Seahawks Insider

Hawks finish fifth in Sudden Change situations

Post by Eric Williams on Jan. 19, 2012 at 11:02 am with 25 Comments »
January 19, 2012 12:24 pm
Seattle Seahawks' Brandon Browner, left, intercepts a pass intended for Washington Redskins Jabar Gaffney, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

There’s been a lot of talk about the record passing numbers this season.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record with 5,476 passing yards in the regular season.

Ten quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 passing yards in 2011, considered one of the barometers of a successful season passing the football.

But as Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange noted this week, winning the turnover differential had more to do with who moved on in this year’s playoffs than having an elite quarterback.

How else do you explain San Francisco’s Alex Smith beating Brees, and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers falling to the Eli Manning and the New York Giants at home?

As Pasquarelli points out, in 20 divisional-round games from 2007 to 2011, the team with the advantage in the takeaway/turnover differential has won all but three games.

So maybe the generally held truth that you need an elite quarterback to win a Super Bowl is negated if you can manage the game with a consistent running offense, steal a few possessions by forcing some turnovers, and be efficient in the red zone?

This weekend will be another interesting test case to that theory. Both Baltimore and San Francisco, led by coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, play a similar style to Seattle – they rely on a run-oriented offense that limits turnovers and leans on their defense to make plays.

And the Ravens and Niners face two of the best quarterbacks and passing offense in the league in the New York Giants and New England Patriots, so we’ll see how the elite quarterbacks fare against two of the best defenses in terms of limiting points and creating turnovers in the league.

As I noted earlier, this year from time to time we’ll take a look at something I call Sudden Change situations, which is basically what a teams does when a turnovers happens. Does the offense take the ball, march down the field and hang six points on the other team? Does the defense toughen up and force the other team to punt?

Six games into the season, the Seahawks were 20th in the league in Sudden Change situations. Seattle had a -3 turnover differential, and the Seahawks had given up 20 points off 11 turnovers while scoring just 10 points off eight turnovers forced by the defense.

That number was much better by the end of the year. The Seahawks moved up to a tie for fifth in Sudden Change situations. Seattle finished with a +8 turnover differential.

The Seahawks gave up 51 points off 23 turnovers, while scoring an impressive 100 points off 31 forced turnovers by the defense.

Check out the full list below.

Sudden Change situations

Team TO-forced TO-lost Net G-away Pts. T-away Pts. Net
San Francisco 38 10 28 26 108 82
New England 34 17 17 47 126 79
Green Bay 38 14 24 55 118 63
Detroit 34 23 11 86 139 53
Seattle 31 23 8 51 100 49
Houston 27 20 7 79 119 49
Baltimore 26 24 2 67 100 33
Atlanta 29 21 8 72 103 31
Buffalo 31 30 1 99 127 28
Dallas 25 21 4 70 91 21
New Orleans 16 19 -3 63 77 14
Philadelphia 24 38 -14 86 100 14
Minnesota 23 26 -3 81 94 13
Tennessee 23 22 1 63 74 11
Jacksonville 28 23 5 64 71 7
Chicago 31 29 2 90 90 0
Miami 19 25 -6 64 60 -4
Carolina 24 23 1 82 77 -5
Pittsburgh 15 28 -13 64 55 -9
Arizona 19 32 -13 74 61 -13
Cincinnati 22 22 0 80 66 -14
San Diego 21 28 -7 83 58 -25
N.Y. Giants 31 24 7 92 61 -31
Oakland 26 30 -4 106 74 -32
Cleveland 20 19 1 74 36 -38
Washington 21 35 -14 83 43 -40
N.Y. Jets 31 34 -3 126 81 -45
Kansas City 26 28 -2 80 34 -46
Denver 18 30 -12 96 49 -47
Tampa Bay 24 40 -16 128 72 -56
St. Louis 18 23 -5 106 37 -69
Indianapolis 17 29 -12 113 40 -73
Statistics, Stats, etc.
Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. Dukeshire says:

    I really like this metric, and as you may know by now, I’m not a huge stat guy as a reflector of team performance.

    And holy cow! SF turned the ball over only 10 times all season? That’s just incredible.

