Seahawks vs. Bills: Week 15 player snap counts, quick analysis

Rick Stewart

The Seahawks' player snap counts are out for Sunday's win at Rogers Centre against the Bills, so let's take a look at a few notables.

Offense:

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Breno Giacomini again got every offensive snap this week with backup OT Mike Person inactive. My guess is that Paul McQuistan or Frank Omiyale would get time at right tackle if Breno were to get hurt, but in this one, they just kept The Big Russian out there to work on Mario Williams. It's easy to criticize Giacomini because of his idiotic personal foul penalties over the last year, but he has really improved this season on the fundamentals of pass protection and that showed up on Sunday. Mario Williams was largely ineffective (I literally forgot he was playing) and spent a lot of his time on Breno's side trying to get to Russell Wilson and attempting to stop the read-option, both of which failed mostly. I'm not laying the blame of Buffalo's defensive performance on Williams, of course, but it was encouraging to see Seattle limit his impact on the game.

Despite the large margin of victory, Seattle played their starters until quite late into the game, with Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, & Russell Okung seeing all but four offensive snaps. J.R. Sweezy replaced John Moffit (44 snaps) for short stretches at RG, seeing 18 snaps on the day, particularly in the 2nd quarter, so the rotation at that position remains in place. It will be interesting to see what happens there over the next year or so -- Sweezy has a great edge in athleticism over Moffitt, but the advantage he has in that department is disproportionate to the advantage of experience that the former Badger has over Sweezy. My guess at this point is that Sweezy will take over as starter at RG next year, barring a big draft choice at the position, and Moffitt will transition to being a dependable, quality backup at all three interior positions, an important role for any offensive line.

Zach Miller played 48 snaps at tight end, did a great job blocking on the edge for Seattle's read-option looks, and caught all three of his targets for 26 yards and a touchdown. I don't think Miller gets the recognition and praise that he deserves as an all-around talent at his position. Catching passes is sexy, but Miller really earns his paycheck with his ability to both block with aplomb and also run quality routes, something that's actually fairly difficult to find.

Anthony McCoy is also competent in those areas, and as a #2 TE, has been about as effective as you could hope. McCoy, despite becoming the first Seahawks receiver to break the century mark in receiving yards last week, didn't factor much into the passing attack this week as he saw 31 snaps, but was only targeted once (incomplete). Evan Moore remains a distant third option in the TE corps, and saw only four snaps.

There were no real significant numbers at the wide receiver position - Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin remain the 'big 3' at that position. Jermaine Kearse saw 16 snaps but with Charly Martin now on IR and Deon Butler in street clothes, the Hawks didn't have a ton of options.

Marshawn Lynch saw 25 snap - only 43% of the offense's total, and carried the ball 10 times for 113 yards and a TD. Over the past two games, Lynch has rushed only 21 times for 241 yards (11.48 ypc) and 4 touchdowns -- that's efficiency, and exactly what you'd hope for at this point in the season. He's likely fairly fresh as the Seahawks head into the home stretch of the season and hopefully the playoffs. Robert Turbin saw 22 snaps, carrying the ball 10 times for 31 yards, with a long of 12 yards. Leon Washington again got duty in the first-half two minute drill, where he dropped a perfectly thrown screen pass (pointed up to the lights after he missed it), and rushed twice for 5 yards.

Michael Robinson got 17 snaps at FB - catching a pass on a nice play-action leak-out route and rumbling down the sideline for 20 yards. He also took the handoff from Chris Maragos on the infamous fake punt up the gut for 29 yards.

Defense:

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I believe Derek Stephens is going to delve into the cornerback rotation with a little more detail this week, but with Brandon Browner, Marcus Trufant, and Walter Thurmond all out this week due to suspension and injury, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane saw a ton of action in this one - Maxwell logging 56 snaps and Lane 54. The Hawks used their nickel and dime packages extensively against Buffalo's spread-em-out offense, and Lane and Maxwell traded off playing in the slot and on the outside. I was impressed with the play of both of them, and Lane in particular strikes me as a guy whose name you will hear a lot of in the next few years.

Speaking to the lack of 'base defense' that the Seahawks played, Leroy Hill saw the fewest amount of snaps for any player on the defense this week, logging only 11. Malcolm Smith more than doubled that total with 24 snaps, both in base and nickel, I believe, and though Hill started, Smith looked faster and more fluid in coverage, something that makes the competition there pretty interesting.

On the defensive line, Jason Jones got extensive playing time in this one, in for 44 snaps, or 66% of defensive plays. He saw action on the edge and on the inside at DT. Greg Scruggs got a lot of playing time as well, logging 34 snaps, or 51% of the defense's total. Chris Clemons got a bit of a respite this week, seeing only 67% of snaps, but still logged 2.5 sacks. Bruce Irvin played 40 snaps (60%), and nearly returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Clinton McDonald was on the field for 36 snaps (54%), and paired with the extensive playing time for Jones/Irvin/Scruggs, meant the Seahawks could give a little more rest to Brandon Mebane (27 snaps) and Red Bryant (22 snaps). Alan Branch apparently injured his ankle in the game, and only saw 14 snaps.

With the Seahawks breaking out the dime looks early, and then holding on to a big lead late, some backups were able to log significant snaps. Jeron Johnson and Chris Maragos both saw 24 snaps, newly re-signed Ron Parker 16, and special teams ace Heath Farwell saw 15.

CB Marcus Trufant, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Deshawn Shead, G Rishaw Johnson, T Michael Person, DT Jaye Howard, and WR Deon Butler were the gameday inactives.

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