JOHN CLAYTON

Stats don’t lie: Where Seahawks are excelling, need to improve

Oct 7, 2016, 8:00 AM
Richard Sherman made two of the Seahawks' three interceptions in their win over the Jets. (AP)...
Richard Sherman made two of the Seahawks' three interceptions in their win over the Jets. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks’ bye week offers everyone a chance to reflect on the first four games.

Coming out with a 3-1 record was huge. Despite the low numbers on offense, there have been some interesting things to study.

Here are four statistical thoughts:

• For the Seahawks’ fans concerned about the slow start to the running game, don’t worry. Christine Michael is running well and Russell Wilson should be much more mobile following the bye week. The threat of the read option will open up the middle of the field for running backs. Defenses have to put their linebackers on the edge to prevent Wilson from getting to the outside. With Wilson hampered by a high-ankle sprain and an MCL sprain, the running threat isn’t there for Wilson. He’s not kept the ball on a single read option this year. Last year, Wilson had 553 rushing yards on 103 carries, with 107 yards coming on 19 read options (5.63 yard average). This year he has 28 yards on 15 carries. The Seahawks are only rushing for 93 yards per game. That number will start creeping up after the bye and when Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise get back in the lineup.

• Pass coverage has been sensational during the first four games for the Seahawks. After Richard Sherman had only nine passes thrown on him in the first three games (five completed for 38 yards), he shadowed Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets, who caught four passes on 12 targets. For the season, Sherman has had eight completions against him on 20 passes for 112 yards and 1 touchdown. Those are great numbers. What’s also impressive is what the other corners are doing. DeShawn Shead has had 18 passes thrown on him this year, and there have been only seven completions for 106 yards. Jeremy Lane has seven completions on 13 passes thrown on him for 87 yards. That’s why the Seahawks are only giving up only 183.8 passing yards per game and opponents are completing only 56.8 percent of passes.

• Despite the extra blocking attention to Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, both defenders are playing at a high level. Bennett is tied with Frank Clark for the team lead with three sacks. Avril has two. But look at the pressures and knockdowns. In addition to the sacks, Bennett and Avril each have 9.5 combined knockdowns and hurries. The duo allows Clark to get single blocking, and as a result he leads the team with 10 pressures and knockdowns to go with his three sacks.

• Doug Baldwin continues to evolve into one of the best receivers in the league. He has 24 catches for 330 yards. That puts him on a pace for 92 catches and 1,320 yards. He’s been particularly impressive at home. In the Seahawks’ two games at CenturyLink Field, Baldwin caught 17 of 21 targeted passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been phenomenal in three-receiver sets, where he’s caught 15 of 19 passes for 195 yards. In four-receiver sets, he’s caught seven of nine passes for 93 yards.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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