A Look at the Film: Seattle Seahawks Opening Drive Against the Atlanta Falcons

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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.

 

A Look at the Film: Seattle Seahawks Opening Drive Against the Atlanta Falcons

On multiple occasions throughout the opening drive, Seattle’s young offensive line was put to the test, from stunting defensive tackles to the “wide 9” front which puts the tackles on an island. Both Garry Gilliam and George Fant struggle but Fant has the hardest time by far dealing with Adrian Clayborn. An interesting wrinkle to the blocking schemes on much of the first drive is a few times tight end Luke Willson is tasked with blocking Vic Beasley, He does an admirable job but is beaten a few times.

For the most part, Seattle was able to move the ball at will whether it be with handoffs to Thomas Rawls, scrambles from Russell Wilson or well-designed route combinations. Rawls was averaging almost 5 yards per carry on the opening drive and looked like the running back that wowed fans in 2015. Doug Baldwin was toasting defensive backs and making athletic grabs to keep the drive alive.  Seattle’s use of stacked formations, play action passing and excellent execution.

The Seattle offensive unit looked as good as it would all day on the opening drive, giving fans a glimmer of hope that Seattle would pull off another underdog win. That wouldn’t last long as mistakes started to pile up on the second drive of the game which resulted in a Seattle safety. The loss of guard Germain Ifedi on the opening drive cannot be understated as replacement Rees Odhiambo was directly responsible for the safety on the next drive.  The Seahawks would fail to score another touchdown until the fourth quarter down by a couple scores.

What Seattle showed on the first drive is promising going into 2017 as the only missing link seems to be a consistent offensive line. With the playmakers for Seattle signed through 2017 and a young offensive line that can only get better, fans should be optimistic going forward that what they saw on the opening drive can be a consistent theme offensively for Seattle going forward.

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.