Falcons @ Seahawks - Recap and Observations
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Sunday was a weird game.
A game filled with miscues, missed opportunities, miscommunication, and even some luck.
I'm not going to talk about Earl Thomas and Cliff Avril's dominance, the controversial PI call or the sideline blow-up as those have been discussed on other pages and blogs. We already know that Sherman's blow-up was due to miscommunication. When asked if there was any carry-over into the game from Sherman's reaction, Coach Carroll said “I think there was some impact. Guys were upset.” The carry-over was definitely evident later in the game. In the clip below, the early miscommunication between McCray and Sherman definitely snowballed, with McCray being unsure on who to cover on certain coverage schemes. The pass was ruled a catch but from the angles shown, it looks like it was a missed call. The drive later resulted in the Falcons 3rd TD of the game.
In the following play, I'm not sure if it was a miscommunication, misalignment or what, but something was definitely not right. Here the falcons come out in a double tight set with no WRs. Ryan sees the mismatch right away (to the right of the center, Seahawks are outnumbered 5 to 4). Obviously, the Seahawks don't have enough men to defend the run and Freeman busts the play for a big gain. This is the same drive that resulted in the Falcons 3rd TD.
The miscommunication and miscues also occurred on the offensive side of the ball. My initial observation of the film was that Ifedi struggled mightily in this game. The broadcast even highlighted some of his miscues. But as I watched the film again, it seems there was either a missed assignment and/or miscommunication between Ifedi and Britt on several occasions. As highlighted in the clip, there are plays where Ifedi is thinking he'll pass off certain blocks, or he's expecting help but does not get it. Whether it's assignment or communication, or if it is purely Ifedi not completely understanding his assignments against complex defenses, whatever it is, should be worked out quickly before the Sunday Night Matchup against the Cardinals.
It wasn't all bad for the offensive line. For the most part, they did their job. They gave up a single sack and managed no penalties.
On the TD run by C-Mike, it shows how lethal this line can be if all their ducks are in a row.
At times when the offensive line did their job, Russell Wilson had his share of missed opportunities.
In the following clip, a pocket opens up inside and Russell is presented an option to run. While Russell chooses to run, he fails to stop and see a wide open Doug Baldwin up the left seam. The drive later resulted in a 1-yd TD run by Christine Michael but also resulted in the loss of Luke Willson - who has been playing FB and TE duties. Again, we gained a TD but at the loss of Willson. If Russell just stopped and popped, we may still have Luke healthy.
Speaking of Luke Willson, let's talk about the fullback position. We have not had an actual fullback since our week 2 loss to the Rams where we cut Will Tukuafu a short time after. Luke Willson has since filled in that role. I understand our offense has evolved to a more single set backfield and that the FB position does not seem like a pressing need. However, I have to disagree with that. In the following clip, we see what happens when both the Fullback and Tailback are not seeing the same thing. Here we see Luke Willson attacking one gap, while Christine Michael attacks another, resulting in just a short gain. However, if both men read the same thing, Luke could have cut his path inside of Sowell instead of outside - the path Michael read - and the play could have resulted in better yardage as Keanu Neal would have been blocked by Willson.
In the days of Beastmode and Mike Rob, Mike Rob served as Beastmode's eyes. Both needed to see the same thing, read the same hole, in order to be successful. Here is a throwback clip of them saying so themselves:
(Just a side note, I miss Mike Rob and Beastmode. Always clowning on each other - Marshawn cock-eyed! - LOL!)
Now this begs the question? What do we do at the Fullback position now that Willson is injured? Do we promote Julian Howsare from practice squad? (Howsare was a DE/OLB in college) Do we re-sign Will Tukuafu or another free agent Fullback? Do we possibly place Alex Collins at this spot? Or do we not do anything at all? It's a hard question to answer but I think we do need an experienced fullback or at least one that has eyes like a running back. With that regard, trying Collins at Fullback in certain packages makes sense. Will this fix our average rushing yardage per game problem? Maybe not, in fact, highly unlikely. But having, both backs in the backfield on the same page, will definitely help our running game when the personnel package requires two running backs.
We got lucky. Remember I mentioned a little luck earlier in the blog? No, I'm not talking about that play but this play. On the surface, this was a great play by Marsh. He keeps his pursuit from the right edge all the way to the left making the sack. However, watch Sherman and Lane. If Marsh does not get there, Julio is WIDE open. This would have been the go-ahead score.
The following clip is more just me nitpicking. I would like to see some of the route concepts change especially with Jimmy Graham. In the following clip, the play resulted in a first down but on review, the play could have been a TD. Maybe there is a play where the route calls for a corner rather than a drag, I don't know. But I just noticed that if Jimmy breaks this route to the corner, it's six.
While the game had its misses, a win is a win. I'll take it. I'm hopeful it was just some "bye week rust" and that the miscues seen will be fixed by this Sunday night. We'll have Kam back. Hopefully, Clark and Bennett as well. I don't believe we'll see the miscommunication issues as we did against the Falcons. Defensively, we did our job. We held Freeman and Coleman to under 100 combined yards from scrimmage with no TDs. Take away the two blown plays, Matt Ryan would have thrown for 253 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Not to mention the 4 sacks and numerous QB hits. As far as the offense, I would like to see better confidence and discipline with our line. I can wish for all the different route concepts and sub packages, but without solid line play, no concept and package will matter. Go Hawks!