  2. hawkfan777 says:

    Those are great stats but luck plays a part in those stats as well. The 49ers have done great in that area this year but other teams missed opportunities by dropping interceptions. That number can swing drastically once a QB starts making mistakes. Especially if the expectations on a team are higher (which they will be next year for the 49ers). In that case a QB may start to press a little. That team needs turnovers in order to win ball games. The Saints would have smoked the 49ers at home if the turnover margin had been equal.

    It seems to me that teams like the Colts and Bucs could really change their seasons next year by taking the ball away a little more and protecting the ball much better. I am sure the new coaches for those teams will get excited by those stats because if the ball had bounced their way a little it may have represented 2-4 more wins this year which should bode well for next year.

  3. Luck? I’m not so sure. 7 of the top 8 teams (excluding the Seahawks) were in the playoffs. For all the grief that Tjack takes, I definitely prefer him holding on to the ball rather than forcing a throw like Hass used to do. And before you go crazy BobbyK, I’m not saying Tjack is necessarily better or more accomplished that #8, he’s not (yet), but I do believe that he fits the PC system better. IMO, he will be opening day starter mainly because he protects the ball well like he is asked to do. I still want to see him tuck and run more, but understand them making that less of an option while he was playing and recovering from injury.

    Our defense is what has me most excited. Bunch of ballhawkers. I am really hoping that we can get an edge rusher to free up our secondary even more, like what the Ravens and Niners do.


  4. GeorgiaHawk says:

    joreb-How come Jackson has more turnovers than TDs if he protects the ball well?
    My guess is that he would come close to setting qb turnover records if he was trying to win the games instead of managing the games.

    Also, three and outs are close to being like turnovers. Imo.

    I do agree with you on your thoughts about the defense.

  5. I really like this stat too. I think it only becomes more revealing to look at takeaways and giveaways separately:

    SanFran – 1st
    Seattle – tied for 6th with STL, Det, Car.
    We still need a lot of improvement here.

    SanFran – tied for 1st
    Seattle – tied for 4th with NYG.
    Pretty awesome when you consider we were only tied for 19th in sacks. (NYG 3rd, SF 7th).
    If we add some pass rush in 2012 this could improve for us.

  6. GeorgiaHawk gets the prize! I couldn’t agree more that three and outs are close to being like turnovers. They are killers.

    Did anyone notice that Denver and NYG were both pretty low on that list? Seems like they did pretty well this year. Suggesting we roll with TJ forevermore is just crazy talk. Yes, he should start next year, but he’s just a placeholder.

    Starting QB’s need to see both sides of the field. Hello?

  7. SandpointHawk says:

    I like this stat and like all stats certain teams are not going to fit in the box…Giants and Broncos…but to justify going further with T-Jack is crazed. We need to score more in the Red Zone….oh that was a “DAH REALLY” moment from the Sandpoint kid…

  8. When was the last time Matt didn’t have to force things for the Seahawks to win? Never once during the previous 5 years did the Seahawks have a legitimate running game they way we did the last 2+ months of this past season. When T-Jack didn’t have a run game that first month especially, his turnover ratio was also terrible. By the time the season ended, it was merely bad overall (still had more turnovers than TD passes though). The last time that Matt had a dominant running game like Jackson had the last for over the last half of the season the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl.

    Alex Smith had 17 TD passes and 7 turnovers. That’s pretty good, but I think it has more to do with his team (kind like T-Jack needing an elite team to look almost competent). I still don’t think Smith is very good (not saying that anyone here thinks this).

    The second half of the season is very impressive with all of the turnover stuff. However, I doubt many teams (or we’ll encounter this in any stretch next year) got to face as many utterly crappy and pathetic QB play as we faced for about 2 months straight to close the year. It’s easier to get turnovers when you’re going against craphole QBs (not that our defense could help who they faces and, to their credit, the got the job done for the most part). The fact that we made Caleb Hanie look good for over 2 quarters really concerns me to the point of being frantic about adding more pass rush (after the singular QB position). And losing to Sexy-Rexy Grossman at home against a bad Redskins team? You can bet the Sam Bradford we’ll face next year probably won’t be the cripple we faced twice in a 4 game stretch towards the end of the year either. VY in a WCO where he throws a lot is laughable too (as opposed to when he never had to throw much in TN). I mean, really, how often do you face QB play that bad? Sure, some of it shouldn’t have happened (Bradford, Vick, Cutler, Skelton) but thats 3 games of back-up QBs in the last 7 and in 2 more of those games we faced a QB that shouldn’t have played because he couldn’t move (Bradford).

