Seahawks @ Patriots - Recap and Observations
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
WHAT - A- GAME.
A back and forth see-saw battle in an instant SNF classic which some have called a preview of the Super Bowl. I think that's getting ahead of ourselves, but the direction of where the Seahawks are going is very promising
This has been the knock on Ifedi since his college days at Texas A&M. In Ifedi's draft profile, Pro Football Focus graded Ifedi negatively in his pass protection stating Ifedi "had no chance against any sort of quickness." This game did Ifedi no favors in proving that statement wrong.
Here against Hightower, Ifedi gets out of position by not keeping his nose on Hightower's inside number. Once Ifedi is out of position, he then has difficulty recovering the block. The missed block was of no consequence as the play resulted in a pass interference call. However, this just shows Ifedi's immaturity in his pass protection technique. The heel of his post leg (inside leg) should not be leaving the ground and given the Hightower's placement (3-gap), Ifedi should be playing this block inside-out. That little hitch step outside provides just enough room for Hightower in the A gap for the QB hurry.
His inexperience is also evident in recognizing stunts. In this play, Hightower crosses his face while Ninkovich comes on a delayed stunt. By not staying home, he gives up the lane and Ninkovich forces the QB hurry. In all fairness, the left side of the line (Glowinski/Fant) missed the stunt assignment as well.
Then, Kearse can't haul in the pass. According to Pro Football Focus, "Kearse was targeted 7 times, but only caught 2 passes for 26 yards, a drop and a 42.6 QB Rating." Currently on the season, Kearse has a PFF Receiver grade of 48.3, good enough for the 4th worst in the league.
Back to Ifedi. While Ifedi struggled early in the game, he also showed that he could adjust and learn from his early mistakes. On Baldwin's 3rd TD catch, the Patriots ran the same stunt, only this time, Ifedi played the stunt perfectly and gave Russell time to throw the TD pass to Baldwin.
Sometimes we forget that Ifedi is only 5 games deep in his NFL career (outside of pre-season). He showed he can adjust and learn from his mistakes. He'll get better, he will improve and he will be a force on this line. Missed opportunities hurt but with no major damage, thankfully
The Seahawks could have easily blew the Patriots away offensively. On two redzone possessions that resulted in 2 successful FGs, could have actually been two successful TDs. On this play, Russell chooses to lob a pass to Jermaine Kearse. However, if he had just looked right, he would have seen Tyler Lockett wide open in the endzone. Watch Lockett's reaction at the end of the play, even he knew it would have been a score.
On another drive in the redzone, the blocking breaks down and Russell is forced outside of the pocket where there are three options avaiable: 1. Throw the ball to Kearse who has the near pylon open as Butler slips on this coverage 2. Throw the ball to Prosise who has Hightower beat 3. Run the ball
However, as Russell gets outside of the pocket, he only focuses toward the left of the field and ignoring the options in front of him. The play results in an intentional grounding penalty and again the Seahawks are forced to settle for 3.
Kam Chancellor made sure his presence was felt in his first game from injury, finishing the night with 8 tackles, 1 PD, and 1 FF and not to mention the game clinching play against Gronk - an effort that earned NFC Defensive POTW honors.
While he was undoubtedly good most of the night, his early pass interference against Gronk earlier in the night gave the Patriots the ball on the 1 for the Patriots first score of the night.
The 'roughing the passer' penalty in the 3rd quarter (Patriots drive was 3rd and 2) was also huge as the Patriots were able to continue their drive which resulted in Legarrette Blount's 3rd TD run.
Speaking of Blount's 3rd TD run, Deshawn Shead committed the ultimate sin in Pete Carroll's defense - never give up outside leverage against outside runs. This is exactly what happened on Blount's scamper to the outside. Before I get to Shead, let's take a look at the run just prior to Blount's TD Run. On this run, Coyle sets a soft edge while KJ misses the tackle.
On the very next play, the Patriots executes the exact same play except out of a different personnel group. Here we see Deshawn Shead give up his outside shoulder and gets blocked in, giving Blount a clear lane to the endzone.
Shead should have attacked Develin's outside number with his inside shoulder and bounce the play back in. In this case he doesn't and the Patriots score 6.
