The Seahawks' official gamebooks now conveniently list player snap counts so I'm hoping to start breaking these down a little bit each week as we look for trends and patterns in the use of personnel for this team.
Listed below are the player snap counts for the Seahawks' offense (left) and defense (right) for Week 9's win versus the Minnesota Vikings.
The Seahawks saw a little shuffling on the offensive line during this game. Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, and Russell Okung started and played every snap, and John Moffitt moved in at left guard for an injured James Carpenter and played every snap at that spot as well in relief. Max Unger left for 12 snaps as he got X-rays in the locker room for what was described as "multiple dislocations" to his fingers. In his place, we saw Lemuel Jeanpierre come in in relief, and at first glance, Lem played well.
That's a tough spot for him too, considering (I assume) Unger is making a large chunk of protection calls and is the leader of the O-line. All things considered, while Unger was out for a series or two, the Seahawks' offense didn't seem to miss a beat -- I believe Seattle mounted a 9-play 72-yard drive that ended in a Marshawn Lynch rushing touchdown while Unger was in the lockerroom.
Also, it pretty great to see that the Seahawks' offensive line still functioned very well even with the absence of James Carpenter. Carpenter has been improving each game, but in his stead, Moffitt held things down alright. Moffitt missed a few assignments -- he was blown back off the line on one particular play and Marshawn Lynch was stuffed in the backfield, and Moffitt's man came through the line on that 3rd and 9 where Russell Wilson scrambled and hit Sidney Rice in the back of the endzone -- but overall I liked what I saw from the former 3rd round pick out of Wisconsin, especially considering he too was coming off an injury and hasn't played on the left side much, if any, in his NFL career. Seattle gave up only one sack, and rushed for 195 yards on a whopping 45 attempts. Russell Wilson regularly had enough time to throw. Seattle asked a lot of their offensive line in this one, and they responded well.
Zach Miller saw 62 of the 75 snaps for the Seahawks' offense, and despite fans' calls to give him the football more often, he is still a mainstay of this offense. Miller saw all but one snap against Detroit, all but eight against San Francisco, all but four against New England, and you get the picture. He may not catch many passes, or as many passes as we'd all like to see, but he's an absolutely integral part of this team's offense and scheme.
Anthony McCoy continues to be a steady presence for the offense, seeing 30 of the 75 offensive snaps. Evan Moore's snaps have tapered off over the weeks and he's now only seeing the field a few times a game. On Sunday, Moore saw 3 snaps and zero targets. Instead, the Seahawks are still relying more heavily on Mike Robinson in the backfield with 21 and 22 personnel. Robinson was an unsung hero in this week's game -- he helped Seattle to convert several short yardage plays - including the nail-in-the-coffin 4th down conversion very late in the game - and he also continues to be an effective blocker in the backfield.
Robinson got some chiding for missing a block on Jared Allen (which will happen), but on Russell Wilson's first quarter touchdown pass to Golden Tate, both Robinson and Lynch laid down key, key, key, KEY, blocks on attacking blitzers as Wilson sat back in the pocket waiting for the slow-developing play to happen. Wilson hit Tate on a drag in the back of the endzone, but it would have been impossible without great blitz pickups from Robinson and then Lynch.
Golden Tate saw the most snaps of any Seahawks' receiver (69 of 75 snaps) - a testament to his downfield blocking ability as the Seahawks continue to look to him on 'run-heavy' groupings. Sidney Rice saw 64 snaps, Doug Baldwin 32 (coming off a high-ankle sprain) and the next closest receiver in terms of snaps was Charly Martin with 13. Newcomer Jermaine Kearse caught his first target very early in the game but dropped his second - and saw only four snaps total in the game (on offense - he played extensively on special teams though).
Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas were the workhorses in the secondary in this one, as usual. Chancellor and Thomas never left the field, and Sherman and Browner only missed a snap or two each.
Bobby Wagner saw all 54 snaps -- he's played every defensive snap for Seattle in a number of their games now, and Seattle couldn't afford to take him off the field on Sunday because of the injury to K.J. Wright. Leroy Hill played 53 snaps, so he too barely left the field. Mike Morgan was the beneficiary of Wright's early injury, logging 36 snaps. Morgan's day started out shaky - whiffing on an Adrian Peterson cutback and then taking a poor angle/failing on contain on a reverse -, but from what I could tell, he cleaned some things up in the 2nd half (or at least, I didn't notice him screwing up badly so that's a good thing).
Chris Clemons saw all but three snaps. The rest of the defensive line saw quite a rotation - Red Bryant played 47 snaps, both outside in his normal spot and a few inside at DT; Brandon Mebane played 38 snaps, and Alan Branch played 30 snaps. They were spelled by Greg Scruggs (10 snaps) and Clinton McDonald (19 snaps), and Bruce Irvin only saw the field 17 times in this one. Irvin's snap count has been up and down this year, depending on opponent - he saw 35 snaps at Detroit, 11 at San Fran, 31 against New England, 20 against Carolina, and 22 against St. Louis, for comparison.
Finally, Jeron Johnson played 9 snaps, and logged a sack on 3rd down out of 'dime' personnel. He blitzed on the play, and spin-moved into the pocket as Christian Ponder stepped up into it.