    HELP WANTED: QB and pass rush needed. We’re close. But we’re looking for, arguably, the two hardest things to get, too.

  9. Has anyone been thinking about the fact that we beat a team in each of the two conference championship games? We also won those convincingly.

    I’m currently attending training in Pensacola, so plan on going to Senior Bowl later this month. By watching last year, I predicted we’d take Moffitt & Sherman in the draft. Can’t wait to actually be there & hopefully meet Coach Carroll & maybe some of the other coaches, Cable?

  10. Dukeshire says:

    rgbuckl – That’s awesome. I love Sr Bowl week. NFL Network does a fantastic job of covering all the practices. You can learn so much about the players, especially during the one-on-one drills, by watching.

  11. rgbuckl – I hope you provide some thoughts as to what you see/notice at the Senior Bowl. I’d really like to know about the speed and quickness of some of the pass rushing prospects.

    To me, that Giants game kind of defined our season as a team on the rise. It was a team effort and we won in spite of the QB position. I know T-Jack looked good early on and then had the pick late in the 2nd quarter (then got hurt midway through the game) and Charlie didn’t do much until the pass to Baldwin (imagine that, Baldwin with a big play). And it was the defense that came through with just over a minute left in the game, as instead of the Giants scoring the go ahead TD, Browner had the 90 some yard pick to seal the deal. However, until we get a real QB and a pass rush, our ceiling is severely limited. We can win games, yes, but the point of playing is to win the big one and I don’t think we can do that unless there’s some weird stroke of unlikely luck on our side, too.

  12. I don’t believe that turnovers are like three and outs. Occasionally blocked punts or botched snaps happen but I’d rather punt and try to win the battle of field position than to have a big momentum shift like a turnover. How many times did the Hawks get blocked punts/fgs/pats against them this past year? Tjack had more TO’s than TD’s, no disagreement. He did played injured with extremely green WR/OL units. I’m not against drafting/acquiring a QB this free agency/draft, but hope it’s not in the first round. I want a bookend to Clemons. More turnovers for our defense. A couple of years ago, I wanted Orakpo over Curry. Jason Paul-Pierre over Earl but am not disappointed how that turned out. DE play is why LT’s get paid so much; gotta protect the Franchise QBs. I want to wreak havoc on opposing QB’s more than anything given our draft position. I still like the QB from Oklahoma State and think we can get him in the 2nd/3rd round. I’ll probably never understand the hatred for Tjack. I just feel like if you are 1 of 32 starters in the NFL, you gotta have something. People get paid way too much to evaluate talent, let alone to invest in that talent. 2 yrs/$8M. Is it really that much/bad? He can make all the throws, is mobile, tough as nails and most importantly is respected by his teammates and coaches. That’s enough for me.

  13. I don’t hate him as a person. I hate him as a QB. Just because he has the arm strength to make all the throws doesn’t mean he can actually make all the throws. We all know he can’t consistently throw the ball in the middle of the field into tight spaces and the coaches are smart enough not to call these all that often because they know his deficiences.

    There’s also the “it” factor when it comes to guys who can make plays late in tight games to help their teams win. I see no “it” whatsoever with T-Jack. I never have.

    I think he’s respected by his teammates and coaches as a man; I don’t think he’s respected by them as a legitimate starting quarterback who can get this team to where it wants to go (assuming they would like to win a Super Bowl). There were too many calls where you could tell the staff was hesitant to let him do certain things in tight situations. It goes back to Childress talking about how he’d duck when the bullets started flying (not that I respect that idiot very much). We all watched the games and saw the same thing(s). Coaches with confidence in their QB actually let them take more chances when the game is on the line instead of continue to play almost not to lose (when, sometimes, it is necessary to play to win). And these are the same coaches who evalute talent and are paid to do it so they must know something.

