I would say that the drop off when we lost Clemons was extremely significant.
Excellent point. In its own way, the loss of Clemons was pretty similar (to the loss of Marquand Manuel in SB XL) in its devastating impact on the Seahawks overall game. With Clemons in the game, we beat Atlanta, no question. We get either a crucial sack, and/or a crucial, pressure-related pick, or both. Our run defense is stronger, and Atlanta doesn't go out of their way to run at Clemons, and our run D doesn't allow a washed-up Michael Turner to look quite so much like Emmett Smith in his prime. Losing Clemons = similar impact, but very different reasons.
Clemons was the guy whose play partially covered up for the lack of interior pass rush from our DT's. Losing Clemons highlighted the Seahawks lack of pass rush from the DT spots. It highlighted Bruce Irvin's overall inexperience, and tendency to get locked up with, and mowed over by, big O-linemen. Losing Clemons exposed that too much of the Seattle D was held together by chewing gum and baling twine. Read: Jason Jones(out), Alan Branch(very little pass rush), Red Bryant (with a bad wheel), and toss in Bruce Irvin and Gregg Scruggs (rookies still getting schooled), then toss in Leroy Hill (old and slowing)
The difference is that the PC/JS front office isn't taking it lying down. They have aggressively addressed each of those issues. Clemons out? No problem, we got Cliff Avril, a near Clemons clone. We got Michael Bennett, who also can pick up a lot of that slack as a pass rushing DE or even rush from a DT spot in some packages. PC/JS addressed the DT issues by drafting Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, and we can hope Greg Scruggs and/or Jaye Howard show us something this year. Marcus Trufant slowing/getting beaten? OK, bring in Antoine Winfield, an upgrade at slot corner.
PC/JS seem to have a similar incremental improvement program going in the secondary, and, with TC, in the O-line area as well.
Another huge, huge risk area is Marshawn Lynch, and the overall beating he takes. I love, love, love the Christine Michael pick. Lynch goes down, and other teams still need to fear and adjust to our featured running back. They even addressed the MRob aging dropoff/injury risk with the Spencer Ware pick.
Right now, the biggest risks to this team are: 1) Losing Russell Wilson; 2) Losing Earl Thomas. In both cases, the dropoff would be huge.
I'm not seeing the chaos theory as much as shrewd, probability-theory-based gamblers, looking to improve the percentage of 1-on-1 battles their side wins, with whatever combination of players are on the field, knowing that on any one given play during a game, one player winning his 1-on-1 battle could make the difference between winning or losing the game. (And yes, more like combination of scheme and player executing within that scheme)
I'm not really trying to put the chaos theory explanation down... in truth, I can't say I really understand chaos theory or how and when it can be useful, and especially its usefulness in predictions and in guiding decisions. I'm seeing it more as an after-the-fact, gee-whiz-that's-fascinating explanation of what happened. I acknowledge my ignorance in that area, and if someone can shed more light on how the chaos theory model is predictively useful, I'm all ears. For now, applying Occam's Razor, the simpler probability-based explanation is one I can make sense of.