Screw Single Coverage, I'm Going to Scramble Myself into a Sack!

(This covers the Chargers drive starting at 11:52 and the following drive by the Seahawks)

  • On San Diego's first play, Seattle sent Aaron Curry and Chris Clemons around the ends and pressured Philip Rivers into an incomplete. It was a play-action, seven step drop and that allowed Seattle's two speed rushers to sprint upfield and beat their blockers to the spot.
  • San Diego attempted another play-action, seven step drop on the next play but Rivers was able to scramble right and find Malcolm Floyd coming back to the ball for 11 and the first.
  • San Diego put two wide receivers left on the next play. Seattle matched Kelly Jennings over the outside receiver and Earl Thomas over the inside receiver. Thomas bit underneath and Legedu Naanee flew wide open on a corner route. Thomas recovered and tackled. That speaks to his range and awareness, but only after the fact.
  • Norv Turner buried his team and killed this drive with a poorly executed, poorly conceived reverse. Curry split an Antonio Gates-Randy McMichael double team attempt and closed on Naanee and forced him backwards. Clemons stayed at home and corralled Naanee and the two split the tackle.
  • On the next play, Brandyn Dombrowski cut Bradnon Mebane, Mebane tumbled but accidentally tripped Kris Dielman, who was attempting to pull and block David Hawthorne, and Hawthorne closed and tackled Mike Tolbert after two. I don't throw "luck" around terribly often, but this was a lucky break for Seattle. Behind Hawthorne and in front of Tolbert, two Chargers were lead blocking.
  • Seahawks rush six, with Lofa Tatupu and Lawyer Milloy challenging the "A" gaps. Tatupu commits and draws a block from the backfield. Milloy moves out and spies. Clemons gets a fantastic jump off the snap and is able to run around Dombrowski and come clean around the edge and sack Rivers from behind. Rivers pulls the ball into his body, securing it, but pressure that can come around the edge and behind the quarterback often forces fumbles.

Seahawks drive

  • Right defensive end, Jacques Cesaire, tears through Ben Hamilton and forces a hurried throw. It's high and wide right of Mike Williams. Williams tries to snatch it but Quentin Jammer smacks it through his hands incomplete.
  • Seattle's line surges left and creates a cutback lane right. Justin Forsett hits the hole but isn't quick enough through and is tracked from behind Brandon Siler.
  • Chris Spencer jerks backward and is called for a false start.
  • Mile Williams runs a 15 yard hitch and Matt Hasselbeck completes the pass for the first. What's remarkable about this play is how horizontal Williams is through his break. His balance, coordination and route-running are remarkable.
  • John Carlson plants and cuts and receives towards the left hash in front of Shawne Merriman.
  • Forsett converts the first on a very nice run. I'll illustrate and break that down in a future post.
  • Antonio Garay and Luis Castillo split Chris Spencer and Stacy Andrews by angling right and left, respectively. Siler rushes the resulting, gaping right "A" gap and forces an outlet pass to Carlson that's high and into double coverage. Incomplete.
  • Seahawks attempt a wide receiver screen and the play breaks down at three separate points. Antwan Applewhite rushes around right end and tips the pass. Donald Strickland sits on the route and closes on Branch as he's attempting to scoop the tumbling pass. Antoine Cason throws off a block attempt by Golden Tate and is free in the left flat. So you see, it didn't work.
  • We end with the title track: Hasselbeck ignores Deion Branch in single coverage streaking up the right sideline and wends left and into a sack by Applewhite. Here's the important details.
  • Chargers rush four.
  • Seattle retains seven blockers, leaving only three viable receivers.
  • Deon Butler and Tate run opposing crossing patterns. Neither achieves separation.
  • Tate's right breaking pattern draws the safety and isolates Jammer on an island.
  • Branch waves like, throw here.
  • Hasselbeck tucks and runs into Carlson's back.
  • Applewhite "sacks" Hasselbeck.
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