Thursday, October 18, 2012
Can Russell Wilson throw downfield on SF?
By ESPN Stats & Information
On Wednesday, ESPN Stats & Info debated which defense has been more impressive in 2012, the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers?
But what about the leaders -- specifically the quarterbacks -- on the other side of the ball?
At 4-2, Seattle's Russell Wilson is the only one of the five starting rookie QBs who has a winning record.
His first start of the season was on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, and he went 1-of-3 with an interception on throws more than 20 yards downfield. In the five games since, Wilson is 9-for-16 with five touchdowns on such throws. However, the 49ers defense that has yet to allow a score this season on the deep ball.
Wilson has not been the same QB on the road as he has at home. All six of his interceptions have come on the road and his Total QBR ranks 25th at 30.0. Overall, the Seahawks are averaging 15.0 points per game on the road. In fact, Seattle’s offense has not scored more than 16 points in any of its three road games.
So not only have the Seahawks been a different team on the road, but they're playing a 49ers club that has been on roll at home against NFC West opponents.
The 49ers have won 10 straight home games against divisional opponents, the longest active streak in the NFL and the 49ers longest streak since 11 straight home divisional wins from 1991-95.
San Francisco's starting QB, Alex Smith, is coming off a three-interception game in Week 6, snapping a streak of 26 straight games without throwing multiple interceptions.
One indicator of Smith’s success this season has been his effectiveness throwing the ball more than 10 yards downfield (see chart). In 2012, Smith already has thrown more interceptions on throws more than 10 yards downfield (four) than he did all of last season (three).
Both the 49ers and the Seahawks have solid running backs who are coming off their worst games of the season.
Frank Gore had just 36 yards Sunday against the New York Giants, and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 41 yards against the New England Patriots. Last season, however, Lynch rushed for 107 yards in Week 16 against the 49ers. He’s one of only two running backs since the start of 2010 who has rushed for 100 yards against San Francisco. (The other was Ahmad Bradshaw last week.)
Can Gore get back on track against Seattle’s defense, which ranks second against the run this season? Gore has 18 rushes this season of at least 10 yards, which is tied for most in the NFL with the Washington Redskins Alfred Morris. However, the Seahawks have allowed just 10 runs of at least 10 yards this season, that’s tied for second-fewest in the league.