This Week In Defense 2019 Week 10 Seahawks @ 49ers

Narrative Of The Game:

Can Seattle win? Is San Francisco for real? Is this the return of an old rivalry dead since 2014? Can the offense take on this 49ers defense and win? I have never seen so many questions about one game and two teams. No one really had a feel for what could happen. Even for myself, I had little feel for how this contest would go. All I felt good about was Pete getting his team prepared to play under the lights on Monday Night. So lets take a look at how it all shook out.

Author’s Note: I spotlighted double the plays this week because of the nature of the game. Every drive seemed huge. So I just kept marking plays down. Won’t be a regular occurrence, but with the bye week here, I figured a little extra couldn’t hurt. Enjoy!

[First Quarter 14:20 2nd and 9. Run right by Coleman for -1 yard. Tackled by Poona Ford.]

Normally a scenario where Al Woods starts the game. Poona was there for both these early run snaps. It’s neat to watch him read and surge and close. Clowney who blew up the previous run holds outside leverage well here. It causes Coleman to hesitate for a moment and Poona gets to him for the 1-yard loss. Run defense couldn’t have gone any better early.

[First Quarter 13:46 3rd and 10. Jimmy G pass to Kendrick Bourne for 16 yards. Tackled by Jamar Taylor.]

Just a simple medium depth crossing pattern where Jamar Taylor gets beat. Seattle is geared to take away the run and run man coverage. So early signs were not promising after this play. Pass rush wasn’t there, but I noticed Jimmy was waiting for this route specifically. Definitely staring it down. The play comes out of the bunch formation so it takes quite a hiccup for the niners to execute.

[First Quarter 8:32 3rd and 5. Jimmy G incomplete pass intended for Goodwin. Jamar Taylor in coverage.]

Jimmy evades the 5 man pressure initially but Bobby is acting as a spy to prevent a scramble. Once again Shanahan uses a bunch formation. Jimmy slides away from the pressure causing him to hold the ball and then attempt to bullet it into Goodwin who’s open against Jamar Taylor again. The 49ers were clearly targeting Seattle’s nickle corner in these early drives. Luckily the ball sails high and the 49ers settle for three points.

[First Quarter 2:13 3rd and 8. Jimmy G pass to Kendrick Bourne for an 11-yard Touchdown. Jamar Taylor in coverage.]

San Fransisco motions Sanders across the formation to set 3 receivers to the right side. They basically clear the crossing route once again and Jimmy throws behind a blitz as Taylor loses his man. This drive featured a 30-yard pass to Samuel on a slant and a 22-yard run by Coleman so the defense was on it’s heels in the redzone a bit. Nothing very complex about the niners scheme here. Very similar to the rams approach, but with shorter concepts. These are the last points the offense would score however until 6 minutes to go in the football game.

[Second Quarter 14:26 3rd and 8. Jimmy G Pass complete to Coleman for 4-yards. Tackled by McDougald.]

The defense forces it’s first 3-and out it forever. Once again the 49ers feature a bunch formation on the right side. They only release two receivers and keep Dwelley in to block. Seattle covers everything up and Jimmy throws the outlet quickly to give his guy a chance to make McDougald miss. He does not.

[Second Quarter 7:28 3rd and 3. Jimmy pass incomplete intended for Dante Pettis covered by Tre Flowers.]

The first series where we see real differences on third down. (This time they have 3 receivers on the left side instead of the right.) Jimmy G. is staring left the whole way. Seattle zone drops rushes four but Jimmy is off schedule and his receivers don’t work back to him. Flowers stays sticky down the field and keeps this pass from being completed.

[Second Quarter 3:03 2nd and 7. Jimmy G. sacked by Jarran Reed fumble recovered for a 23-yard Touchdown by Jadeveon Clowney.]

Credit a nice little twist and Jimmy G yet again staring down his 3 receiver side. Never sees the rush until he tries to come back right to the two receiver side. Poona Ford times a nice twist with Reed. His surge up the field cleans a path right to Jimmy. Sack fumble. Nicely executed. I could watch this all day.

[Second Quarter 2:05 3rd and 14. Jimmy G pass incomplete inteded for Dante Pettis.]