Also, on the play where Earl obliterates Gronk, the All 22 shows Martellus Bennett up the opposite seam wide open. The hit on Gronkowski was actually a gamble by Earl Thomas because if Tom did not throw that pass and looked off Thomas and came back to Martellus instead, it would have been a huge play for the Patriots. Thankfully, it worked to Earl Thomas's favor.
While the Seahawks came away with the victory, it was definitely far from perfect. HOWEVER, all these bad points are fixable. So watch out NFL, our boys are putting things together and are just scratching the surface to their full potential. Just imagine when it all comes together - it puts a smile to my face just thinking about it.
Defensive Line is a force Statistically, this was Cliff Avril's worse game of the season. According to Pro Football Focus, "Avril only pressured Patriots quarterback Tom Brady one time on 31 pass rushes, which is the reason why Avril received a 35.3 overall grade, his lowest of the season." While Cliff may have struggled, the rest of the defensive line flourished.
I've always said that our defensive success comes from our ability to rotate our defensive lineman. It was that way in 2013 with Bryant, Avril, Bennett, Mebane, Hill, McDonald and McDaniel. Now we are seeing that with Avril, Bennett, Clark, Marsh, Rubin, Reed, McDaniel, Moore. Frank Clark was a monster in this game, making plays behind the backfield including his one hand sack on Tom Brady. PFF graded Clark an 81.9 overall grade for his performance against the Patriots and is the 17th ranked defensive end in the NFL with a 82.3 overall grade for the entire season. Here we see the dominance of McDaniel and Clark. While Clark's speed was impressive on this play, it was McDaniel's stopping power that caught my eye. Not only does he fend off the double team, but he also blows the center back into the backfield, destroying the running lane.
Jarran Reed was also impressive. Reed's punch has always been touted as one of his strengths. Here we see Reed simply destroy his man and gets the sack with Damontre Moore cleaning it up. *Damontre Moore with the mannequin pose celebration*
Talk about being an X Factor. When the Hawks drafted Prosise this past draft, I was excited at the potential potential mismatches against defenses Prosise would present. He's a WR with RB body. Honestly, I forget that Prosise isn't exactly a small guy - he's 6'1" 220lbs. The Former Notre Dame running had the best day of his career Sunday night with a 80.0 overall grade. Despite only running for 66 yards, the rookie forced 5 missed tackles and ran for 42 yards after contact. Prosise also excelled as a receiver as he caught all three targets for 63 yards when running receiver routes (Pro Football Focus). In this play (possibly my favorite from just a route concept standpoint), we see Kearse and Baldwin attack the deep safety which out the underneath for Prosise. Prosise runs an excellent pivot route and then finishes the run along the sideline. Let's not forget Prosise went to ND as a safety, so dude can bring the boom too.
This is the type of matchup nightmare that CJ Prosise presents for opposing defenses. Now with Rawls coming back in the lineup, this will present even more of a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. Simply having a multipurpose back like Prosise forces the defense to play more honestly. If defenses want to double up on Jimmy, that leaves Doug, Tyler, Jermaine, CJ and Thomas on one-on-one matchups. Of if defenses want to double up on Doug, then that opens up Jimmy and the rest of the guys to an opportunity to make a play.
Doug, Russell and Richard No explanation necessary. They were just damn good.
A healthy Russell Wilson just shows what he can do when healthy. The pro bowler did most of his damage when the Patriots brought a blitz and Wilson completed 10 of 14 passes for 143 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 143.7 QB Rating against the blitz. (Pro Football Focus) So blitz if you want to defenses, Russell is just fine against it. Was Richard Sherman playing? When I don't hear Sherman's name being called, I always that as a good thing. Richard Sherman lined up as the left cornerback 26 times last night and was only targeted once. Tom Brady rarely looked Sherman's way as the Stanford product shutdown the left side of the field on his way to an 80.6 overall grade (Pro Football Focus).
As stated in my previous post on the Saints recap, the Seahawks are a second half team - in-game and in-season. The just know how to put things together later in the season. This was undoubtedly a great win for the team as it shows that we can be a superior team even when we're not perfect. I am excited to see this team evolve into greatness and the rest of the Hawk Nation should be too. Be afraid NFL. Our boys are hungry and we're looking to eat. GO HAWKS