    We once had Chris Spencer at center, Brian Russell at free safety, the old version of Chris Gray at RG, etc. Those guys were 1 of 32 players in the NFL at their positions (C, FS, RG) and yet they sucked. Just because you’re 1 of 32 doesn’t mean the lesser of those are all that good. Just because they may be better than the alternatives (players who don’t start) doesn’t mean they are good players who are assets to their teams. I feel the same way about T-Jack and I don’t believe that they QB position is one you can “settle” with in comparison to some other positions. However, if we brought in a starter, I’d be thrilled to have T-Jack as our back-up. I think he’d make one of the better back-up QBs in the NFL, even though I think he’s one of the worst of the starting QBs.

  14. GeorgiaHawk says:

    BobbyK- With all due respect I don’t see the Giants win as a defining moment in our season other then being able to beat an opponent that has a history of underachieving against perceived inferior opponents. ( See the Eagles and Ravens). Remember the Giants two games previous with us before this year were blowouts.
    However you are right that we have made serious progress despite our qb deficiencies.

  15. GeorgiaHawk says:

    The best thing that could happen for the Seahawks (imo) is for Jackson to mystically magically become a top fifteen qb. And I would be happy to see that happen, however I have seen absolutely nothing from him to bet the house that it will happen! Sure miracles do happen, and I hope it does, but I would rather see an upgrade at this point than to hope for a miracle.
    Like BobbyK said, it’s not about hating the person.

  16. SeahawkFan12 says:

    GeorgiaHawk, another key reason why the Giants game was a big win was it seemed to have shattered that “Eastern Timezone Cures” (which is total bullsh!t anyway), and the ‘Hawks became a decent road team. THAT hasn’t happened in a long, long time.

  17. But, “to me” the Giants game “kind of” defined our season. Yours may be totally different for other reasons.

  18. AKSeahawk12 says:


    Michael Robinson was added to the NFC roster to replace Green Bay’s John Kuhn, who will miss the game because of injury. Robinson joins free safety Earl Thomas, who was named a starter for the NFC.

  19. Ewalters7354 says:

    Kuhn shouldn’t have even been in the pro bowl.They can’t even run the ball.

    Seeing Browner’s pic made me remember Duke saying this was gonna be a top secondary and Duke your were absolutely right.These guys played great football without any pass rush.Its gonna be scary when they get an offseason under their belt with the additional of another pass rusher opposite Clemons.I will be riding the Mathis/Avril bandwagon until they end up elsewhere.

  20. Duke/BobbyK,

    You guys are absolutely right about our needs.

    We’re still trying to get a hold of the tickets, we thought they would’ve had some on base, but hopefully we’ll get them in the next day or so. I also want to get to the game early, so maybe I can mingle with the coaches. I’ll definitely have my eyes glued to pass rushers on defense & QBs on offense. Beyond that, looking for speed at LB and great depth on the lines and some skill positions.

  21. Coincidentally, I just drove to Tampa last weekend only to find out the East/West Shrine game is in St Pete this weekend, so bad timing there. It would have been really cool to make both.

  22. WTraveler says:

    Great stats–I like them. But I have always been a firm believer that the team that makes fewer mistakes wins most games. Turnovers are only one area of mistakes. I wish someone would do the same type stats where penalties that kill drives happen or, penalties on defense that keep drives alive–and resulting scores. Other mistakes–dropped passes, blown coverage in the secondary, botched plays in the backfield, etc.

    And I’m not a T-Jack hater–I just don’t think he has the ability to see the entire field and make proper check-off plays on the line of scrimmage. Effort is not the question. If I blame anyone it is PC and Schneider for not bringing a franchise QB here last year–principly Dalton.

    I’m in favor of moving up in the draft and going after Griffen. If done, this team could compete for quite some time–see Indianapolis.

  23. I would like to see the Seahawks draft two QBs, one in the second or third round and another in a later round. Bring four QBs to camp and cut one before the regular season.

    In the first round, I want a pass-rushing DE or LB.

  24. Or stud DT…

    We need inside pass rush as well.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    Good inside pass rushers are so difficult to find, but I agree. And that’s why, if there are two players they are equally high on at DE and 3-tech, I’d like to see them choose the 3-tech DT. That said, it’s unlikely that they will be faced with that type of decision. Odds are, they’ll go DE long before DT.

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