This time the 49ers show a max protect look with two men in the backfield beside Jimmy G. and two WRs. The pass rush is contained here, but check out Shaqueem Griffin and Clowney stunting inside. It’s a nice little wrinkle and the most they’ve gotten out of the other defensive end spot minus rushes from Quinton Jefferson early in the year. Bradley McDougald hit Pettis hard, but he’s not the only safety to make a play like that on this drive. Earlier Diggs blew up Kyle Alphabetname on a seam route. Good stuff. Seattle’s defense looks good a settled in for the long haul.

[Third Quarter 10:58 2nd and 6. Jimmy G Sacked by Poona Ford for -5-yards.]

Jadeveon Clowney makes this play happen as he surges up the field nearly molested. This causes Jimmy to have to try and avoid him, but with no pocket yet developed he can’t see down field and just gets lost in the wash as Poona Ford takes him down. Its also one of the first times the niners use motion into the backfield here with one of their wideouts.

[Third Quarter 10:05 4th and 2. Jimmy G pass incomplete intended for Samuel. Jamar Taylor in coverage.]

Taylor stopped Dwelley on 3rd and 11 and then gets challenged here by Samuel on 4th and 2. I’m a little surprised no flag got thrown but Jimmy’s pass was fast and inaccurate as Samuel had to attempt to reach behind him. Yet another 3 receiver side that Jimmy stared down.

[Third Quarter 6:22 1st and 10. Jimmy G. Pass intercepted by Quandre Diggs intended for Kendrick Bourne. Returned 45-yards.]

This is sort of a lucky play combined with Jimmy sailing everything high seemingly after those first few drives. Diggs sees the pass deflect of Bourne’s hands and makes a great catch. Seattle brings pressure on a play pass. A better QB completes this pass. Jimmy has a great pocket to step up into despite the blitz and he just doesn’t. Then he sails the ball high. Scratch your head. This is rookie shit right here.

[Third Quarter 3:49 2nd and 18. Jimmy G. sacked by Jadeveon Clowney fumble recovered by Poona Ford.]

After a sack was wiped out because of a helmet penalty on Quinton Jefferson the 49ers get called for holding on dump pass and that puts us in 2nd and 18. Clowney’s impact plays were not just good, they were dominant and this is the prime example. He just surges to Jimmy here and knocks the ball out. Just like Jimmy’s last fumble he never sees the rush coming. Poona Ford is on the spot for the recovery.

[Fourth Quarter 15:00 1st and 10. Jimmy G pass incomplete intended for Samuel. Coverage by Quandre Diggs.]

I’m not sure what Tre Flowers is doing on this play but the bobble by Samuel lets Diggs clean it up. Nothing technical, just worth a watch. Both safeties brought the wood in this game.

[Fourth Quarter 14:20 3rd and 11. Jimmy G. Pass incomplete intended for Kendrick Bourne. Broken up by Jamar Taylor.]

After those first two drives Taylor makes his most impactful play of the game here. Toughness, resilience, whatever discriptor you want to use, it would be apt here.

[Fourth Quarter 7:11 2nd and 3. Jimmy G sacked by Al Woods for -5-yards.]

The 49ers get their first drive going since the INT play by Diggs. They picked on Tre Flowers a bit these last two drives and it started to pay off. They even went against him for the 2 point conversion. However, Clowney has a big assist on this run pass option play. Leaving him unblocked is super right and correct. Al Woods gets the sack and this ends up forcing a field goal on the only real deep drive since 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. Tre Flowers drops a pick to cap off a tough series.

[Fourth Quarter 1:39 1st and 10. Jimmy G incomplete pass intended for Dwelley. Broken up by KJ Wright.]

This play is worth watching just because Clowney blows throw Joe Staley like paper. It’s awesome. Watch it. KJ should have caught this.

[Fourth Quarter 1:18 1st and 10. Jimmy G Incomplete pass intended for Kendrick Bourne. Broken up by Bobby Wagner.]

Clowney stunts with Jefferson and nearly gets another sack on this second missed INT. Watch this one too. Do it.

[Fourth Quarter :25 2nd and 4. Jimmy G pass to Coleman for 6-yards. Tackled by KJ Wright.]

Coleman has been the sole mover on this drive. 3 straight completions to him after Wagner’s drop. However, KJ’s hustle prevents Coleman from getting out of bounds and forces a timeout by the 49ers. There’s a short throw over the middle to Samuel to get them a decent shot at the FG. So Shanahan strangely plays for the tie here as this was clearly by design.

