Russell Wilson 2016-17: A Deep Passing Game Analysis (4)

Page 1: Introduction and 1st Quarter (Weeks 1-4)
Page 2: 2nd Quarter (Weeks 6-9)
Page 3: 3rd Quarter (Weeks 10-13)
Page 4: 4th Quarter (Weeks 14-17)
Page 5: Playoffs and Conclusion

This next game was a horrific one for the Seahawks and easily one of Russell Wilson’s worst games of all time. Brace yourselves.



SHORT: 128 yards, 1 interception, 16/24 – 67%
INTERMEDIATE: 60 yards, 1 interception, 4/5 – 80%
DEEP: 52 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2/10 – 20%

22/39 for 240 passing yards, 56.4% completion, 6.2YPA, 1 touchdown, 5 interceptions, 43.7 passer rating, 3 sacks for 22 yards

2-2-GB 33, 1st quarter
(9:36) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep left to 89-D.Baldwin.

Russell Wilson gets plenty of time to unload the deep ball here, but his propensity to overthrow his receivers on these deep attempts resurfaces again here. The Seahawks are in an I-formation with Thomas Rawls (#34) in at tailback and Luke Willson (#82) at fullback. The Packers are playing cover 1 with press coverage on the outside. Doug Baldwin (#89) runs an exquisite stop and go route, separating from his defender down the field. Beating the Packers in Lambeau means having to make these types of throws all game.

 1-10-SEA 42, 1st quarter
(2:05) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep left to 88-J.Graham.

The Seahawks are in singleback formation again, signaling a strong threat of a run play with 3 tight ends total on the field. The Packers respond by loading the box 9 defenders. Tyler Lockett’s (#16) motion towards the line of scrimmage reveals man coverage as his corner mirrors his movement. The single high deep safety shows cover 1 man. Wilson runs a great play-action fake and gives himself plenty of time to set his feet and make this throw downfield, but it results in another frustrating overthrow. The play-action works perfectly as Jimmy Graham (#88) slips by his defenders unnoticed and is open down the field. Wilson overthrows Graham, and misses a possible second long touchdown in one quarter.

1-10-SEA 24, 2nd quarter
(:48) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep right to 44-M.Reece pushed ob at GB 45 for 31 yards (33-M.Hyde).

While Russell Wilson seemed to struggle to throwing the ball deep with consistent accuracy when given time, his accuracy on the run maintained as consistent as ever. Down 21-3, the Seahawks are in empty to spread the defenders out and help simplify Wilson’s reads. The Packers are in a two high safety look with both safeties playing very deep, and the defense in zone coverage.

RT Bradley Sowell (#78) attempts to block LB Clay Matthews (#52) but gives up immediate pressure inside. Feeling this, Wilson runs to his right out of the pocket and tightropes an accurate strike to FB Marcel Reece (#44) 30 yards down the field. Reece shows great hands and athleticism for a fullback to secure the catch and tip-toe the sideline.

2-10-GB 20, 3rd quarter
(11:09) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left intended for 15-J.Kearse INTERCEPTED by 24-Q.Rollins (36-L.Gunter) at GB -3.2-

Wilson’s struggles throwing against the Packers as well as throwing deep this game continue here. With a two high safety look and man coverage on the sidelines Wilson is throwing to the correct place on the field here. Jermaine Kearse (#15) is unable to gain positioning, and the ball is tipped and intercepted towards a Green Bay defender who is nearby (of course). With a 4 man rush, Wilson finds himself with plenty of protection on this play. The throw might had more success had it been directed outside, but the inability to gain positioning and ultimately tipping the ball up results in the interception.

3-SEA 40, 3rd quarter
(7:52) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left intended for 89-D.Baldwin INTERCEPTED by 23-D.Randall at GB 42. 23-D.Randall to SEA 32 for 26 yards (34-T.Rawls).Touchback.

