Seahawks vs. Bears: Week 13 player snap counts, quick analysis

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

Offense:

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Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini, Max Unger and Russell Okung all played every offensive snap for the Seahawks, as did, obviously, Russell Wilson. Ailing LG James Carpenter, after missing nine snaps at Miami with a knee tweak, only last five plays (and only one play before getting flat-backed by Julius Peppers) in this one before getting relieved by John Moffitt. Carpenter felt a 'sharp pain' in his knee, according to Pete Carroll, and the Seahawks have decided to play it safe with their 2011 first round pick. Carp's quick comeback from an ACL tear last year may have been a bit hasty, but we'll have to see how he bounces back.

Sidney Rice saw 96% of the Seahawks 71 snaps (68) in this one, one more than Golden Tate. There's no doubt, again, at this point, that Tate and Rice are the two Seahawks' go-to receivers. Doug Baldwin was #3 in terms of snaps, seeing the field for 36 snaps, or 51% of the offense's total. This is a big gain from last week, when DB played 18 of the Seahawks' 51 offensive snaps, so it seems likely that he's finally fully healthy, or as healthy as an NFL player can be at Week 14.

Rice caught 6 passes on 9 targets for 99 yards and the game winning score. Tate caught 5 passes on 6 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown and what we all thought was the winning score. Baldwin caught 4 passes on 5 targets, including an absolutely crucial 1st down in the Bears' Red Zone in OT on a 3rd and long situation (the play prior to Rice's game-winning TD). The trio of Rice-Tate-Baldwin appears to be a mainstay in this offense and should be going forward, as all three players are young and under club control at least through next season. With their improved performance over the last few weeks, it should make for a more interesting Draft season as WR becomes less of a pressing need (not saying it's not a need, just not a giant gaping hole).

Braylon Edwards played 14 snaps and caught what could've been a touchdown pass, but it was subsequently overturned (which I'm still annoyed about). Regardless, he wasn't overly impactful in his snaps, from what I could tell, but remained a big target that the Seahawks used in the redzone (he was in on many of their redzone packages, including Golden Tate's go-ahead scoring play late in the 4th quarter). Now, with the news that he's been released, it will be something to watch as to who receives his snaps.

At tight end, Zach Miller saw 67 of 71 offensive snaps. Anthony McCoy was in for 25 snaps (35%), down a good deal from last week's playtime percentage of 60%. Miller caught 2 passes on 6 targets (he was open in the endzone on one of those targets but Wilson over threw him, and two other instances were highly contested). He did turn in possibly the biggest catch of the day though, reeling in a 7-yard catch over the middle on fourth and three to preserve the Seahawks' go-ahead drive late in the game.

Marshawn Lynch saw 47 snaps, and Robert Turbin saw 12 in relief. Michael Robinson's snaps seem to be dwindling a bit down to 13 this week - 18% of plays, after 21% last week. (as compared to 29% vs the Jets, 37% vs. the Vikings, 26% vs. Detroit, and 45% vs. San Francisco). This might be attributed to the Seahawks' use of the read-option in shotgun formations of late.

Leon Washington got 5 snaps in the first-half two minute drill personnel packages, which also happened against the Jets. Why Leon gets these snaps over Turbin is a bit curious to me.

Defense:

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The usual suspects got their fair share of the Seahawks' defensive snaps: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner each got all 61 of the Seahawks' defensive plays. Brandon Browner got all but one. This is standard.

Chris Clemons' snap count has been managed a bit the last few weeks -- in the early parts of the season, he was almost never coming off the field, but over the last few games, the Hawks have been trying to work Bruce Irvin in for more 'running down' snaps I think, likely to get him more experience and a better rhythm in the game, and to spell Clemons a bit as the season wears on. Clemons saw 50 snaps this week, the exact same number as last week versus the Dolphins (80% to 82% of total plays).

Bruce Irvin got 23 snaps, or 38% of total plays, which was around the same percentage of where he played versus Miami as well (40%). Jason Jones saw his playing time boosted up a bit as well, notching 26 snaps from both DT and DE. This was a big(ish) jump from last week's 21 snaps (43% to 35%).

As for the defensive line rotation, Brandon Mebane got the most snaps - 41 - but was followed closely by Red Bryant (36) and Alan Branch (32). Clinton McDonald saw his snap percentage dip a slight amount this week, but was still a big part of the rotation with 25 snaps. Greg Scruggs saw 11 snaps at DT.

Malcolm Smith, making his first NFL start, logged 47 snaps and did a nice job, from what I saw, in run support and was a solid deterrent in running back pass catching out of the backfield. His speed and ability to run with tight ends might make him a better option against some teams, and it will be interesting to see if a) he takes over starting for Leroy Hill or b) gets significantly more snaps going forward. Either way, Pete Carroll praised his play. Combined with Mike Morgan's quality start vs. the Jets in relief of K.J. Wright, it's pretty cool that two undersized and former late round/UDFA type linebackers out of USC have managed to find themselves starting for the Seahawks and acquitting themselves nicely.

Finally, Walter Thurmond returned to the field after a long rehab, and he also played pretty well, from what I could tell from the game broadcast. He certainly looks fast, and my guess is that he'll remain the starter in the slot. He logged only 14 snaps, though, so it's possible the Seahawks were trying to work him in slowly.

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