Some perspective on Seattle’s slow first half performances

October 5th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Seattle’s four games have all had one thing in common — slow and unproductive first halves in terms of scoring.

Here are the half time and full time scores of each game so far:

HT — Seattle 3-0 Green Bay
FT — Seattle 9-17 Green Bay

HT — San Francisco 6-6 Seattle
FT — San Francisco 9-12 Seattle

HT — Seattle 7-9 Tennessee
FT — Seattle 27-33 Tennessee

HT — Indianapolis 15-10 Seattle
FT — Indianapolis 18-46

Average first half points per game: 6.5

There’s been a lot of talk about how much of a problem this is. How the issue could derail a season full of hope and promise.

But is it really any different than previous seasons?

The answer is ‘no’.

2012 season

Week 1 — Seattle 3-10 Arizona
Week 2 — Dallas 7-13 Seattle
Week 3 — Green Bay 0-7 Seattle
Week 4 — Seattle 7-13 St. Louis

In the first four weeks of the 2012 season, Seattle averaged 7.5 points in the first half.

It didn’t get much better over the next three weeks either. Seattle scored six points in week five against Carolina, ten against New England in week six and six points against the Niners in week seven.

None of this was too shocking given Wilson was a rookie starter — but the Seahawks did have peak Marshawn Lynch to pick up the slack.

2013 season

Week 1 HT — Seattle 3-7 Carolina
Week 2 HT — San Francisco 0-5 Seattle
Week 3 HT — Jacksonville 0-24 Seattle
Week 4 HT — Seattle 3-20 Houston

In the first four weeks of the 2013 season, Seattle averaged 8.75 points in the first half.

Even in the Championship year, the Seahawks struggled to score points early in games at the start of the season. The turnover-riddled Jaguars, breaking in new coach Gus Bradley and starting a major rebuild, helped the cause.

In the three games against Carolina, San Francisco and Houston the Seahawks averaged 3.6 points per first half. Against the Niners, a game fondly remembered by Seahawks fans, Russell Wilson struggled to complete a pass in the first two quarters. The game in Houston was a real struggle until the late rally, inspired by Wilson.

2014 season

Week 1 HT — Green Bay 10-17 Seattle
Week 2 HT — Seattle 14-20 San Diego
Week 3 HT — Denver 3-17 Seattle
Week 4 HT — Seattle 17-7 Washington

In the first four weeks of the 2014 season, Seattle averaged 16.25 points in the first half.

Admittedly this was a much better start, even if the San Diego score flattered the Seahawks in week two. However, they hit a slump over the next three games.

In week five the Seahawks were losing 17-10 against Dallas at half time. They trailed St. Louis 21-6 the following week and scored three first half points against Carolina in week seven — an average of 6.3 points per first half.

2015 season

Week 1 HT — Seattle 10-10 St. Louis
Week 2 HT — Seattle 3-13 Green Bay
Week 3 HT — Chicago 0-6 Seattle
Week 4 HT — Detroit 3-10 Seattle

In the first four weeks of the 2015 season, Seattle averaged 7.25 points in the first half.

In weeks five and six, the Seahawks scored 10 points in the first half against Cincinnati and Carolina respectively.

This means that in a year when Seattle’s offense set franchise records and ranked #2 in the league per DVOA, they scored 8.1 points per first half in the first six weeks of the season.

2016 season

Week 1 HT — Miami 3-6 Seattle
Week 2 HT — Seattle 3-6 Los Angeles
Week 3 HT — San Francisco 3-24 Seattle
Week 4 HT — Seattle 14-10 New York Jets

This run of four games comes with an obvious asterisk. Russell Wilson injured his ankle in week one and then suffered a knee injury against the 49ers in week three. It seriously impacted the offense, especially in the first two games.

They averaged 11.75 points per half in this stretch. The San Francisco game is a big bonus here. The Seahawks had a first half similar to the second half they had against the Colts on Sunday.

In the other three games, they averaged 7.6 points per first half.

Average first half scoring (first four weeks)

2012 — 7.5
2013 — 8.75
2014 — 16.25
2015 — 7.25
2016 — 11.75
2017 — 6.5

As you can see, it’s not uncommon for the Seahawks to start a season scoring 6-8 points in a first half. In 2014, easily their best start in terms of scoring, they averaged 6.25 points in games 5-7. In 2016, the 49ers game boosted what would’ve been a 7.6 point average.

