In the preview thread LiveAdam brought up a great point about the Seahawk Run Defense and just measuring statistics in general. Here is what he said:
Without looking at the overall context, the Seahawks’ run defense looks excellent, posting the statistics noontide provided above. Yet, this unit has faced the 2nd fewest rushing attempts (140) in the league. At the same time, the Seahawks’ pass defense ranks 29th overall, facing the 2nd most attempts per game (41) and giving up an average 6.9 yards per attempt (18th in the league).
...Are teams simply abandoning the run against Seattle because they know they will have more success through the air? Could it be that Seattle’s run defense isn’t as good as the stats suggest, only now to be even further weakened by the loss of DT Brandon Mebane?
I don’t have answers to these questions, they are simply points of discussion as we move towards a pivotal game on Sunday.
The discussion progressed, check it out if you haven't seen it, but a quick overview is: LiveAdam posted their rushing numbers and pointed out the highest rated rushing attack they have faced is 13th. A Seahawk fan then said the reason for the low ranking is that 1/6th of those numbers were against the Hawks. Well this got me thinking. Most of those opponents, 1/6th of those numbers were also against the Raiders.
Take a look at the common opponents rushing numbers against each team.
Rams 21-75 3.6 ypc Rams 28-88 3.1 ypc
Cardinals 26-119 4.6 ypc Cardinals 20-113 5.7 ypc
Chargers 26-91 3.5 ypc Chargers 21-89 4.2 ypc
49ers 31-158 5.1 ypc 49ers 19-49 2.6 ypc
Broncos 17-75 4.4 ypc Broncos 38-65 1.7 ypc
Raiders 121-518 4.3 ypc Seahawks 126-404 3.2 ypc
Take away Frank Gore's 64 yard run and you have a closer number of 3.8 ypc to 3.2 ypc.
I hate when teams or people say, "If you take away that long run we held them to (insert excuse number here)."
To which I say, "Yeah that's great. How 'bout instead of taking it away in our imagination you just stop them from doing it in reality!"
I think for the purposes of this comparison it is fair though. After all, we are not trying to judge the Raiders run D, we are trying to gage the Hawks and it is only one carry out of 121. If you don't want to do that, just look at it game by game. There are a lot more similarities than differences. Yet the common perception is that the Seahawks run D is stellar and the Raiders is disgusting.
There are countless varying factors that go into these numbers. Such as injuries, game situations, weather, any given Sunday etc...but looking at those factors, if anything, it weighs towards the fact that the Raiders have had a harder test against the run that the Hawks.
For example, Steven Jackson was injured in the 3rd against Seattle. They did not face Ryan Mathews and only Mike Tolbert. The Raiders were more worried about Denver passing against them, then they were about the rush. The Hawks could say the same about the Cards, but come on, Max Hall was the QB. It's not like they were playing prevent.
Maybe all of this means nothing, maybe the Hawks D is a stone wall or maybe they haven't really been tested? I don't know, but I am fairly certain we are all about to find out. Let's just hope Campbell and the *Smurfs complete enough passes to keep them honest.
*the coaches new nickname for Ford and Miller Lite