Pre-snap, the Packers are playing with a single high safety and press man to challenge the receivers. The safeties rotate before the snap, but both return to their deep responsibilities post-snap. Keeping an extra tight end and their running back to block, Wilson shows greats pocket awareness to take measured steps to his left after deciding his initial read down the right sideline was not an option.

Doug Baldwin (#89) runs a switch route with Jermaine Kearse (#15), attempting to create a pick in man coverage and get Baldwin free. CB Demarious Randall (#23) alertly avoids the possible pick play, but ultimately leaves too much space for Baldwin on the sideline, and proceeds to slip on the play. Despite the accurate throw, normally sure-handed Baldwin tips the pass up to be intercepted (something that only happens when the Seahawks play the Packers).

3-SEA 40, 3rd quarter
(7:52) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left intended for 89-D.Baldwin INTERCEPTED by 23-D.Randall at GB 42. 23-D.Randall to SEA 32 for 26 yards (34-T.Rawls).Touchback.

The Packers have a single safety deep with their second playing in the box. Jermaine Kearse (#15) is the only receiver being pressed on this play, a bit of info not missed by the quarterback. The offensive line picks up the four man rush with relative ease, and provides Wilson a good pocket from which to make his throw.

Wilson scans the field for the one receiver playing against press coverage in hopes of him beating the corner and getting open vertically. Kearse is able to successfully gain positioning on his defender on this play but is unable to come down with the reception as it bounces right off his hands.

At least it wasn’t an interception this time.

1-10-GB 21, 4th quarter
(8:26) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 19-T.McEvoy for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Already up 31-3, the Packers resort to leaving two safeties deep in an effort to prevent Seattle from getting big gains. In a cover 2 zone look such as this, the sidelines become an attackable part of coverage. Wilson finds his receiver streaking in-between said zones and fires the ball for a touchdown to prevent him from going touchdown-less in a sixth game this season. Tanner McEvoy (#19) adjusts the ball and braces himself as a hit arrives from an incoming defender, showing great footwork to complete the process of the catch.


SHORT: 126 yards, 2 touchdowns, 16/21 – 76%
INTERMEDIATE: 17 yards, 1/1 – 100%
DEEP: 86 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 2/4 – 50%

19/26 for 229 passing yards, 73.1% completion, 8.8YPA, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 122.1 passer rating, 2 sacks for 2 yards

3-9-SEA 8, 1st quarter
(2:49) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 16-T.Lockett pushed ob at SEA 37 for 29 yards (35-M.Jordan).

A critical 3rd and long early in the game, the Rams show a 7 man box and decide to blitz 6 before spying Wilson with one linebacker. The offensive line is able to pick up the blitz long enough for Wilson to decide he’s throwing to Tyler Lockett (#16) running a go route down the sideline.

Lockett uses an excellent release here to gain separation off press coverage. His footwork at the line leaves him with the entire sideline open to haul in this dime from Wilson.

1-10-LA 48, 1st quarter
(1:06) Direct snap to 19-T.McEvoy. 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep middle to 89-D.Baldwin (38-C.Davis). After lateral to Wilson.

The Seahawks run a trick play, placing Russell Wilson out as wide receiver pre-snap. Knowing they would have issues protecting their quarterback, the Seahawks attempt to use a lot of misdirection on this play to provide Wilson time for a deep shot.

Tanner McEvoy (#19), who is in at quarterback, takes the shotgun snap and hands off to Tyler Lockett (#16) on a sweep, who then pitches the ball to Russell Wilson. Doug Baldwin (#89) runs a double move down the field and gains positioning on the deep safety near the end of his route. Wilson has to let the ball fly before Baldwin is able to gain separation, causing a much more difficult throw. It arrives too shallow and results in Baldwin falling before attempting to make the reception.

3-11-SEA 43, 4th quarter
(14:56) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep right to 16-T.Lockett for 57 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

The LA Rams are playing their two safeties back deep, and are in zone coverage. A Rams defender threatens a blitz before retreating post-snap. Despite the stunting of the four-man rush, the offensive line is able to communicate and pick up the twist.

