The most important 8 minutes of football
Seahawks blew the middle of the game against Washington, can they start taking advantage? Seaside Joe 1716
Before the start of every football game, luck immediately plays a part in the outcome: “Who won the coin toss?”
I don’t care if you call it 1% or 10%, who gets the ball to start the game is more than 0% of the deciding factor in the end result. This is not disputible and for one key reason above all: Each possession is HUGE in a game of football and the opportunity to score and then receive the next kickoff is afforded to only one team, that being the team that kicks off to start.
When the Seattle Seahawks won the toss and deferred in Sunday’s 29-26 win over the Washington Moons, it gave them an opportunity to gain a significant advantage if they could score on back to back possessions during “the most important 8 minutes of football”. What they did not know is that they would actually have three possessions in a matter of four game minutes.
What I would like to forget is that they came out of that portion of the game without gaining an advantage at all.
This is a reminder of the most important eight minutes of football and why the Seahawks are only making it harder on themselves by mismanaging these opportunities against teams that they should beat, like Washington in the past. And those that they could beat, like the 49ers ahead.
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Before we get started, here’s a reminder of a video I shared this summer from an excellent (and criminally under-subscribed) YouTube channel called Philly Film Room. Yeah, it’s an Eagles channel so it’s not for everyone, but the analysis is unbelievably good and makes Xs and Os easy to understand:
In this video, it is explained that in college football, teams that win the middle eight minutes (last 4:00 of the first half, first 4:00 of the second half) win 74% of the time, which is higher than at any other point in a game. The correlation between the middle-eight and the final result is much less significant in the NFL (57%) but not insignificant.
You might also be thinking what I thought: “Well, it’s not surprising that teams that outscore their opponents during any eight minutes would end up winning more often not”. But isn’t it also sensible to make the connection between rare double-score opportunities that teams will get if they defer the opening kickoff and then manage the clock to create the final points of the first half?
That’s easy to understand.
But it doesn’t seem to be that simple for Pete Carroll and Geno Smith. I do not intend to attack their football accumen, they will forget more about the game than I will ever learn. However, even Pete admits that he screwed up on Sunday, and I believe fans can also infer that the coach is partially also protecting the quarterback, as he feels that’s part of his job.
They are both responsible. How’s that for fairness?
Pete took “total responsibility” for the fact that the Seahawks got 0 points on the final drive of the first half because of a sack/intentional grounding call that ran off the last :07 when a field goal was well in range:
What did happen in the middle eight minutes?
The Seahawks are 6-3 but have been outscored 33-32 in the middle eight minutes of the game through 10 weeks. What happened in those contests and how can Seattle improve moving forward, giving the Seahawks a real chance to beat some of these tough opponents in the next five weeks? That’s what I’m covering with the rest of today’s article and the findings are super enlightening on what separates the Seahawks from “good” to being “great”: