Justin Forsett Saves the Season (Maybe)

Nate Burleson capped the half with a well-timed skinny post for the touchdown. Burleson stutter stepped to stall at the top of his route. That allowed the defender to finish his backpedal into a deep zone. Burly then cut in front, used his body to shield him out of the play and made a touchdown reception that looked easy. Maybe it was.

  • Seattle started the second half with the ball. It set in trips right, a wide receiver left and Julius Jones in the backfield. On the surface, that's a pass play, but the trips were comprised of Nate Burleson, John Owens and John Carlson. Another way to look at it is, Seattle started the half in a two tight end set. It didn't, but that's how it played it.
  • Jones ran off right end. Owens effectively sealed the inside. Burleson and Carlson moved into the second level and both did an excellent job lead blocking. Jones second gear betrayed him, and he didn't slingshot around the end. I think Seattle invests in a speed back this next offseason. Jones can turn the corner, but he doesn't break away when he does. The run went for seven.
  • The Seahawks motioned Jones out wide-right where he became the fourth wide receiver in an empty set. Empty sets seem aggressive, but often they are actually ultra conservative. Offensive coordinators spread the defense horizontally and direct the quarterback to take a three step drop and fire. An offense can't withstand a blitz from an empty set, so the goal is get someone free and get the quarterback out of danger. Carlson ran a short out from the slot and Hasselbeck hit him for five.
  • Owens sealed the inside and Sean Locklear pulled out and engaged Will Witherspoon. The execution of the blocking was almost flawless, and give Locklear credit for engaging Witherspoon and walking him towards the sideline, but two things kept this play from popping. Owens couldn't hold the inside and Rams defensive end James Hall narrowed the hole. The other is again on Jones. He turned the corner but didn't hit the hole with much speed. I think maybe Jones hasn't become fully confident in the system and is still a little hesitant picking his rush lane. I don't think he's slow.
  • Hasselbeck found Housh for six to end the drive. Seattle needed seven. It was a Justin Forsett block from disaster. Seattle overloaded the right. Greg Knapp had used this formation before. The first ended with a nine yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh on first and ten. It put Housh in the slot and matched him against a linebacker. The second converted a long first down by isolating Burleson on one side and getting him one-on-one cover. The third attempted the same, but Burleson didn't high-point the ball.
  • This time Hasselbeck went back to Houshmandzadeh attacking the middle, but Steve Spagnuolo was prepared. He assigned two corners to defend the middle. Hasselbeck waited a beat too long to throw, and Justin King and Jonathan Wade closed on Housh before he could run past the marker.
  • On that same play, Spagnuolo had another trick that almost trapped the Hawks. The Rams set with only two down linemen, both ends, one standing defensive end, Chris Long, and one linebacker, James Laurinaitis. The rush targeted Seattle's weak side -- the side only a wide receiver was aligned. It would have worked if not for an incredible block by Justin Forsett.
  • O.J. Atogwe timed his blitz perfectly and ran around left end untouched. The Rams were only rushing four, but with a free blitzer fractions after the snap, it was working. Forsett crossed in front of Hasselbeck and hit Atogwe in stride, holding him off enough for Hasselbeck to throw. With the pass targeting an area with two corners, Forsett's block didn't just stop a sack, it could have stopped a turnover. It could have stopped Hasselbeck from hobbling off the field holding his back.
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