This is just one of those games where you know we should've won, and what a difference that would've made in the final results for the 2012 season. Given that there was such a slim margin for all of the Seahawks losses, this is probably a fair reaction to any of them. However, given how we dominated the LOS, this game felt especially winnable.
In this installment of the "2012 season in review", we are going to pick on some of your favorite players. So if you can't handle that you probably shouldn't keep reading. Yep that's right, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and maybe even Marshawn Lynch will be under the microscope.
Offense - avg yards 5.2
- Even though we scored only 13 points we actually were able to move the ball with ease and had to this point the best running attack of the season.
Passing - 17/25 140 5.2avg
- This was not a good performance by Wilson, in fact it may have been his worst of the year. As a spectator watching TV angles it is easy to conclude that the three interceptions he threw were actually not his fault. After seeing close-up and birds-eye view replays, that's no longer my conclusion. At least two of the three were on him.
- We struggled mightily in third-down passing situations...No actually all third downs! From taking a step back and looking at the broader themes, there are three things that emerge.
1. Playcalling on third-down. Let's see, there was the odd pitch toss to Lynch to see if he could win a foot race against three defenders running laterally (not really his game). Result was a loss in yards on third and one. See below:
- If the play call goes straight up the gut this probably results in a first down.
- Then there was the draw play in the red zone on third and two. I'm not sure why we needed to get cute when we were so successful at just pounding the ball in!
2. Giacomini induced third and a million yardage situations. Twice he committed personal foul, 15 yard penalties simply from playing through the whistle and taking some cheap shots he didn't need to take.
3. Wilson bad decisions: (I thought that he never really made bad decisions?)
- The result of this play was the defender that was covering Tate (near the 40 yard line in the bottom of the picture) was closing in fast on Baldwin, who is in the middle of the picture running a crossing route, and clearly has his man beaten by a few steps.
- This still-shot was taken a moment before Wilson made the throw but because he locked in on Baldwin and double clutched, the guy covering Tate was able to make a play for the ball and take it away from Baldwin even though he is almost 10 yards away in this shot.
- This shot depicts what would've been a decent pocket to step up and make a pass from at the end of a half or to simply throw it away.
- Instead in this moment Wilson takes off and is unable to escape the pocket, this results in a 12 yard loss, a punt that puts the Rams in good field position, and another really long field goal from legatron
- In this early stretch of the season the offense designed many plays around Wilson rolling to his left or his right. Sometimes this can have the desired effect and can catch a defense off guard however it also removes half of the field, and as you can see there is nobody even close to open for Wilson to make a throw to.
- This time he decided to roll to the right, Wilson locked on to Rice who was in the corner of the end zone and was actually held, but the penalty wasn't called. However, Miller was actually open right in front of him and his defender decided to bail and put pressure on Wilson. A more veteran QB probably has the awareness to make this throw to Miller for an easy 6. Instead Wilson threw this where Rice was supposed to be which brought up fourth down.
- This was the play that basically ended the game. At first glance it looks like this was an interception because McCoy slipped and fell on the route, however I don't think that's what happened here. The pass was simply overthrown, and McCoy was attempting to turn on the jets, but he had no real chance to catch up to it and fell.
Rushing - 34/179 5.3 avg
- A significant percentage of runs were more than 5 yards. This wasn't a few plays that got stuffed and a few that had big gains, this was a dominating run blocking performance by the offensive line.
- Lynch carried 20 times for 118 yards (almost 6 yards per run!)
- Turbin went 6-45, (7+ YPC!) . Turbin actually looked really good in this game though a couple times he was impatient and hit the wrong gap or attempted to cut back into a defender as the gap was opening. He also seems more decisive than Lynch in picking a gap to run through. I have to wonder if coaches weren't looking at some of this tape and thinking of what Christine Michael would do for this team's running game before the draft.
- This was a great 13 yard carry by Turbin, where he demonstrated the patience for the gap to open and decisively burst through it. If this was Lynch, I suspect he would've favored the right end to get to space, which would not have actually been as good. Also if this was Michael he would've had the speed and explosiveness to take it all the way to the house. This isn't to take away from what Lynch or Turbin bring to the table, but it's hard to deny their styles do not fit as perfectly with our running game as what Michael has in explosive play potential, which is why he probably graded so high on our draft board.
- It's kind of ironic to find faults with your running backs when they turn in 6 and 7 YPC averages, however the O-line was just that good, that it puts the spotlight on the ball carriers, the way they play and the decisions they make. After seeing tape of Michael I believe he gets an 8-9 YPC average in this game. I know...it's sacrilegious to pick on Beastmode, but the very thing that makes him Beastmode makes him less effective in this style running attack. Lynch really shines in space where he can juke or hit somebody straught up versus the zone running attack of picking a gap, one cut and go. His YPC increased greatly by the end of the season when we were running more pistol and read-option. The fact that Turbin got more YPC than Lynch in this game to me is reflective of his proficiency in a zone running attack. I would not be surprised to see Michael in some 2TE or I-form sets early in the season, though I do expect the pistol to be our bread and butter with both Lynch and Harvin on the field at the same time.
