RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Buried within the dizzying numbers the Seattle Seahawks have posted the last three weeks that grabbed the attention of the entire NFL, is a steady rise in efficiency that's at the base of not only their scoring eruption, but the Seahawks' late-season charge to win six of seven.
It may sound as if what coaches and players say all the time, but Seattle's has been dramatically better on third-down conversions and in the red zone as the season has progressed.
Why have the Seahawks become the second-most efficient team at scoring inside the 20 in the NFL and coming off the third-best performance on third down of any team in the last 20 years? Because Seattle has made it a non-stop point of emphasis.
"We've progressed because we've made the choice we want to get better," Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate said. "... We've just been real serious about it and working hard at it."
The Seahawks (10-5) have scored 150 points the last three weeks, the first team to accomplish that feat since 1950. The dynamic play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the raw numbers Seattle posted has quickly given the Seahawks the tag of the team no one in the NFC wants to face early in the playoffs. Seattle is already bound for the postseason no matter what happens in Sunday's regular-season finale against St. Louis. They will likely end up the No. 5 seed in the NFC, but could finish as high as second or third with help from others.
But some of the underlying reasons why Seattle is suddenly an offensive powerhouse are because of its third-down efficiency and continuing to convert when they do put drives together.
In five of their last six games, the Seahawks third-down conversion rate has exceeded the league average of 38 percent. Seattle went a stunning 11 of 13 on third downs against San Francisco. The only two failed conversions against the 49ers came when Wilson scrambled around the San Francisco defense for 18 seconds before coming up short on a third-down run and when backup quarterback Matt Flynn took a knee on the final play of the game.
The 11 of 13 was the best conversion percentage —84.6 — in the NFL this season and the third-best in the regular season over the last 20 years, according to STATS, Inc. The only times that number was bettered was New Orleans against Detroit in 2008 (11 of 12) and St. Louis versus Denver in 2000 (6 of 7).
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