Looking Forward: Russell Wilson-Jimmy Graham TD in Divisional Round

After trouncing the Detroit Lions in the Wildcard round of the playoffs the Seahawks were set to make a trip to the Georgia Dome and face the red hot Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons opened as three-point favorites over the team they had taken down to the wire in a week six loss. Throughout the season they Seahawks had proved inconsistent on offense. Seattle made a point to march down the field and score on the opening drive but throughout the game again proved inconsistent. This is a preview of the video breakdown coming soon that will look at the entire drive for Seattle.

Looking Forward: Russell Wilson-Jimmy Graham TD in Divisional Round

On this play, the Seahawks come out in an empty to set with three receivers to the right and two to the left. The routes of Paul Richardson and J.D. McKissic are set to open up Doug Baldwin on the right side. With Jermaine Kearse and Jimmy Graham on the left running complementary routes, Kearse’s hitch route is supposed to draw the two zone defenders, leaving Graham in single coverage on an out route. The Falcons show a wide nine front, in their nickel package. Seattle motions Kearse in behind Graham because Robert Alford doesn’t man up with Kearse, Russell Wilson knows the Falcons are in zone coverage.

After the snap, Wilson turns and throws a dart to Graham, even though he’s technically double covered. The ball is placed where only Graham can make the catch. Wilson demonstrates great anticipation and trust with Graham because the ball is out before the pro bowl tight end is out of his break.  Graham out muscles Keanu Neal and stretches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown.

On the other side, Richardson runs a hitch route mirroring Kearse on the left while McKissic runs a fade into the endzone. Baldwin runs a quick out and is wide open for a touchdown if Wilson sees him. This route pattern, called the “Sticks” pattern, utilizes quick routes and simple route combinations to open up receivers. Wilson is in the shotgun so once he has the ball he needs to make one read and either throw the ball to Graham or Baldwin. This simple, quick type of play call is perfect for a team who struggled in the red zone all year.