write home to mom about, but they are still far from the team record of 6,391 yards allowed for a season set in 2000.

Total defense2010: 368.6 (27)2009: 356.4 (24)Comment: This year’s team allowed over 450 yards five different times this season.

Rush defense2010: 118.9 (21st) 2009: 111 (15th)Comment: Jamaal Charles (173 yards), LeGarrette Blount (164) and Darren McFadden (111) all ran for over 100 yards against Seattle’s defense this season.

Pass defense2010: 249.6 (27th)2009: 245.4 (30th)Comment: Both teams were equally awful. Five quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards against the Seahawks this season, led by Philip Rivers 455 yards.

Points allowed/defense2010: 25.4 (25th)2009: 24.4 (T 25th) Comment: This is about a wash. Both defenses gave up a lot of points and didn’t help their teams stay in games.

Possession avg.2010: 27:332009: 27:31Comment: It’s interesting that both of these numbers are so close. I think it shows that both offenses had similar problems in establishing the running game and staying on the field, even with creating balance on offense being a focal point of both squads.

Sacked/Yards lost2010: 35/195 2009: 41/268Comment: I thought this year’s team did a better job of protecting the quarterback, particularly when you think about how much they passed the ball.

Sacks made/Yards2010: 37/246 2009: 28/185Comment: The addition of Chris Clemons and the change in scheme really helped this year’s defense create more pressure off the edge.

Interceptions by2010: 122009: 13Comment: Seattle did a nice job early, but really fell off this year in takeaways. Penalties/Yards2010: 101/8902009: 95/840Comment: One of Jim Mora’s priorities as a head coach was being one of the least penalized teams in the league. He felt it showed his team was disciplined.

Punts/Average2010: 78/41.72009: 89/46.1 Comment: Hard to believe this year’s team punted 11 times more than the 2009 team. Turnover differential2010: -9 (T27) 2009: -8 (T26)Comment: Both teams were awful in this category, which is interesting because takeaways remained a focal point of both teams.