The Rams deep safety makes a crucial mistake here and forgets to cover the deep part of the field, letting Tyler Lockett (#16) run right past him. Wilson looks off both safeties and executes an accurate strike down the field for the touchdown. The Seahawks offense missed these deep touchdown throws to Lockett this past season. On the bright side, with these deep throws to Lockett in both Rams games, he is such a such a Rams-killer, no?

3-19-LA 24, 4th quarter
(3:18) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep right intended for 15-J.Kearse INTERCEPTED by 52-A.Ogletree [99-A.Donald] at LA 1.

The game is already out of hand at this point, with the Seahawks leading 24-3 deep in the 4th quarter. Despite that, Wilson throws an extremely uncharacteristic interception that became more frequent over the last part of the season. Wilson has never been one to force passes to covered receivers, but to throw into triple coverage off his back foot is something you almost never see a good quarterback like Wilson do. The pass is predictably intercepted. The LA Rams are playing zone coverage with one deep safety. The safety is in a prime position to break up the pass as he reads Wilson’s eyes with ease.


SHORT: 125 yards, 2 touchdowns, 20/31 – 65%
INTERMEDIATE: 135 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6/6 – 100%
DEEP: 90 yards, 3/8 – 37%

29/45 for 350 passing yards, 64.4% completion, 7.8YPA, 4 touchdowns, 117.8 passer rating, 6 sacks for 37 yards

1-10-ARI 25, 1st quarter
(2:41) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep left to 16-T.Lockett (26-B.Williams).

Needing to match the scoring barrage by the Cardinals, Wilson chose to throw deep early and often against the Cardinals. In this particular play, the Seahawks are in an I-formation with FB Marcel Reece (#44) and Thomas Rawls (#34), and both are left in to protect. The Cardinals are playing with an 8 man box with a single high safety deep and press man on the outside*. The offensive line picks up the five man blitz. Wilson recognizes man coverage on the outside and looks to one of his favorite deep targets. Wilson’s tendency to hop back following his throwing motion was the type of habit he began to display a lot during the second half of the 2016-17 season.

The pass drifts a little too inside and Lockett is almost able to come down with a great catch. This catch could’ve been absolutely spectacular, but the heads up play by the second Cardinal defender to tackle Lockett ultimately caused the incompletion.

*This type of coverage is very common theme on a lot of these plays – this is the one of the best coverages to throw deep against given you can protect and have a wide receiver who can beat press and get open deep on the outside.

1-10-SEA 40, 2nd quarter
(3:18) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 89-D.Baldwin pushed ob at ARI 29 for 31 yards (26-B.Williams).

Down 14-0, Russell Wilson is looking deep here to try and get his team back in scoring range. The Seahawks are in another I-formation with TE Luke Willson (#82) in at fullback and RB Thomas Rawls (#34). The Cardinals have an eight man box with a single high safety, and are playing man coverage. They blitz five but the Seahawks offensive line is able to pick it up cleanly.

Wilson does a good job of not leaning backwards like he has done on so many of his deep incompletions this year. Doug Baldwin (#89) fools Arizona CB Brandon Williams (#26) at the line of scrimmage with his release and uses his quick first step to streak open down the field. Wilson hits him accurately and in stride for a 31 yard gain.

2-10-ARI 34, 3rd quarter
(11:39) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to 89-D.Baldwin (28-J.Bethel).

The Seahawks are in a singleback formation with their receivers in tight splits to offensive line. Because of the tight splits, the Cardinals respond by stacking the box with eight defenders, and end up blitzing five.

Wilson runs play-action to RB Alex Collins (#36) and looks to his first read, Paul Richardson (#10) on a crossing route in the middle of the field. Having to evade pressure from the right side, Wilson pump fakes and leaves the pocket, continuing to look down the field. After running his initial flat route, Doug Baldwin (#89) sees his quarterback is in trouble, and scrambles down the field to provide him an outlet.

