Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The best indicator of a Seahawks victory

As I've mentioned here numerous times, the Hawks have an outstanding 29-5 record over the past three seasons when scoring 20 or more points in a game. The question I have not spent time trying to answer is, "What are the key characteristics of a game when the Hawks score 20?" I averaged key stats across every game from the last three seasons in games when the Hawks did and did not score 20 points. The results were not all that surprising, but still interesting.

The first characteristic is, they seem to score 20 points in these games. (Yes, I'm hilarious)

Obviously, it doesn't make much sense to analyze scoring in these games. I will note that it is a feast or famine sort of thing. When the Hawks eclipse that mark, they average 29 pts/game. When they don't, they only average 12.5.

However, there is not much of a difference in how many points the Hawks surrender in these games (18 in games when the Hawks score over 20 vs. 20 in games when the Hawks score under 20).

It really comes down to three key stats:
  1. Rushing yards for
  2. Yards per attempt
  3. Rushing yards against
The first two are not surprising since scoring more than 20 means the offense is playing pretty well. I will note, though, that this indicates passing efficiency is more critical than running efficiency for scoring. The Hawks YPR is essentially the same when they score over (4.18) or under 20 (3.96), as are their passing yards (225 vs. 206).

There is a 40 yard difference in rushing yards (138 vs. 96) and almost 1.5 yards in YPA (7.2 vs. 5.91).

The last item is a little more surprising, and was the biggest disparity of all the categories. There is a huge 50 yard difference (143 against when scoring less than 20 vs. 92.5 when scoring 20+). When starting this little research project, I would not have guessed rushing yards against as being a key indicator for how many point the Seahawks would score. On reflection, it does make sense that a team controlling the clock would limit our scoring chances.

I'd bet that if I went back and looked, things like time of possession and first downs would also be skewed in these games. It's also worth noting that teams do not appear to have to run all that well while piling up these yards. The difference in YPR against is modest (4.36 when scoring under 20 vs. 3.85 when scoring 20+), but the amount of rushing attempts varies quite a bit.

This bodes well for the Hawks at home where they are allowing only 83 yards rushing/game vs. 118 on the road.

Whoa. While tracking this stuff down, I found my new favorite stat:

The Seahawks are 22-2 (including the playoffs) when holding an opponent under 100 yards rushing over the last three seasons
That's pretty clear cut. If you need any more evidence that the opponents rushing total is *the* key stat, you'll need to find another sucker to do the research.

1 comment :

funballad said...

I assume those numbers are correct. I am very impressed and have always thought that how defense controls the other offense is more important than ones own offense. I have always felt 3 and out is the biggest factor in surges of strength of a team. If a defense gets in and out fast it keeps rested and usually determines length of field the offense needs to go for scoring.

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