Today I'll start with tape evaluation for the first quarter. This is an overview. Through the week I'll do more focused pieces on specific players, formations, routes, coverage schemes and blitzes.
San Diego sets WR (left), 2 TE (right), I formation. The outside TE motions left before the snap.
Brandon Mebane explodes off the snap. He's a head length and more in front of Colin Cole, Cory Redding and Patrick Kerney. His quickness and power to the inside draws the Chargers' right side, right tackle Jeromey Clary and right guard Kynan Forney, along with center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick disengages and blocks Cole. Kerney attacks the outside pulling Marcus McNeill wide. (The Hated) Kris Dielman sticks to his zone, shading towards Kerney, but ready to assist McNeill or Hardwick. Mebane's pressure leaves Redding unblocked on the outside.
Antonio Gates releases into a route. Jacob Hester follows, gliding into the flat. LaDainian Tomlinson squares and attempts a cut block on the charging Redding. Redding hurdles Tomlinson and gives Philip Rivers his kill face. Rivers steps into the pocket. To the left, Cole has kept Hardwick out of his body and is steering the center towards the flow of the play. Redding closes. Cole lags slightly but closes. Rivers pumps and tucks and is tackled. Very borderline sack, because it's clear Rivers was in the act of rushing and not passing, but whatever the stat, an impressive first play from Seattle's front four. An impressive first play made possible by Brandon Mebane's speed and inside presence.