None of this justifies Seattle’s current issues. That’s not the point of the article. They need to get into a rhythm quicker, they can’t afford to wait for adversity to inspire better play and they need to find successful ways to attack opponents early in games.

That said, the perspective comes from acknowledging this is nothing new. What has possibly changed is the way we view the slow starts on offense. In 2013, for example, the big difference is they found a way to grind out the road game in Carolina and they had a miraculous comeback against Houston. This year, in two similar scenarios, they lost to Green Bay and Tennessee.

The Jacksonville game ended with a similar scoreline to the Colts game this year. The Niners win came against a heated rival and fellow contender. Had Seattle beaten Atlanta in week two instead, would you feel better about their situation right now?

There’s still a lot of football to be played this year. Previous years show that a slow start in terms of scoring can be rectified and the team can start to function at full capacity.

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68 Responses to “Some perspective on Seattle’s slow first half performances”

  1. pran says:

    Past performance does not guarantee future success. Let’s hope they do now what they did in the 2nd half in the past!

    i am sure they must be trying out lot of stuff and players in the first half to see what they got and make adjustments for the run.

    • Rob Staton says:

      ‘Past performance does not guarantee future success’

      It doesn’t but I noted in the article that’s not really the point I’m trying to make here. I just wanted to highlight that we’ve been here before — that this isn’t really anything new. And in the past they’ve turned the corner, so let’s see if it happens again.

      • pran says:

        Well.. we could repeat past failures consistently..so success must follow too 🙂 Russ need to pick up the slack, at times he looked like regressed. Hope he turned a page with his performance in 2nd half of Colts game.

  2. FuzzyLOgic says:

    Nice perspective. Something comes to mind though with our 2013 squad…our o-line seemed to be better. I just don’t think we will be able to pull it through this year but I hope so.

  3. Nick says:

    Once again, great perspective Rob. I am extremely interested to see how Seattle deals with Brockers and Donald this weekend. I have a few guesses:

    1) Run out of shotgun more often
    2) Screen game with Lacy/Prosise/McKissic
    3) Jet sweeps with Lockett

    What do others think?

    • Aaron says:

      We definitely need to mix it up against the Rams. We’ve shown through multiple games with them that we can’t do power running against them in the i formation. We can’t go power for power against them because they blow up most of our plays before they get started. We have to do whatever we can to generate a running game (delayed hand offs, screens, jet sweeps, etc). Russ also can’t do five step or seven step drops, that takes too long. Odhiambo, if he plays, is coming off a scary injury and is facing Quinn, not a good scenario. Donald is going to make our guys look silly once again in the interior. Heck, Donald even made the Cowboys interior look bad a few times this past week. Quick passes, creative runs, moving the pocket, deep play action drops instead of traditional drops, whatever it takes. Rams feel like they are all that at 3-1, we need to show them this ain’t a one horse race to the top of the NFC West.

      • Nick says:

        Yeah, running under I formation seems like something we should skip this week. Honestly, I’d prefer us use the passing game to open up the running game.

      • GerryG says:

        “Heck, Donald even made the Cowboys interior look bad a few times this past week.”

        Yeah this scares me!

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      So what is the over/under line on how many runs they will make into the Rams defensive line in the first half??

      12?

      • Nick says:

        I hope they don’t start the game with 1st down runs. I’d love to see some quick 3-4 yard passes. And then that opens up the playbook on second down. Obviously, easier said than done.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d like to see some sweeps or at least have the threat of a sweep in the formation.

      Run the ball — the Rams run-D has been terrible so far.

      Get Wilson on the move, including read option.

      • Nick says:

        +1 on the read option.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        We finally went live with the Lockett Jet sweep last week.

        It really seemed to fluster the Indy D. While not specifically productive, we need to really open the playbook and get the rhythm started early so we can control the clock and the game, force them to pass, get pressure and capitalize

        • Josh says:

          Mckissic seems like a great person to try a jet sweep with. I wouldn’t mind 1 or 2 attempts to get him the ball that way.

    • Volume12 says:

      More slant/flat combos. You can run it out of every formation and 9 S’s outta 10 it’ll produce big plays.