After running of time, Wilson decides to give his receiver a chance and hurls a deep ball to Baldwin while falling onto his back foot. The pass is left too short and Baldwin is unable to adjust and complete the tough reception.

3-11-ARI 45, 3rd quarter
(3:48) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep middle to 89-D.Baldwin.

One of the major turning points of the game, this incompletion would’ve brought the Seahawks right back in this game. Wilson needs to be able to hit receivers deep on a consistent basis when given adequate protection.

It’s 3rd and 11 and the Cardinals are bringing an all out blitz to try and thwart the Seahawks. Russell Wilson recognizes the no deep safety look and audibles to Doug Baldwin (#89) to change his route based on the coverage; Baldwin responds and changes his foot placement as a result. The Cardinals have two linebackers showing blitz on the A gaps. Ultimately, they blitz seven, including a safety who gets an unblocked blitzing lane directly at Wilson.

Baldwin takes a subtle step inside at the 35 yard line and causes the Arizona defender to hesitate, giving him a clear step on him as he runs down the field. The pass falls incomplete just in front of Baldwin. These are the types of throws that Wilson and Baldwin connected on with fair regularity last year.

1-10-ARI 42, 4th quarter
(9:02) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to 15-J.Kearse.

The Cardinals are playing with a safety deep and press coverage with their corners. They blitz five defenders, and Russell Wilson is able to let go of the ball before edge pressure from the left side is able to arrive.

Jermaine Kearse (#15) and Paul Richardson (#10) are running a favorite concept of Seattle’s; a switch release with can create a natural rub in man coverage with Arizona’s corners. Arizona CB Justin Bethel (#28) plays the rub well in this instance, and evades it while staying in Kearse’s hip pocket as they run down the field. Wilson shows good mechanics in his follow-through after the throw, but is falls incomplete and just out of Kearse’s hands.

2-11-ARI 46, 4th quarter 
(2:00) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 89-D.Baldwin pushed ob at ARI 15 for 31 yards (21-P.Peterson) [51-K.Minter].

Last few minutes of the game, Russell Wilson is usually money, and he shows it with this throw. This play is almost identical to the play run directly before it. The same switch release against Arizona’s man coverage is present, and this time the rub is more pronounced as CB Patrick Peterson (#21) stumbles and loses a step to Doug Baldwin (#89) as he runs a wheel route from his slot position.

Arizona is playing a single safety deep with their second covering Graham in man coverage within the box. Arizona chooses to blitz five defenders, with LB Kevin Minter (#51) screaming off the edge unblocked directly at Wilson. Wilson lets go of the pass as he gets demolished by the linebacker. The pass is a little behind Baldwin but he secures the reception along the sideline and gets Seattle into the redzone.


SHORT: 90 yards, 13/24 – 54%
INTERMEDIATE: 49 yards, 1 touchdown, 3/3 – 100%
DEEP: 119 yards, 3/5 – 60%

19/32 for 258 passing yards, 59.4% completion, 8.1YPA, 1 touchdown, 95.6 passer rating, 1 sack for 6 yards

2-3-SEA 16(4:09), 2nd quarter
(Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 89-D.Baldwin to SF 43 for 41 yards (33-R.Robinson). SF-33-R.Robinson was injured during the play. He is Out. Caught at SF 48.

Here, Doug Baldwin (#89) proves his versatility and strength as a top receiver in the league. He lines up in the “X” receiver position, an spot many critics have stated that he is unable to play at because of his stature.

Pre-snap, Wilson is looking at one safety deep and a seven man box. After deciding he wants to change the play, he shifts FB Marcel Reece (#44) slot left, who later chips and runs a flat route. Baldwin is playing against press coverage, and demonstrates his quick first step, taking an inside move before evading the corner’s jam and out running him down the field. Wilson sees his receiver has beat his corner, and throws a deep pass to him. The pass is a little underthrown, but Baldwin adjusts back to the ball and completions the reception.