[Fifth Quarter 3:30 3rd and 2. Run up the middle by Mostert for 1.91 yards. Tackled by Al Woods.]

Just a surge by the line and Mostert sits down about 10% of the football short.

[Fifth Quarter 1:42 3rd and 10. Jimmy G pass incomplete intended for Samuel. Broken up by Shaquill Griffin.]

Seattle’s final defensive play was made by it’s most improved player. After a deflection and then a bad throw set up this 3rd and 10. Shaquill is looking for the ball and just battles and battles and battles until he breaks up the pass. After the two quick throws were incomplete Jimmy throws his first sideline pass all game. Everything else has been over the middle or a a crossing pass. Nothing deep up the sideline until this pass. Gutsy if dumb call by Shanahan. Playing for the tie doesn’t hurt him here. Thank god he did not do that.

Game Wrap:

The watch back of this game was quite enlightening. I think Kyle Shanahan did indeed fire his best shots early. These are the plays they picked specifically to challenge Seattle. These are likely the plays they ran on walk through. Jimmy commanded those very well, but once outside that structure, he suffered significant drop off.

Forcing Jimmy to his second look or at least off his first gave Seattle a significant advantage in the secondary. I don’t think this has as much to do with Kittle being out and Sanders missing much of this game. I think Kyle Shanahan is trying to minimize his QB for now. I don’t think in watching this game that Jimmy G. is anywhere near piloting a top team without a lot of support.

As far as Seattle’s defense? This was a case in sticking to their guns and being resilient. Jamar Taylor, Tre Flowers, Shaquill Griffin they all battled and made plays despite having bad parts in the game. Add in a inspired pass rush and well-timed game calls and Seattle’s defense made big plays for the remaining 57 minutes of the game. Quandre Diggs will only improve under Pete Carroll and Bradley McDougald had his most impact in 2019. Wherever that leaves Blair, I’m not certain. Thoughts? Concerns?

Game Ball:

Jadeveon Clowney easily takes this one. He had some flashes early but it was his absolute unblockable plays late that had the NFL world buzzing. Rightly so. I haven’t seen a late game wrecked like that by one defender in quite a while. At least when in a Seahawks uniform.

Needs work:

Nickel Jamar Taylor wasn’t terrible in this game after the early offense by the Niners. However, I’m starting to see some problems he’s making for other guys. Specifically his communicating and pattern matching is very bad. Seattle’s going to need an upgrade here sooner rather than later.

  1. Okay Josh, last week you took a mini beating, mostly for the Ken Norton game ball thing, but this week ya done good man, all the way down the line.

    Likely because of the extended time between games, Shanahan would figure to have the greater advantage in the opening drives…………..what are often referred to as the “scripted” plays. The one time in the game when each side needs to see what/how the opposition is going to play to figure out how to react. For that opening quarter it sure looked like things were going to play out the way the hype train travelers projected. But then the charged up Seahawks began to impose their will. I saw a story that seemingly is only a blip on the screen of review about how Clowney got up in front of the team (maybe only the D unit) Saturday night and gave an impassioned talk about how they all, including himself, weren’t playing up to their potential and that he was going to commit himself to upping his game to what he felt he should achieve. Looks like it worked. Bobby has some leadership skills, but he’s more of an example leader rather than a motivator. That role used to be the province of Mr. Chancellor……………….the tough, respected by all, don’t disappoint “The Man” , kind of leadership that has been missing since Kam left the field. If it sticks we’ve got our next “The Man”. The defense will be better for it.

    There’s still room to grow and meld, but the acquisition of Diggs looks like a good upgrade, perhaps in time a great one. Does question where Blair will fit in, but I suspect he’s being disciplined somewhat for favoring playing by instinct rather than by the coached gameplan/format. Probably why T2 hung in so long, he worked the plan even though his skills were less than optimum (though I still contend he also paid a penalty in part, at least in fan eyes, for not being Earl). Likewise, the next guy in line is Taylor…………..he’s not Coleman. In hindsight the loss of Coleman is probably the most harmful change this season. It’s what has caused the coaches to tend more toward the base defense that has some obvious weaknesses in the mid level passing game, and didn’t do much for run defense either. Taylor, faults and all, may not be ideal, but he’s the best option the coaches believe in right now. Whether or not they’re correct will be debated for however long it takes to find/accept a better solution. Figuring how to cover for Ansah is close behind, assuming he doesn’t figure out how to improve on his own.

