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Seahawks Passing Offense, First Quarter

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This will be a very slow week for posting. I am visiting my wife's family in Ellensburgh, and will be gone much of the week. So this is a modest series looking only at the Seahawks passing game, and how and why it worked. It's sort of a followup to the series I did after the loss to Oakland. Did Seattle adjust? Was it just a matter of better execution? Does Jabari Greer know the deep pass is coming? Hopefully I can answer some of that.

Seattle started the game with three pass attempts that totaled one yard. A breakdown of that will be posted tomorrow.

3-6-SEA 22 (10:40) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short left to 11-D.Butler to SEA 30 for 8 yards (22-T.Porter).

Defenders within five: 7

Defenders within 10: 10

Seahawks formation: WR (left), 2 WR (right), TE (left), RB (left), shotgun

Saints: 1-5

One down linemen; five players standing and showing pressure. Saints rush seven. Seahawks block with seven. Saints do not generate pressure.

It's single coverage on each wide receiver and each wide receiver runs a curl route just past the first down marker. Tracy Porter bites deep against Deon Butler and Hasselbeck finds Butler for an easy first. This is badly blown coverage. It's also man coverage with each wide receiver isolated, and so when Porter bites deep, Butler is wide open.

2-18-SEA 22 (9:18) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass deep right to 17-M.Williams to NO 10 for 68 yards (33-J.Greer).

Defenders within five: 7

Defenders within 10: 9

Seahawks: WR (left (Carlson)), 2 WR (right), TE (left), RB (left), shotgun

Saints: 5-2

Saints again rush seven. Seahawks block with seven. Some minor pressure is created, but Hasselbeck has space to step into.

It's again single coverage across the board. The free safety moves up following the snap and is playing about 15 yards deep and center. Mike Williams runs a double move, Hasselbeck pump fakes, Greer bites, and Williams flashes past him wide open. Hasselbeck steps up to the 15 and throws to the 48 and Williams runs into and through the catch and continues for another 42 yards.

So, blitz creates single coverage. The corner guesses wrong. Hasselbeck has space to step into. The target is not particularly deep. Seems like a winning formula.

2-8-NO 8 (7:49) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short left to 89-J.Carlson to NO 2 for 6 yards (58-S.Shanle).

Seahawks: 2 WR (left), TE (right), WR (right), Rb (Lynch motions to right wide receiver prior to the snap. Empty backfield)

Saints: 4-3

Saints rush four. Seahawks block with five. Hasselbeck reads John Carlson curling in and in front of Scott Shanle and zips it in. There's a good bit of space between defender and receiver. Carlson catches and turns up field but is stopped short of the goal.

Five potential targets create a favorable read.

3-2-NO 2 (7:30) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete short left to 11-D.Butler (28-U.Young).

Seahawks: TE (left), 2 WR (right), I (Ben Obomanu motions in and close to Deon Butler prior to the snap)

Saints: 4-3

Maybe Jeremy Bates guess wrong. Seattle blocks with eight but the Saints only rush four. Hasselbeck rolls right, but his only targets, Obomanu and Butler, are swarmed by defenders. He throws it high and towards Butler but it falls incomplete.

(Field goal)

1-10-SEA 30 (1:24) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass deep right to 87-B.Obomanu to NO 28 for 42 yards (33-J.Greer). pass 40, YAC 2

Greer doesn't know the pass is coming. I don't know why, but he doesn't.

Defenders within five: 8

Defenders withing 10: 9

Seahawks: WR (left), 2 WR (right), TE (right), Rb (Carlson motions from right wide out to right fullback prior to the snap)

Saints: 4-3

Saints rush four. Seahawks block with seven. In theory, that's not good. It doesn't matter on this play.

Greer is playing opposite Obomanu but ten yards deep. Closer to Obo is Roman Harper, but Harper sticks shallow and picks up Carlson running a speed out. Obomanu runs straight up the field. Greer matches stride about ten deep, but, well, he's confused. He is caught looking across the field -- perhaps towards Williams who is running up the left sideline -- when the pass arrives. Obomanu is able to stop, leap and catch it uncontested before Greer recognizes and tackles.

Starting free safety Malcolm Jenkins was out and his absence might have caused coverage confusion. There's busted coverage. There's good and bad coverage. It's rare I see a defensive back in position to cover that just doesn't.

2-7-NO 25 (:06) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete short right to 24-M.Lynch.

Defenders withing five: 6

Defenders within 10: 10

Seahawks: WR (left), 2 WR (right), RB, TE (right (motions left))

Saints: 4-3

Saints rush four. Seahawks stick with their base five blockers. There's no defender within ten yards of Marshawn Lynch. Matt turns and targets. The pass arrives high and little out in front of Lynch and he leaps to catch it but it bounces off his fingertips incomplete.

At least five yards are sacrificed with the inaccurate pass/drop.

3-7-NO 25 (:02) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete deep left to 17-M.Williams.

Defenders within five: 7

Defenders within 10: 10

Seahawks: WR (left), Trips (right), RB

Saints: 3-4

New Orleans is in a funky looking 3-4 lineup with three down linemen, two Saints showing pressure off right end, and one Saint in a two point, almost in contact with the right defensive end, showing pressure off left end. Saints rush five with a sixth defender committing himself to Justin Forsett and potentially stopping the screen pass.

Seahawks block with five. Shanle rushes around right end and Carlson fails to chip him. Shanle comes around the corner untouched. Hasselbeck receives the shotgun snap and then takes an additional three yard dropback. That puts him nine yards behind the original line of scrimmage. He's a sitting duck for an edge rusher. Pressure arrives and Hasselbeck fires flat footed. The pass is wide and uncatchable out of bounds through the end zone. Williams stabs an arm at it before taking a hit.