Seahawks Replay Booth: Fake screen acts as de facto play-action

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks ran fairly vanilla offensive schemes on Saturday night on their way to a 40-10 win over the Broncos - no Pistol, no read-option, no half-back passes - but there were a few interesting plays/sets worth breaking down. One such snap that caught my eye last night came on 2nd and 11 with 10:41 to go in the first quarter - during the Seahawks' first drive.

Seattle lined up in '11' personnel - one tight end and one running back - with Doug Baldwin slot left, Stephen Williams on the wing left, Golden Tate out right, with Sean McGrath in-line right. With a 2nd and long situation, the Seahawks run a fake screen pass play that I haven't really seen them use before, and it worked like a charm.

See below -


At the snap, the Seahawks pass protect as normal but then release quickly to the right - in-step with Robert Turbin - in the same way you'd see a line move downfield on a screen pass to protect for their running back. This is exactly what Denver's linebackers see as well - they were likely on the looking for a screen in the down-distance as well - and they bite on it, hard.

Wilson hits McGrath on his spot route - you'll notice McGrath looks back, and while he doesn't stop moving, he does settle into the zone just vacated by the linebackers. Wilson hits him on his back shoulder and McGrath smoothly reels it in and moves downfield, breaking a tackle in the process.

Here's the play from another angle or two:


Overall - a crafty play design not unlike play-action, and the Seahawks' sell it really well. The key to this play is protecting Wilson long enough for him to key in on the linebackers - if you missed the cHawkboard series on quarterback keys I'd watch that and have this play in mind. Once he sees the linebackers bite on the fake-screen, Wilson hits McGrath quickly - which goes for a nice 23 yards.

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