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Updated Play Counts for Seahawks



Seattle's defense came into week 4 the freshest in the league, but the grueling overtime win against the Titans could take its toll. Image from msn.foxsports.
An oft-overlooked stat line that played a vital role in Seattle's 2012 late-season surge is total plays ran. Over the course of 16 games, the Seahawks ran 1942 plays from scrimmage (974 on offense and 968 on defense), compared to a league average of 2055. That's almost like having an extra bye week.

After wins against Carolina and San Francisco, Pete Carroll's combination of heavy running and stifling defense was once again reducing injury risk and keeping his players fresher from week to week. At that time, Seattle had run the fewest total scrimmage plays, and the 101 total snaps for the Seattle defense was best in the league by a margin of ten, hvaing played thirty snaps fewer than the league average (101 versus 131).

The blowout of Jacksonville at CenturyLink Field featured more plays than usual, but the Seahawks' reserves came in early and often to share the load. All this set up the defense to finish strong in Houston, forcing 6 punts and 2 turnovers on the Texans' final 8 drives.

But, alas, there were a lot of plays from scrimmage in that game. Here are the updated scrimmage play averages (per game) as of 4 October:
  • Oakland Raiders - - Total: 123.0
  • Defense: 63.0 (7) - - Offense: 60.0
  • Indianapolis Colts - - Total: 124.5
  • Defense: 59.0 (3) - - Offense: 65.5
  • New Orleans Saints - - Total: 124.8
  • Defense: 56.0 (1) - - Offense: 68.8
  • Chicago Bears - - Total: 125.8
  • Defense: 62.5 (6) - - Offense: 63.3
  • Pittsburgh Steelers - - Total: 125.8
  • Defense: 63.3 (9) - - Offense: 62.5
  • San Francisco 49ers - - Total: 126.0
  • Defense: 65.0 (16) - - Offense: 61.0
  • Tennessee Titans - - Total: 127.3
  • Defense: 61.5 (5) - - Offense: 65.8
  • San Diego Chargers - - Total: 127.5
  • Defense: 64.3 (14) - - Offense: 63.3
  • Seattle Seahawks - - Total: 127.8
  • Defense: 63.8 (10) - - Offense: 64.0
  • Atlanta Falcons - - Total: 127.8
  • Defense: 64.0 (13) - - Offense: 63.8
  • Dallas Cowboys - - Total: 127.8
  • Defense: 65.3 (18) - - Offense: 62.5
  • Carolina Panthers - - Total: 128.0
  • Defense: 61.3 (4) - - Offense: 66.7
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - - Total: 128.0
  • Defense: 65.0 (17) - - Offense: 63.0
  • Cincinnati Bengals - - Total: 129.5
  • Defense: 66.0 (20) - - Offense: 63.5
  • Arizona Cardinals - - Total: 129.8
  • Defense: 67.3 (21) - - Offense: 62.5
  • Miami Dolphins - - Total: 130.3
  • Defense: 69.3 (26) - - Offense: 61.0
  • St. Louis Rams - - Total: 130.5
  • Defense: 63.8 (11) - - Offense: 66.8
  • Detroit Lions - - Total: 131.3
  • Defense: 64.8 (15) - - Offense: 66.5
  • Green Bay Packers - - Total: 131.3
  • Defense: 63.0 (8) - - Offense: 68.3
  • New York Giants - - Total: 132.3
  • Defense: 72.5 (29) - - Offense: 59.8
  • Kansas City Chiefs - - Total: 132.5
  • Defense: 63.8 (12) - - Offense: 68.8
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers - - Total: 132.8
  • Defense: 68.5 (24) - - Offense: 64.3
  • Houston Texans - - Total: 133.8
  • Defense: 58.3 (2) - - Offense: 75.5
  • New York Jets - - Total: 134.8
  • Defense: 65.8 (19) - - Offense: 69.0
  • Minnesota Vikings - - Total: 135.5
  • Defense: 73.8 (31) - - Offense: 61.8
  • Washington Redskins - - Total: 136.0
  • Defense: 69.5 (27) - - Offense: 66.5
  • Baltimore Ravens - - Total: 137.0
  • Defense: 67.5 (23) - - Offense: 69.5
  • New England Patriots - - Total: 139.0
  • Defense: 67.3 (22) - - Offense: 71.8
  • Cleveland Browns - - Total: 139.8
  • Defense: 70.8 (28) - - Offense: 69.0
  • Denver Broncos - - Total: 140.0
  • Defense: 69.0 (25) - - Offense: 71.0
  • Philadelphia Eagles - - Total: 141.3
  • Defense: 74.5 (32) - - Offense: 66.8
  • Buffalo Bills - - Total: 145.2
  • Defense: 72.6 (30) - - Offense: 72.6
  • League Average - - Total: 131.4
  • Defense: 65.7 - - Offense: 65.8
Bad News, Worse News:
Seattle dropped to 9th overall and 10th on defense (fewer plays rank higher). Worse, the defense was on the field for 89 scrimmage plays against the Texans, a whopping 34-play increase over their prior average.

The Colts, meanwhile, are one of the freshest teams in the league, coming off their own blowout of the Jaguars in which the defense was in for a paltry 39 scrimmage plays.


Hopeful News:
Seattle's defense is deeper than ever, especially up front where fatigue is the biggest factor. Michael Bennett practiced this week and is listed as probable, after being taken off the field on a stretcher last Sunday with a lower back injury. Bruce Irvin also returns after a four-game suspension, and rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill is listed as "Probable" after sitting out the first four games with a sore bicep.

On the offensive side, the benefits of that long game might equal or outweigh the cost of fatigue. With so much inexperience on the offensive line covering for injured starters, every rep of full-speed game action is valuable.

And finally, wear-and-tear are the biggest concern on offense for players who take the hits and get tackled. Marshawn Lynch looks to be in pretty good shape, having needed only 17 carries and 3 receptions to pick up 143 total yards against Houston.




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