So, I got to thinking about sacks. That’s been the big push this offseason, right? Finding a way to pressure the quarterback more. What’s the best way to pressure the quarterback? Sack him. Ideally, sack him, which causes him to fumble, which leads to your team picking it up and returning it for a touchdown. Over and over again, every single drive, all game.
The thing is, getting sacks is tough. The Seahawks sacked the quarterback 36 times in 2012 and allowed Russell Wilson to be sacked 33 times. Both of those figures are pretty unimpressive. Pretty middle-of-the-road, or worse. They’re not TERRIBLE numbers, mind you, but they’re not great either.
What I wanted to find out is: how efficient were the Seahawks? On defense, how many of those sacks resulted in the Seahawks getting the ball back, either by forcing a punt or a turnover? On offense, how many of those sacks were we able to overcome by scoring later in that same drive?
So, I dug through the game logs. Here’s what I found:
Of the 33 times Russell Wilson was sacked, 15 resulted in the Seahawks punting on that drive. 4 resulted in a turnover on downs. 2 of his sacks resulted in a fumble by him recovered by the opposing team (with another sack happening on one of those drives the play before he coughed up the ball). 1 sack happened a few plays before Marshawn Lynch fumbled to the other team. 1 sack resulted in a missed field goal.
So, 24 of the 33 sacks resulted in no points for the Seahawks. In fact, one of those sacks was a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
6 of the sacks were overcome, with the Seahawks scoring a field goal on that drive. 3 of the sacks were overcome, with the Seahawks scoring a touchdown on that drive.
Of the 33 times Russell Wilson was sacked, only 8 of them were on third down. That’s huge. Getting sacked on third down is almost always a drive-killer. They either replace scoring opportunities with punts or touchdown opportunities with field goals.
What do these numbers mean? It’s tough to say. Obviously, it underscores how important sacks are. The more you’re able to prevent your quarterback from being tackled behind the line of scrimmage, the better your chances of scoring; I believe Dan Fouts once said that. We’re talking about somewhere around 3/4 of all drives with a sack ending in no points!
Let’s see how the defense fared:
Of the 36 times the Seahawks sacked the other team’s quarterback, 19 resulted in that team eventually punting on that drive (of note, 8 of those came against Green Bay, with 3 of them on the same drive and 2 others on another drive, for a total of 5 punts forced). 4 resulted in a turnover on downs. 5 resulted in a fumble recovered by the Seahawks on that play (1 returned for a TD). 2 of the sacks happened on drives where we eventually went on to intercept the football.
That’s a whopping 30 of 36 sacks happening on drives that resulted in no points!
4 of our sacks were overcome and led to field goals, 2 others were overcome and led to touchdowns. Not too shabby, huh?
The Seahawks got 14 of their 36 sacks on third down (39%). That compares favorably to Russell Wilson, where only 24% of his sacks were on third down.
All in all, this post didn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know, but now you have numbers to go with what you already know! Good for you!