Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) celebrates sacking Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
This Week In Defense 2019 Wk 9 Tampa Bay @ Seattle
Narrative Of The Game:
The truth of this week? If I were to just say “I hate Bruce Arians.” I think people would get it. He’s the only one that seemed to be Pete’s kryptonite. With Seattle’s defense on the skids without a statement game it’s been grit your teeth and survive. I think that’s what most of us felt like we would get. Did the Seahawks disappoint. Let’s look at the plays.
Writer’s Note: While I will break down only plays in the second half of this game, I’ll be talking about the first half in the game wrap.
[3rd Quarter 11:34 3rd and 12. Jameis Winston pass to Godwin for 8-yards. Tackled by Jarran Reed.]
A Three down linemen look for Seattle with Clowney searching for a gap. Even the coaching staff is conceding Clowney is their only rusher here. W?inston throws this middle screen type concept but Reed comes off his block to make the stop. Seattle needed this after punting to open the half. I think focusing on getting Clowney a rush lane is a good move. Pete did this with Chris Clemons the first 3 seasons he was here.
[3rd Quarter 5:04 2nd and 7. Jameis Winston Pass to #19 for 18-yards.]
Shaquill Griffin got burned two plays before this one with a Wheel route from Evans. #19 just runs against man coverage and Shaq is a little bit timid about attacking this one. Probably thinking his man is taking it to the sideline with a little stutter move. Shaq is caught flat footed and an easy completion is made by Winston. An incomplete pass and a couple penalties stop the drive for Tampa Bay however. This drive caught my eye because I realized here just how innaccurate Jameis Winston is. On both the Wheel throw to Evans and this one, his WR are having to twist turn and pull down high balls frequently. Seattle grits it’s teeth and Tampa gets in it’s own way here.
[4th Quarter 13:00 2nd and 7. Jameis Winston sacked by Bobby Wagner for -8-yards.]
Bobby Wagner picks up a sack but this is both an easy play for Bobby and a great design by Seattle. They actually overload the left side with Kendricks near the edge. He’s picking up the back in coverage so he’s blitzing because the back stayed in. What makes this play happen is Poona Ford exploding into the LOS forcing the LG to turn out to meet him. It’s an easy lane for Seattle’s only sack of the day. The Seahawks force a punt on 3rd and 15 despite no pressure the next play.
[4th Quarter 11:36 1st and 10. Jameis Winston pass incomplete intended for Mike Evans. Blair and McDougald covering.]
Seattle goes cover-2 here and it probably saves them. Bruce Arians calls his first deep shot in a while. No pressure. Seattle’s front is obliterated and Winston has all day. This should be a cover-2 beater up the seam but both McDougald and Blair see this. Blair tracks the ball beautifully. If Winston had thrown this a bit earlier he might have had six. Great reaction by Blair though. Really great work recognizing and tracking the ball in the air.
[4th Quarter 10:49 3rd and 5. Jameis Winston fumbles. Recovered by Rasheem Green.]
Seattle brings a 6-man pressure. Clowney playing 5-yards off like a MLB. They pressure both edges with Wagner and McDougald to either side. Clowney shoots up the middle and falls down before he can tackle Winston. The pressure seemed to casuse Winston to flinch just a tiny bit. He grips the ball a bit and it just falls out of his hand. This play I think shows Seattle’s commitment to focusing their pressure through Clowney going forward. It didn’t really work but this is the first week they seemed to gear up their looks around him.
[4th Quarter 5:36 3rd and 6 Jameis Winston pass incomplete to Mike Evans. Shaquill Griffin covering.]
Seattle brings another six man pressure with Clowney off the LOS by a couple yards. Wagner and Kendricks blitz the edges and Winston throws behind Evans who had gotten leverage on Griffin. The big adjustment in this game was scheming pressure. Unlike Todd Bowles for Tampa, Seattle mixed its pressures up enough to confuse Winston and make him feel the heat. Still, not getting home, but Winston isn’t going to scramble too much. These calls while risky are the reason Seattle has basically killed 3 Tampa drives and forced a fumble.
[4th Quarter 2:00 4th and 5. Jameis Winston scrambles for 6-yards. Slides down chhased by KJ Wright.]
Seattle makes a mess on this play. Brings pressure again but it gets washed down and Clowney’s edge rush up the field cleans a lane for Winston. 2012 or ’13 KJ makes this play. However, he can’t and Winston just gets the first by a yard. Marquese Blair was looking to heat up Winston and was playing deep. This kid is really something to watch.
The First half saw a lot of zone looks from Seattle mixed with man. The third TD drive was particularly awful. Seattle’s line-backing corps is not good enough or fast enough to drop into some of these windows. As you can see in the second play I spotlight, Arians had a field day running gimmicks and wrinkles that make easy throwing lanes for Jameis Winston.
After the FG drive put Tampa up 24-21, Seattle starting bringing blitzes as well as isolating plays specifically for Clowney to work off of them. It’s probably how the Seahawks will have to roll for the rest of this season. No real pressure to speak of here without it. This is at home where you should have an advantage.
The defense turned up pressure plays “Arians spread’em out, gimmick attack” halted to hold in extra protection. Jameis had to throw the ball more accurately with tighter man coverage behind it. They also mixed up the pressures so Jameis wasn’t sure what he was seeing. A veteran QB without turnover problems punishes these pressures, However, Ken Norton did a great job in the second half which leads me to the game ball.
Ken Norton Jr. I’ve never handed a ball to a coach before. However, Seattle holding Tampa Bay to 6-points, then getting their last TD drive to 4th down at one point, he deserves this award.
Seattle needs to address its linebacker/zone woes. While the 49ers aren’t sitting there with a Mike Evans, Seattle is going to find itself on the losing end if it can’t figure out how to clean this up and get normal pass rush.