    Somehow they need to figure out how to control more of the potential turn overs. They could have had an even more dominant game had they been more effective with the opportunities available (not even counting the missed offensive opportunities as well). They improve that element of their game too and they will actually become the team others won’t want to face the rest of the way.

    1. UB – You might have missed it during all the commercials leading up to the opening kick off, but Bobby Wagner was the vocal team leader just moments prior to the game.

      Wags had his unit in a circle around him, all jumping up and down, while he was calling for them to play both hard and smart football.

      The television network choose to have him mic’d up for the event, and if you go back, it’s clearly there. Just thought you might like to know is all.

      1. Glad you brought that up Doug H. There was also a clip of Russ doing the same thing. There’s no question that Bobby and Russ are the senior members of each squad (even though KJ has a year on Bobby, Bobby is the guy with the headset in his helmet) and as such they are the ranking members of their units. It is their earned “right” to conduct that pre-game ritual. But there are different types/styles/hierarchies of leadership. Many of us in life have been parts of groups where there are assigned leaders, e.g. CEO, department manager, chairman, Pastor, Principal, etc. These are leaders, and are often given due respect and attention for their earned (or sometimes not) position. But then there is a member of the group who will get up at a meeting/gathering and as soon as they speak the entire room turns to pay attention, unlike what might happen when others address the group. The one who everyone in the room respects enough to deserve that complete support not based on title, or seniority, or “political” assignment, but rather based on a record of positive performance/view point/ outcome management. What some call “natural” leadership. Kam had it. If Pete had an “issue” in the locker room that needed fixing, he would have Kam deliver the message. If someone needed “motivation” Kam delivered. Any effective manager who has such a team member would be foolish to not utilize it, and is fortunate to have one if they know how to capitalize on it. In the football context team captains are somewhat the group chosen leaders, but just as there are different types of leadership, there are also different power levels of captainship/leadership within the group dynamic.

    2. @UB – Just following up on your last post. Very well stated by the way, and while you haven’t swayed my opinion on Bobby Wagner just yet, I’ll go ahead and yield some of the middle ground.

      While I can’t point to the exact game, there was an incident some years ago when Richard Sherman didn’t believe that he was the beneficiary of the ‘over the top’ assistance he should have been getting from Earl Thomas. My recollection is that Sherman immediately went to Kam Chancellor to state his case, which means that Sherman avoided going to the field captain (Bobby Wagner), and also avoided going to his coaches too, meaning that Kam was regarded as having the final say in the matter.

      We’ll likely never know what was said entirely, but I can agree that Kam was a special kinda player in his day, and an obviously good leader too! My point of view is this, I believe that Bobby Wagner may have picked up some of the traits from Kam Chancellor, just like Kam picked up some of his best traits from Lawyer Milloy, who I credit as the original founding father and member of the Legion of Boom.

      I may be wrong, and you may be right. I’d say it’s a case of we’re both more right than wrong, because when you look at the cast of characters since 2010, there’s been a clear trickle down of greatness from one generation of players to the next. The hope is that it continues, and I really do believe that it will under this front office.

      Anyways, thanks for expressing your point of view as graciously as you did, it really did make me reconsider.

  2. The Diggs/Blair question is a hard one. Diggs is obviously an upgrade at FS. McD is better at SS. But Blair belongs at SS and is probably the better long term solution provided he can start getting experience under his belt, which won’t happen with McD there in a playoff race.

    I think Brian was the one who pondered putting Diggs at Nickel, having McD at FS and Blair at SS which would put the best talent on the field, even if not in their optimum roles.

    Getting Taylor off the field would be worth it IMO. However, that’s not what Pete chose to do so it’s probably never going to happen.

    1. @Scott Crowder – I’d like to talk about local Seahawks football. Are you over your socialist democrat hate for America campaign just yet, or is that still the single topic still dominating your mind?

      Yup, I deleted this site from my favorites yesterday, just like I did three or four years ago. Used to be that I posted a rather detailed follow up on Brian’s posts regarding the Hawks offensive line. Many people liked what I had to add, but I couldn’t continue in good faith when people like Kaepernick were involved, along with Quentin “I hate white people all the time” Jefferson.

      You see, I don’t mix words unfairly, I just call it like it is.
      How about you?

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