Thearon W. Henderson
I broke down a couple of the Seahawks' nice run plays from last Thursday's matchup with the 49ers yesterday, and I wanted to follow up today with another breakdown of a well executed snap. If you read my post from yesterday I don't really need to do much of an intro, so I'll just get right into it.
1-10-SEA 14 (4:56 2nd Quarter) M.Lynch up the middle to SEA 28 for 14 yards (T.Brown).
One of the nicest parts of having your team play in primetime, for me, is the overhead camera angles that the network broadcast provides. Normally, we'd see the play as it appears above and no matter how many times we re-watch it, some things remain difficult to see (for instance, what RG Paul McQuistan does on this particular play - he's mostly obscured). In real-time, you see 18-20 players all jumbled together moving in a big pile, blocking, dodging, diving, ducking, dodging and hitting each other, the ball carrier juking and spinning forward forward for 14 yards and for most, it's pretty much impossible to discern what the hell just happened.
With the overhead perspective, splits, matchups, one-on-one assignments, and the overall strategy and scheme can be much more easily deduced.
Similar to what we did yesterday, lets look at the play by looking at the different characters, from left to right, rather than as a whole.
I have no idea what this run might be called, but simple zone blocking concepts are at play once the ball is hiked.
Anthony McCoy will briefly help his cohort to the left, Zach Miller, until he sees Miller has the job handled. He'll then move downfield as he's 'uncovered' against what the defense has shown. Russell Okung will block the man in front of him and similar to what McCoy has done, James Carpenter will help briefly to his left, then move on to the 2nd level to engage ILB NaVorro Bowman, as against this defensive look, Carpenter is 'uncovered'. Max Unger will block straight ahead, and Paul McQuistan, in turn, will briefly help Unger then move downhill. Breno Giacomini will be head-to-head with his defender, and Michael Robinson will take the defensive end to the right.
Now, in realtime. Watch each lineman/TE carefully, to see how zone blocking is heavily dependent on teamwork and coordination.
I'm beginning to realize more and more why Hugh Millen was raving about Paul McQuistan early in the season because similar to one of the plays from yesterday that I broke down, McQuistan does a great job of opening up a hole for Marshawn Lynch to run through. Remember when Marshawn dubbed McQuistan the Seahawks' offensive MVP for last year? This kind of blocking is why.
McQuistan shoves anyone in his running back's path out of the way violently, starting with NT Isaac Sopoaga, but followed by his right tackle and teammate, Breno Giacomini. Marshawn does the rest by finding the right crease and running right off of McQuistan's back.
Downfield, James Carpenter does a good job of taking ILB Bowman out of the play and Lynch spins forward for an additional 5 or 6 yards once into the 2nd level.
Bonus gif from BigTrain21 below, with huge thanks once again for the great gifs, which show why Lynch is probably the most difficult running back in the NFL to bring down.