  4. C-Dog says:

    Dave Grosby brought up a really interesting point on 710 a couple days ago. He brought up the Roger Staubach Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s that he grew to become a big fan of, and noted that they were notorious for their second half surges in games.

    The narrative back then was rarely ever about how they would struggle in the first have but more about how Staubach would start pulling of heroics in the second half with his legs and arm to get them the win. Sounds fairly familiar.

    Perhaps in this day and age, even the Staubach era ‘Boys would be under sharper scrutiny by fans and media types in this social media we all react with.

    I swear, whenever I stop and look, there’s practically a twitter reaction to every freaking play in the game these days.

    “oh, the line was horrible there.”

    “Russell was high on that throw.”

    “Locket was wide open there.”

    “Why aren’t they running Thomas Rawls?”

    “I never need to see another bubble screen again.”

    Ya da da

    Ya da da

    Ya da da

    Ya

  5. AlaskaHawk says:

    My main take away from this is that the Seahawks are consistently poor offensively in the first half. But I already knew that.

    Want some improvement? Pay the offense a bonus for each touchdown scored in the first half. And deduct when the other team has a takeaway. That will light a fire under them.

  6. GerryG says:

    This game is a true measuring stick, even though its still early, they need to be in first place.

  7. Adam B. says:

    Unfortunately, slow starts on Offense (both in game, and in season) seem to be a bi-product of the Seahawks philosophy. The Seahawks have chosen to largely invest in a cohesive defensive unit, which (along with a few other factors) has lead to a lot of turnover on offense–Okung, Tate, Unger, Lynch, etc.

    This in turn left, naturally means the offense requires a lot more rookies and outside acquisitions have to find cohesion in-game and in-season.

    It’s not ideal, but given the over-all success of the Seahawks in the Pete Carroll era, I think Bevell and Cable should receive as much praise for their ability to largely overcome these challenges late in game/season, as they (justifiably) receive blame for the early struggles.

    • cha says:

      They also are committed to giving young/relatively inexperienced players reps. It’s a great evaluation tool to do that early in the season, so you have experienced, yet young & talented players taking the field come playoff time. But there is an up-front cost.

      • bankhawk says:

        Great point, Cha!
        I think the reps our rooks and newcomers are getting in the early season are like money in the bank. And based on the way players like Quill, Naz Jones, Coleman and others seem to be responding, I figure we can hope to see a nice return on that investment-even the O-line. Really! The future is bright.
        Cheers.

    • Trevor says:

      Great points Adam and I agree completely with most. The counter would be that our offense and offensive line in particular was horrific in the 1st Half of our last two post season losses (Car, Atl). The games were all but over a Halftime and these are the last and thus most important games of the year.

    • Brandon says:

      It would be interesting to compare how much turnover on offense the Seahawks have had, to other teams.
      It doesn’t seem particularly worse for us than anyone else, but I could be wrong.
      I think having an elite QB *should* be the solution to that problem, in any case. As much as I love Wilson, he still needs to improve at protection calls and recognizing/diagnosing what the defense is doing. There are advantages to be had that we aren’t taking advantage of.

  8. nichansen01 says:

    Dante Pettis has to be in the first round conversation.

    Not only is he a legit difference maker as a returner, he’s a legit weapon in the red zone with his jump ball ability, and he has enough speed (4.39) to stretch the field vertically as a deep threat.

    He’s going to light up the combine. He had 17 total touchdowns last year, and this year he already has 9 through 5 games.

    • nichansen01 says:

      Players with his athleticism and production from big time programs go early. My only knock on him is he needs to add some muscle.

    • C-Dog says:

      In a year in which QBs, OTs, RBs, and pass rushers could fill the first round, I think it would be hard for Pettis to crack into the first round. His return game could see him well into R2, though.

  9. Donald says:

    It seems to me the Hawks offense plays conservative on purpose in the 1st half, not showing their hand, and running basic vanilla plays to see how the opponent plays defense. This allows them to make adjustments at half time, and use the vanilla plays to set up counter plays for the second half. This also gives the opponents defense less time to make adjustments in the second half, catching them by surprise with big plays .

    I hope that is the reason for the slow starts.

    • Volume12 says:

      The 1st 15-18 plays of a game are scripted.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        That was an old GB routine, WC offense….. script 10-15 plays ahead of time. I’m not sure that is the case past the first 2 series in the game…. (with the current OC) and when you go 3 and out 2x in a row to start the game…. maybe they should go off script.

