If a team plays within the rules of the NFL, but because of its fast, attacking style hurts more skill-position players than typical, can we classify that as a skill? It's something I wondered since Seattle left a trail of broken running backs in its wake in 2007.
3. The failure occurred within the interior line. Colin Cole failed to hold his double team and that allowed Rudy Niswanger to pull into the second level and interrupt Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill's line to Larry Johnson.
This drive was all about conditional relationships. On Kansas City's second play from scrimmage, Brandon Mebane schooled his assignment, Mike Goff, and flushed Johnson outside-left. Aaron Curry drove back Mike Cox and left Johnson with a long angle to the outside and without a lead blocker. So far, so good. But Dwayne Bowe has Ken Lucas tied up and one of Tatupu or Hill must fly to the outside and tackle Johnson. Neither is able to because Cole, doubled by Niswanger and Brian Waters, cannot delay or force Niswanger to stay at home. He chips Cole and pulls into the second level. Niswanger doesn't block Tatupu or Hill, but he screens Hill and Hill screens Tatupu and both bubble and close on Johnson from an obtuse angle. They never arrive. Lucas sheds and tackles but only after the first.
2. Curry, in his own way, made the sack. With the Chiefs line in shreds and Matt Cassel scrabbling for space, Curry didn't close on Cassel and attempt the vainglorious sack, but instead picked up outlet receiver Johnson escaping into the right flat. Cassel's last hope was covered. A second later, Cassel was sacked and Johnson airborne after a wicked bump by Curry.
1. Brian Russell executed the blitz to perfection. Mercifully, Russell wasn't blitzing.
It's third and 11 from the Chiefs 45. Tyler Thigpen is in. Seattle is in a 4-1 dime. The Chiefs are spread four wide, two to a side, running back right, shotgun. Babineaux telegraphs blitz, almost timing it to perfection, but missing the snap and just a fraction off. He attacks from the offensive left and draws the running back. Babineaux's pre-blitz assignment was Bobby Engram in the left slot. Engram is open only briefly and well before the first down marker. Russell breaks from the deep middle and covers Engram to, through and after the marker.
That's when Thigpen tucks. Patrick Kerney has positioned himself to contain, but looks away when Goff charges at him from the left. Kerney loses contain and must track Thigpen down in the right flat.
Excellent execution by Brian Russell.