2-10-SF 43(3:26), 2nd quarter
(Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass deep right to 88-J.Graham pushed ob at SF 1 for 42 yards (41-A.Bethea) [51-G.Hodges]. Caught at SF 1. 0-yds YAC

Seattle is in an empty formation, splitting out RB Alex Collins (#36) in at receiver. The 49ers are in nickel expecting a pass with no running back in the backfield. The rush four and leave one linebacker to spy Russell Wilson. Wilson double clutches, almost throwing to Collins on a curl route, ultimately deciding against it.

After bringing the ball down, Wilson runs to his right to survey the field. The 49ers deep safety chose to double Jermaine Kearse (#15) on this particular play, leaving 6’2″ LB Gerald Hodges (#51) 40 yards down the field in coverage on 6’6″ TE Jimmy Graham (#88). Graham boxes out his defender and brings down Wilson’s prayer at the 1 yard line.

1-10-SEA 41, 3rd quarter
(10:01) 3-R.Wilson pass deep left to 15-J.Kearse ran ob at SF 23 for 36 yards. Caught at SF 25. 2-yds YAC

Struggles this year throwing deep from the pocket notwithstanding, Wilson continued to excel throwing deep on the run, as he always has. Part of Wilson’s skillset is his ability to throw with strong accuracy on the run on either side of the field.

Pre-snap, 49er S Jaquiski Tartt (#29) shifts to the middle of the field in order to play man coverage on TE Jimmy Graham (#88). The corners are in off coverage by a few yards, with a single safety deep. With a seven man box, the defense is expecting a run pay here. Wilson run’s play-action here but San Francisco’s linebackers are not fooled. DE DeForest Buckner (#99) is caught in-between Seattle’s LT and LG, with LT George Fant (#74) trailing after him to push him out of the play.

Pressure from Buckner and more edge pressure from the left side flushes Wilson out of the pocket to his left side. Jermaine Kearse (#15) releases inside before realizing his quarterback is in trouble and withdraws to the left side of the field, creating space between him and the sideline for the throw. Wilson throws a strike on the move on this scramble for a completion of 36 yards.

3-10-SEA 14, 3rd quarter
(5:15) (Shotgun) 3-R.Wilson pass incomplete deep right to 15-J.Kearse [99-D.Buckner].

Pre-snap, the both 49ers safeties rotates out of the box and into deep coverage, and are playing in zone. As Russell Wilson snaps the ball, he is given plenty of time to survey the field on a regular four man rush. He side steps to the left attempting to hit Doug Baldwin (#89) on a deep out before seeing that he is double covered. After realizing his options on the left side of the play had disappeared, he runs to his right before momentarily pointing upfield to Jermaine Kearse (#15), redirecting him to run a go route.

Initially, Kearse chips his defender and proceeds to run a drag route across the field to give his quarterback a short outlet on a 3rd and long. Seeing his quarterback being to scramble, Kearse converts the route and begins running up the sideline in an attempt to get open. The pass is overthrown and falls incomplete in front of Kearse, although its hard to fault Wilson on this pass, as he has to throw on the run with the threat of an sandwich between two defenders incoming.


SHORT: 469 yards, 4 touchdowns 1 interception, 65/100 – 65%
INTERMEDIATE: 261 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 14/15 – 93%
DEEP: 347 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions, 12/27 – 44%

1,077 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 91 completions on 142 passing attempts – 64%.


…continue to Page 5. 

Page 1: Introduction and 1st Quarter (Weeks 1-4)
Page 2: 2nd Quarter (Weeks 6-9)
Page 3: 3rd Quarter (Weeks 10-13)
Page 4: 4th Quarter (Weeks 14-17)
Page 5: Playoffs and Conclusion

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