        I also would like to see a few more plays with a run / pass option built in…. not sure they do that many from my untrained eye watching the games.

      • GerryG says:

        Always wonder if they stay on script after they blow 1-2 down and it’s 3rd and 12

  10. Clayton says:

    I know one of the mantras that PC uses is, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” It’s one of those phrases that make sense when you come back to win in the fourth quarter, but it doesn’t make sense if you play bad in the first half and you cannot dig yourself out of the hole you made. We’ve seen both of these situations in the PC era.

  11. Volume12 says:

    NC St. QB Ryan Finley made some big time NFL throws tonight. I’m liking him more and more.

    • Volume12 says:

      NC St WR Kelvin Harmon is a 1st round pick next year. You got my attention young man.

      And NC St’s Jaylen Samuels? Is there a more diverse player in the country? Can play HB, FB, H-back, TE, a little slot receiver, he’s as unique as they come. Multi-dimensionL guy you could do amything with. I’d beat the drum for him all day long, every day.

      While NC St DE Bradley Chubb is a top 12 pick, those other 3 O-lineman? All NFL dudes. BJ Hill, Justin Jones, and Kentavious Street. Jones power at the POA is impressive. Uses his hands like a next level guy.

      • Volume12 says:

        And if Seattle wants another JD McKissic look no further than NC St’s HB Nyheim Hines. Was a WR the last 2 years because of HB Matt Dates and now in his 1st year at HB? Making explosive plays.

        • Volume12 says:

          As for L’ville QB Lamar Jackson. Is there a QB that sees the MOF better than him in college right now? Look at QB DeShaun Watson. He’s allergic to throws over the MOF. Terrified to attempt them.

          And this game will do a hell of a lot for Jackson’s mentality when dealing with NFL pressure with those 4 dudes on NC St’s D-line.

  12. Ed says:

    Not to go off on a tangent. But I think the problem you point out is the reason so many fans are up in arms about DB and TC. Which obviously falls on PC and JS, but none the less.

  13. Greg Haugsven says:

    For me it’s not even about the points they score in the first half it’s about the 3 and outs. If you start at your 20 and get 7 yards and put them it gives the opportunity entry good field position. If you can even get 1 first down, maybe two the punt it’s OK.

  14. nichansen01 says:

    NC state might be UW’s best chance for a team to beat clemson.

    • Trevor says:

      That will be a great game. Two teams with top 5 front 7. Clemson has better secondary and play makers on offense IMO.

  15. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    The common denominator. OC.

    It is odd that they do not get RW moving more in the offense early. It seems like, once he gets the juices flowing, running around…… he gets more dialed into the game and brings out the best in the team. This is essentially why I thought the Colts game (2nd half) was what the Seahawks should/could look like….. opened up the offense and RW working a little magic rushing / improvising.

    It does drive me nuts, they get into a 3rd and long… and try a 20-30 yard pass up the sidelines. The chance of success is relatively low…. and you end up with a 3 and out. Where are the 7-8 yard routes at the sticks?

    To not be a total debbie downer, I actually saw a few plays against the Colts that looked different and innovative. McKissic seemed to have some special packages that got the offense less predictable and it definitely got the Colts on their heels trying to figure out WTH was going on with the Seattle offense…… I’ll give kudos to the OC for drawing up the plays and calling them in game.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well, I’ll say this. Bevell gets a lot of grief when things don’t work. When things work emphatically, the praise often goes elsewhere.

      • Trevor says:

        That is very true Rob. When they suck it is coaching. When they are great it is the players. I have to admit I am guilty of that at times.

        All fan bases do that in all sports though I think. Think about the Liechester coach Claudio Ranieri getting sacked the year after he led them to an historic championship. It is easier to blame 1-2 coaches than a group of players. Was it his fault Vardy forgot how to score? No and it is not Bevell’s fault when Russ sucks but if you need to change things up who do you sack Bevell or Russ? Easy answer andd that is why there are so many coaching changes in the NFL.

        How many OC have been with thier same team as long as Bevell / Cable? .

        • Trevor says:

          I will give you the answer 1. Pete Carmichael, Jr withe the Saints and really Sean Payton is the OC there.

          • Greg Haugsven says:

            One thing that Bevell does that I really like is he will consistently run on 2nd and 10 when a lot of teams will throw.