- Wilson 7 rushes for 14 yards brings down the average to 5.3.
- Robinson was an absolute monster in the run blocking game as a fullback. I counted at least five running plays that turned into big gains because of a key block he made in the gap. I really think that discussions about Robinson being replaced by Ware this year are simply crazy.
- Look at the gap on the right side, Robinson is going through first, only one player is in position to make the stop on Lynch, #58. Robinson absolutely blows him up in the gap and Lynch takes it to the house for six. It's rare that even offensive lineman have such a high percentage of successful blocks that Robinson has.
- This one goes to the left for 15. Notice Robinson again taking on the one defender who can make a play, leaving Lynch a one-on-one past the LOS where he does his thing in open space.
- Giacomini had only one missed block in the running game, two blown pass protections, but a whopping 35 penalty yards (two drive killing personal fouls and one false start). Grade D. I'm sorry if you personally kill two drives in a game this close it's tough to get a higher grade.
- McQuistan was near perfect at right guard. Grade A-. Where did I read that he only plays left guard well?
- Unger was also near-perfect, Grade A. Especially his ability to get to the second level. He looked like he could be on 49ers offensive line!
- Carpenter struggled early in the game with six missed run blocks and a blown pass protection. Grade C. It's great that he's now being described as the strongest guy on the team because you can't tell from looking at this game.
- Okung was absolutely brilliant. Grade A.
Defense - avg yards 4.8
Passing defense 17/31 211 6.4avg
- 195 yards of the 211 are passes over 10 yards
- In complete contrast to the previous week where perhaps the number one QB in the NFL was almost completely shut down in terms of big plays, most of Sam Bradford's passing yards came from pass plays over 10 yards, and several of them on our very own Richard Sherman. In fact there is one play in this game from Sherman that may illustrate his style of cornerback play better than anything.
- Notice Sherman on the bottom right of the picture. Bradford has just started to go through his motion and Sherman is looking at him instead of the receiver potentially releasing behind him. Given that receiver and quarterback were not in sync, there is no way that a cornerback focused on locking down his guy makes this interception. The receiver runs toward the end zone and Sherman waits for the easy pick.
- Sherman is on the top left of this picture playing well behind the first down marker and his guy running a seam route, making it easy for Bradford to complete this pass for a first down on third and long
- Same scenario again this time on the bottom right of the screen. Sherman gets beat again, watching the QB, and gives up a big play which puts them in scoring position to eventually execute the fake field goal touchdown pass.
- Sherman actually gets beat like this four times for 14, 14, 52 and 19 yards. This is almost half of Bradford's passing yards, in this game.
- Sherman only ranked 13th in %1st downs and TD's allowed per snap, Browner actually is at 14th according to PFF, but Sherman rivals Revis' career opposing QBR as one of the top corners in the league. The difference? Interceptions and taking risks. Sherman will probably never be the kind of corner Revis was in 2009, but that's ok because I don't think he even aspires to that goal. Sherman wants you to throw it his way, he wants you to think you can beat him. Why? He wants to get that big play interception more then he wants to create "Sherman island". That's just not his game. This naturally results in him getting burned just a bit more then other top corners, but it's also how he gets 8 interceptions last seasons.
- Mike Morgan gets some game time towards the end and actually looks impressive on a couple plays with his speed and physicality. However he also misses a key coverage assignment which results in a 20 yard completion.
- I like to try to focus on themes that develop throughout the year that explain what's going on now and going into next season. One of them is Clinton McDonald's deficiencies on the defensive line. You have to look closely at this play to see #69 basically getting pushed off balance by a single blocker, and several yards off the LOS in a situation where he should be pushing the pocket. This was not an isolated incident it really showed up in the Packers game as well. Notice Mebane lined up as a three technique pushing the pocket back. There is a reason Jordan Hill was picked in the third round, he must've been graded very high against McDonald based on his ability to push the pocket to get that quick initial burst and get into the backfield on running plays out of a nickel package.
Rushing defense 27/75 2.8 avg
- Mebane is an absolute wrecking crew in the middle! Of his five tackles in this game, at least three of them were for a loss. You can see him in the middle of the LOS getting a quick first step and being blocked from the side. He manages to regain his balance and stop Jackson for a 5 yard loss.
- Another developing theme throughout the year was how Bryant looked completely ineffective at times. He is the second guy from the left in this picture, being driven back and blocked out of the play by a TE. Maybe this was the foot injury, but he showed no ability to anchor throughout several of the games I've reviewed so far.
- This picture also shows Wagner shooting the gap to get the TFL. This was sort of a breakout game for Wagner where he led the team in tackles.
- Another common theme in the last few games was the lack of discipline in setting the edge or maintaining gap responsibilities to prevent huge cutback lanes. in the above picture Jackson makes this cutback for a 23 yard gain, Clemens was going after the quarterback instead of staying home. Wright is unable to get off his block, and the other LB's already committed to the trash in the middle resulting in a big gain.
- Leading tacklers: Wagner (7-0), Mebane (5-0), Thomas (5-0), Wright (5-0)