This Week In Defense 2019 Week 15 Seattle @ Carolina
Narrative Of The Game:
Feelings after a loss are always a bit sporadic. When it’s the rams? The last string of wins would be hard to convince someone of. The fandom did rally and was focused on just winning. Myself? I didn’t rally so well. Road game against a team that has always played the Seahawks tough? I was not expecting good things. This is probably the only game where I felt pessimism against the outlook of the community. So, was I right to fear? Let’s find out.
[First Quarter 5:22 1st and 10. Toss right for McCafferey for -1 yard. Tackled by Poona Ford.]
The Panthers pretty much abandon this play after Poona Ford blows into the backfield and takes down McCafferey 1-on-1. Any motion on the inside like Carolina runs here, Poona is gonna eat. He’s up the field before the center can react. This play will make it harder for Carolina to attack the edges with it’s power running scheme.
[First Quarter 4:02 1st and 10. Run left to Mcafferey for 13-yards. Tackled by Quandre Diggs.]
After a screen pass gained 11-yards the previous play Seattle gets swept up trying to align with Carolina using a motioning reciever. Jefferson jumps inside just before the snap. The whole defense is geared to go right. When the ball is snapped Jefferson gets pancaked and this leaves a huge lane for McCaffery. So while the power run didn’t work on the previous play I highlighted, the panthers got everything they wanted on this one.
[Second Quarter 13:48 3rd and Goal. McCaffery run up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown.]
You can see everything going wrong in this drive right on this play. Fancy little motion. Late adjustment by the d-line to try and help out their edges. No one accounts for the middle. Easy play for the Panthers. Also I can’t be totally sure, but Cody Barton has been a downgrade from Kendricks at least on this drive. A couple of late reactions and confusion really hurt on a couple of plays. He’s a better tackler though, so there’s that.
[Second Quarter 9:31 3rd and 10. Kyle Allen sacked by Rasheem Green for -8 yards.]
A typical pass rush alignment for Seattle here, but Quinton Jefferson is inside next to Rasheem Green. They run a little game with Shaquem Griffin and unfortunately Griffin slips and falls on the twist. However, Jefferson surges up field so quick that Green gets a clean one-on-one vs the LT for Carolina. He gets home just as Kyle Allen settles into his drop.
[Second Quarter :30 3rd and 10. Kyle Allen Pass intercepted by Bobby Wagner intended for Chris Hogan. Returned for 6-yards.]
The snap on this play is bobbled slightly by Allen and this causes a delay in his throw on top of gluing his eyes to his man. Bobby Wagner snags his 10th career INT on this play and I don’t think any of them have been easy ones. This one he cuts in front of Hogan and snags it as if it was intended for him all along. I think Bobby would tell you it was.
[Third Quarter 14:30 2nd and 8. Screen pass to McCafferey for 15-yards. Tackled by Tre Flowers.]
Bobby almost picks this play up as it happens. He comes down to make the stop but I suspect he’s anticipating a move and as he slows to collect himself and stop McCafferey the one man offense just cuts away from him and accelerates effortlessly across the field. He’s up to full speed in 4-5 steps. If not for Tre Flowers this would have been a lot worse.
[Third Quarter 4:38 2nd and 8. Kyle Allen pass tipped by Poona Ford and Intercepted by KJ Wright.]
While Seattle’s defensive line hasn’t been great with sacks this season, one area they are very good in is tipped passes. Poona gets his hand up for this deflection and KJ who has his eyes on the play explodes to the football for his 4th career interception.
[Third Quarter 3:07 2nd and 5. Kyle Allen pass intercepted by KJ Wright.]
The other two INTs for Allen were a bobbled snap and a tipped pass. This one is just a bad play off early pressure from Jarran Reed. KJ’s 5th career interception is very similar to his fourth in how quickly he reacts to the football. Also sacks aren’t the be-all-end all as we see on these two plays. Pressure and tipped passes matter even more.
[Fourth Quarter 6:14 2nd and 10. Kyle Allen pass to Chris Hogan for 13-yards. Tackled by Hill.]
Seattle has shown blitz twice on this drive. This time they bring Amadi from the nickle spot. The Panthers easily pick it up for a completion into Seattle territory. On the second watch of this game I noticed that up until this drive Kyle Allen had only attempted one deep shot or even moderate shot downfield. This caused Seattle defemders to get a bit antsy to attack the ball early and so the longer plays developing on these drives is exposing the lack of discipline as well as now inexperince once Bobby Wagner went off.
[Fourth Quarter 4:20 1st and 10. Kyle Allen pass to DJ Moore for 22-yards Bradley McDougald in coverage.]
McDougald just plays both of these plays terribly. I think because he’s concerned about McCaffery. But once he releases short and Flowers picks him up, McDougald is too slow on both plays getting to the sideline. This isn’t play call or scheme or some other ranty bullcrap about Ken Norton’s play calling. McDougald just screws up on both plays. This is not how McDougald has played in cover-2 most of the year, which makes these plays all the more ridiculous
Other than the too late TD drives Seattle was able to control the bulk of this game. They kept things in front of them and keyed on Christian McCafferey. As far as the called game, Seattle tried early to protect its edges by settling the line a bit later. I’ve seen Pete do this before in 2010 and 2011 when Seattle had major issues on the edges. That’ allowed the sole TD drive of the day. Considering the early play blown up by Poona Ford, Carolina had the same thought.
The last two TD drives were a disaster for different reasons. The first one Seattle showed blitz and brought some pressure after not doing that most of the day. Injuries piled up, but this is a Pete Carroll move sometimes of wanting to grab that last big play to seal the game. They did the same thing in Atlanta.
The second TD was just bad play by the defense by both Tre Flowers and Bradley McDougald. Though on a scale it’s probably 70% McDougald and 30% Flowers. Zones are hard, but McDougald has two picks on similar plays this year. One in Pittsburgh and One in Cleveland (I think) Anyone saying Ken Norton or Pete wanted or designed the scheme, particularly on the last TD is overreacting. That’s just my two-cents. On second watch I can’t call this defense anything but spectacular when considering all of its injuries.
KJ Wright. It feels good to put my favorite linebacker here. I love Bobby, but KJ freed us from Aaron Curry. I will always love him a little more for that. Beyond his two INTs he had quality stops several times that helped create long 3rd downs. It was his most complete game in a few years.
Cover-2 zone drops. Get that fixed asap if you’re gonna roll with it.