Seahawks @ Bengals - Breakdown
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
The Cincinnati Bengals overcame a 24-7 deficit in the 4th quarter to win the game in OT, 27-24.
While the Bengals showed tremendous heart and determination, the Seahawks were not short of opportunities to close out the game.
Questions on who should shoulder the blame on the loss filled much of the media outlets following the loss. Was it the defense's inability to shut the Bengals offense down when it mattered the most? Was it Kam Chancellor's confusion on defensive assignments or Cary Williams' struggles in coverage? Or was it the offense's inability to sustain drives late in the game? Was it Bevell's playcalling in OT to abandon the run when it worked so good throughout the game?
Look, football is a team game. Cliche? Maybe. But when you break it down, there was definitely enough blame to go around.
Cary Williams pass interference, Michael Bennett's personal foul and miscommunication amongst the LOB was visibly apparent throughout the game, especially with Kam Chancellor.
Let's take a look at the first TD by Eifert. Seahawks come out with their usual 4-3 package with Cover 1. Man across the board with Earl playing deep middle. KJ has Hill and Kam has Eifert, well, he should have Eifert.
There is a saying when it comes to defensive backs, "your eyes and your feet will get you beat."
Kam has eyes - somewhere..? Definitely not on his assignment of Eifert. Result TD Bengals.
Let's take a look at the next Eifert TD. Initially, I had thought this was a blown coverage by Kam. But it was actually a great play by the Bengals, exploting the whole in the Hawks' Zone Coverage.
Bengals lined up AJ Green in the slot with the Hawks defending with their Nickel Cover 3 Buzz.
At the snap, Earl cheats his alignment toward AJ Green's side. This exposes the hole in the zone which the Bengals attack perfectly.
Cary Williams has right deep third responsibility and can't bail his outer third too early. The route set up by the Benglas was enough to hold Cary's position toward the outside and opened up the huge gap in the middle.
By the time the pass was thrown, Cary and Earl could not make up the difference in the zone and Eifert scores his second TD of the game. It was just a great call by Hue Jackson and execution by Dalton and Eifert recognizing the hole in coverage.
Another break in coverage came on a 2nd and 14 which the Bengals broke for a 25 yard pass to Sanu. On this play, the Seahawks dialed up a Nickel Blitz which left Kam in 1-on-1 coverage against Sanu.
If there is a weak spot in Kam's game, it's with his man coverage. Sanu sells the out and gets Kam to bite, opening the middle for the catch and run.
This drive led to the Dalton's QB draw up the middle to cut the Hawks lead to 3.
Cary Williams was not at his best. A week from shutting down Megatron, Williams got beat early and appeared to have affected his confidence. His lack in confidence showed as he committed a defensive pass interference penalty that put the Bengals in Seahawk territory late in the game.
Then there was Bennett showing his UFC Ground and Pound on Dalton. I know that it's an old school mentality to blast the QB when you have the chance. But the NFL is not the same as it was 20-30 years ago with QBs protected under any type of deliberate contact. He should know better than to purposely blast Dalton in that fashion.
While the Hawks still got 3 points on the drive, there is no doubt that his penalty costed valuable field position and the possiblity of another TD.
We all can agree, our line's pass protection is terrible. So bad that Russell is attempting to drop weight to become more elusive. I'm telling you, if the line keeps protecting the way have been, Russell will have no problem shedding those extra pounds with the extra cardio output during games. But Russell was not perfect either and made questionable passing decisions throughout the game.
The throw to Jimmy was a bad decision. Not bad, horrendous. Ill-advised. Stupid. You get the point. Russell was not under pressure with good protection and still forced the ball to Jimmy in double coverage. Lockett and Kearse are wide open. Keep in mind, this was first down deep in Bengal territory. Situational football, Wilson can't be making these throws.
Then there was the bomb to Lockett. Just my personal opinion, Tyler is under Graham as the most under-utilized weapon in this offense. He has shown that he has the speed, quickness and agility to get behind defenders on deep routes. In this play, he showcases these abilities as he is able to get around Kirkpatrick with ease. The play was called back after a review showed he did not have two feet in bounds. Some may argue that it was Lockett's fault for not getting his feet down, however, I have to put this on Wilson. If Russell places this ball just a little more inbounds, that is 6 points.
When you're a franchise QB and paid like one, you need to make these throws.
Then, there was the OT attempted pass to Lockett.
It was 2nd and 15 after an offensive holding on Okung was called on the previous play. Offense comes out in an empty set with trips right. Let's take a look at the pre-snap offensive line read. Fairly straight-forward man on man. Nowak assists Sweezy as the D-lineman alignment presents first threat in the A gap.
Ball is snapped and Britt is losing his battle toward the inside. This forces Russ to bring the ball down. Take a look at Lockett and Sweezy. Lockett is open early and Sweezy is blocking... no one. For the love Sweezy... block someone!
If the battle in the trenches is won, who knows what would have happened on this play. Either way, it was a bad decision by Russ to force a homerun when it was not there.
Ah yes, a topic that has hung over this team since the SuperBowl. Honestly, I liked what the Hawks did in this game.... For the first 3 quarters. I broke down the playcalling and found that this past game the playcalling was fairly balanced.
Here is the breakdown: 60 plays - 29 run/31 pass
22 of those plays were ran out of the I.
Fairly balanced. So what's the problem? Third downs.
The Hawks had 13 3rd Down possesions. Out of the 13, 4 were converted. Out of the 13, 12 were pass plays. Yes, 12. I'm not sure if that was planned but yes, 12 of 13 3rd play calls were passes. That's 92%! I may not be a smart man, but that's not exactly "mixing it up," in terms of your 3rd Down playcalling. Oh and the other 1 possession that was not a pass was converted for a first down.
In overtime, the Hawks had 11 plays. All but 1 play was ran out of empty or shotgun.
First downs were fairly balanced with a 7:6 ratio for run to passes called on first down.
This loss was a hard one to swallow,however, they are 2-3 with losses to both the Rams and Bengals in OT by just 3 points. Their record could easily be 4-1 minus some mistakes. Is it time to panic? No. It's a long season. It's way too early to crown anyone. If there is anything this team has taught us throughout the years is that it's not how you start, it's how you finish. They have the talent to excel and smash teams. It's just a matter of finishing. Like a golfer's set up to a ball - if he's off by just a few centimeters, the results are usually disastrous. Right now, this team is just a little off. They're aiming for the green but landing in the bunker.They need to make little adjustments to start landing on the green again.
First adjustments should be upfront with the offensive line. There was word that Patrick Lewis could go this week, however, he saw no playing time. Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So according to Albert Einstein the Hawks coaching staff is insane. Whether we sign a free agent, put in reserves, conduct a trade for a lineman, something on the front needs to change. If not, then the coaches need to call plays that maximizes their player's potential instead of attempting to get the player to fit your mold. This holds true for everyone on offense. If the offensive stuggles in pass protection, then don't call plays with routes that takes time to develop. Throw in some sprint option passing plays. Russell is a beast throwing on the run anyway. Give him the option to throw or run it.
Then there's Jimmy. Yes, I'm one of those individuals that feels Jimmy should get the ball. However, get him the ball but don't force it. We should have learned from the Percy effect to not force the ball to anyone. Yet, I do believe that Bevell needs to figure out plays/routes that maximizes Jimmy's All-Pro talent. Send him motion, let him run up the seam or wheel routes against safeties. He will win those matchups. We can't continue utilizing Jimmy as a decoy. He's made a name for himself in this league as a receiving TE. So, let the man work!