  16. Trevor says:

    Really anxious to see how Clark and Smith step up with the loss of Avril.

    I think the two keys to this game will be if we can pressure Goff and get some turnovers and how we contain / block Aaron Donald.

    • mishima says:

      IMO, the key is how well we scheme away from Donald: screens, sweeps, quick outs, read option. some fun with McKissic, Prosise (active?), Lockett.

      Donald is a beast. You can’t contain him.

    • C-Dog says:

      I think they are going to send Wagner and company a few times in this game. Get Goff to drop his eyes for a bit. Richard is more willing to blitz than any DC on a Pete Carroll coached team than I can remember.

  17. Mac says:

    Has anyone had a chance to listen to Russell’s podcast called “DangerTalk” that he started this season? He releases it once a week. It’s very conversational and shows a different (rather than just textbook answers like in interviews) side of Russell — thoughts on the key moments from the previous game, preparation for the next game, and relating football moments to handling adversity in life.

    For example, this week he talked about why he got so amped after his TD run and what his conversation in the game with Jimmy looked like after his first few targets were picked off. Interestingly enough, he also talked about how excited he is to see the improvement that Goff has had this year and why the Rams always seem to give them trouble.

    Obviously, he is still somewhat limited on what he can share but some of the information he does talk tell about the team is hard to find anywhere else. This is my favorite site for seahawks news (thank you Rob!) and I wanted to share the podcast with this community to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet. Go check it out!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Have you got a link?

      • Mac says:

        I saw Russell kept tweeting about “TraceMe” and it turns out that it is an app he and his team launched recently. It gives you a peek at his life by posting different content daily — one of which is a weekly podcast

        The only way to listen is thru the app. Right now I think it is only available on iOS so you can download it on the iTunes store or here:

        https://www.traceme.com/

  18. Ross says:

    I feel like it’s very possible that the second half against the Colts will lift Wilson’s confidence significantly to where he’s playing like he’s capable. In the first 3 games he looked apprehensive and was missing open looks. I’m hopeful that Colts’ 2nd half where he felt confident and dropped dimes all over the field is his launch pad to an MVP type season.

  19. FuzzyLOgic says:

    This game will be a HUGE test for us. The Rams gave us fits with a lot less weapons.

    • Rob Staton says:

      They did — but their defense is playing very poorly so far this year. Part of the annual struggles were Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams — however much they struggled overall, they always seemed to have something saved for Seattle. Different staff now, new opportunities.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        Our offense can sometimes make defenses look like the 2000 Ravens. Hopefully that isn’t the case on Sunday.

  20. Volume12 says:

    If Seattle wants to open up this offense and get back to running the ball how do you possibly kill those 2 birds with 1 stone?

    Stanford HB Bryce Love. Still think Seattle will really take a liking to him.

  21. Matt B. says:

    I think the slow starts are likely a result of many different “failures” so to speak, I think the bigger issue for us this year has been lack of execution seemingly from a different player each time, whether its Russ throwing the ball a little too high, one of the O-Line getting beat bad, RB missing the hole, or just receivers dropping passes (or bouncing them into an interception). What I saw in the 2nd half of Sunday night is the potential of this team realized which is scary good.

    I’m also hopeful because our offense wasn’t as anemic as the box score shows in the first half, we did grab some first downs and had some fluky plays like the two picks (especially the second one) that derailed drives. This upcoming game is going to be so interesting because I still think of the Rams as the team we’ve struggled against year over year but their entire identity has been almost completely switched with the exception of Donald still wrecking O-Lines up the middle. This will be a great test on both sides of the ball and it will be interesting to see if our coaching staff is willing to switch up our normal offensive philosophy enough to try to counter their pressure. Seems like we need to work on attacking the perimeter which seems to be the weaker part of their defense than trying to move the ball straight up the gut into Donald or calling longer developing passing plays. Wilson needs to be very decisive when he’s throwing and be willing to throw it away if the first couple/3 reads aren’t there.

  22. Ukhawk says:

    GAME DAY!

    Can’t wait after personally a long week.

    Finally a game with something serious in the balance. Our guys excel under pressure.

    Can’t wait to see if the newbies can step up the intensity. Men vs Boys.

    Love being the underdog, champion being questioned, fuel to the 🔥.

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