Greg Knapp and Larry Coyer must have missed all the talk about the epic matchup between Seattle's young, promising offensive tackles and Indianapolis' hyper-elite defensive ends. Coyer forgot to play Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Daniel Muir saw time at end, a good weekend for Muirs, and Ray Willis matched mostly against Raheem Brock. He did a very good job.
He got good push against line, but was more often matching against linebackers. Seattle tied a tight end to his hip. Failing that, Knapp employed less orthodox methods to protect Willis. To starts it second drive, Seattle started in an "I", and when the play went pass, both backs in the "I" ran right and lent Willis a chip block. Knapp game planned to protect Willis, but Coyer was a step ahead. He invited Seattle to rush, knowing Peyton Manning could put his team up and force Seattle to pass before all was said and done.
Willis didn't have any big moments, but he had quite a few good moments.
1. 1-10-SEA 41 (13:08) (Run formation) 22-J.Jones right tackle to SEA 42 for 1 yard (56-T.Hagler)
Willis drives out and seals the right edge, but Julius Jones cuts inside and into the unblocked linebacker. This is where we talk about Jones not seeing holes.
2. 2-1-SEA 45 (5:30) 22-J.Jones up the middle to SEA 47 for 2 yards (98-R.Mathis)
Willis moves left and blocks out the right defensive tackle. The play is moving away from left defensive end Mathis, but Mathis catches up and tackles Jones after the first. Seattle's tight ends struggle run blocking.
3. 3-3-IND 46 (3:25) 15-S.Wallace scrambles right end pushed ob at IND 43 for 3 yards (79-R.Brock)
Willis creates enough of an edge for Wallace to tip-toe across the line.
4. 1-10-IND 43 (3:03) (Run formation) 22-J.Jones left end to IND 47 for -4 yards (68-E.Foster)
Willis pulls clear across the line and falls on middle linebacker Freddy Keiaho. Not a graceful display, but it was a long run for Willis and he was able to impact Keiaho though Keiaho was moving the opposite direction. Max Unger was ripped through by Eric Foster and Foster felled Jones in the backfield.
5. 2-14-IND 47 (2:25) (Shotgun) 15-S.Wallace pass short right to 83-D.Branch to 50 for -3 yards (33-M.Bullitt)
Willis cut blocks Brock and succeeds. T.J. Houshmandzadeh cut blocks Tim Jennings and succeeds. Deion Branch missed that. He cuts across field and attempts a play Barry Sanders couldn't make in college and predictably is dropped behind the line of scrimmage. Had he trusted Housh, the too aggressive Jennings left a column of space up the right sideline.
6. 3-17- (1:39) (Shotgun) 15-S.Wallace sacked at SEA 45 for -5 yards (54-F.Keiaho). Wallace pushed out of bounds by Keiaho. WATCH HIGHLIGHT
This play is a good example of Willis' ability and how much the coaches trust him. Wallace runs a designed rollout right with only Willis pulling out right to defend him. It's third and seventeen, so the Colts drop a billion and evidently no one was open, because Wallace sacked himself in shame.
Willis only had one bad play, but it was against Mathis.
3-8-SEA 43 (12:00) (Shotgun) 15-S.Wallace pass incomplete short right to 81-N.Burleson [98-R.Mathis].
Freeney schooled Frye with an inside spin move, but it was Mathis firing around edge that forced the throwaway towards Burleson. Willis allowed the kind of instant pressure that deactivates a pass game.
One quarter in, and Willis was doing his part against the Colts rotational ends. Mathis made a brief appearance and effortlessly ran past Willis. Knapp game-planned to protect Willis and establish the run, but Coyer ignored Willis and game-planned to stop the run. Execution critiques aside, and Branch and Jones deserve criticism, Coyer picked right. Coyer anticipated Knapp's game plan and moved to counter it.