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Formation Nation: Seattle Seahawks Week 15 Notes on Personnel Packages & Player Snaps

Hello? Is it me you're lookin for?? I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile...
Hello? Is it me you're lookin for?? I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile...

Once again, we're back at it with some analysis of what types of personnel groupings and formations the Seahawks used in their 38-14 win on Sunday against the Bears. Big thanks to Chad Davis of for compiling these numbers, they're extremely helpful and illuminating for what the Seahawks are doing on both sides of the football. Let's get right into it.

The Seahawks ran 65 offensive plays, three less than last week's 68 against the Rams, but a big jump from the 52 they ran against Philly. The offensive play-calling ratio was 33:31 in favor of the run, another pound it out on the ground day despite their 1.8 yards per carry. Seattle won the time of possession battle 31:27 - 28:23 and had 286 yards of total offense to Chicago's 221.

The Hawks did all this in a little bit different fashion than the last few weeks, relying much less on the "22" set and more so on the traditional "11" and "12" sets you're probably more used to seeing. Seattle went heavy with their two running back, two tight end set ("22") only nine times this week, as compared to 20 times last week against St. Louis and 25 times two weeks ago against Philadelphia.

In total, the Hawks used two tight ends in only 23 plays (37%), down from 70% against the Eagles and nearly 50% against the Rams. It just goes to show they're flexible in their approach to running the football and it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to see Stanford's offense on the field week in and week out. The variability in the use of different formations also makes it tougher for opposing defenses to gameplan, so that's a positive.

The Hawks continued to heavily feature Michael Robinson, as they ran plays out of their "21" set, two running back, one tight end, 13 times this week, up from six last week and five the week before.

Seattle spread things out with an empty backfield ("01") twice and went four-wide at receiver with a running back in the backfield ("10") once. The passed on all three of these looks. On the other end of the spectrum, they ran one play with two running backs and three tight ends from the 2-yard line and that resulted in a Michael Robinson touchdown pass.

Offensive Personnel Information

2 out of "01" (0, RB, 1 TE)...2 passes
1 out of "10" (1 RB, 0 TE)...1 pass
26 out of "11" (1 RB, 1 TE)...10 runs, 16 passes...both Lynch TDs
13 out of "12" (1 RB, 2 TE)...7 runs, 6 passes
13 out of "21" (2 RB, 1 TE)...9 runs, 4 passes
9 out of "22" (2 RB, 2 TE)...6 runs, 3 pass
1 out of "23" (2 RB, 3 TE)...1 pass...Robinson TD
A tight end was used in 64 of 65 plays

Notable Snap Counts...

Golden Tate continues to be the go-to receiver in this offense now that Sidney Rice is on the Injured Reserve. He saw 52 snaps on Sunday (80%), and made the most of it by catching four passes on a team high seven targets, for 61 yards, a career high. This number is actually down one snap from last week but the main takeaway here is that Tate has earned so much playing time with his consistency and big-play potential. It's a huge development considering early in the year he was probably seeing the field once or twice a game.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Williams continued to yield snaps to Ben Obomanu and Doug Baldwin. Mike played in 16 of 37 offensive snaps before getting injured, most of those coming in the first quarter. The obvious question with BMW now becomes whether or not he'll be back next season. After catching only 18 passes this season and battling injuries along the way, one has to wonder what his future role on the team will be. I'm definitely not advocating that the Seahawks part ways with him - he's one of my favorite players and I think still has potential to be dangerous on the field - but we've seen this team be pretty cold-blooded with some fan-favorites in the past in favor of youth, so who knows.

Doug Baldwin logged 29 snaps, only drawing two targets and catching one for 13 yards. You have to believe he's stewing about this and I could see him having a big game next week against San Francisco. Ben Obomanu quietly got more snaps than Baldwin in this one, checking in for 40, and caught that one arching 43-yard pass down the sideline. Deon Butler got some late-game action, logging 14 snaps in the 2nd half. He was targeted twice, catching both for 19 yards.

As stated above, a tight end was used in 64 out of the Seahawks 65 offensive plays, and as could be expected, Zach Miller was the workhorse. The TE2/TE3 conversation could be brought up again this week, I suppose, as Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah essentially shared snaps, with McCoy seeing 15 snaps and Morrah 17. This is a change from the last few weeks when Morrah was getting the vast majority of TE2 snaps. Competition competition competition I guess.

As for running backs, Justin Forsett saw an increased workload, checking in for 19 plays, which was an improvement from 16 last week and 8 the week before. I imagine this is a combination of giving Lynch a rest late in the year and hoping to see more of what they have in Forsett. As you probably know, J-Force is not under contract next year so it will be very interesting to see what they do with him over the offseason.

Leon Washington continued to see very little action on offense, logging only five snaps, four in the fourth quarter.

Golden Tate played in 52 of 65 plays (15 in 1st quarter, 14 in 2nd, 12 in 3rd, 11 in 4th)
Mike Williams played in 16 of 65 plays (11, 2, 3, 0...16 of 37 pre-injury)
Doug Baldwin played in 29 of 65 plays (4, 10, 7, 8)
Ben Obomanu played in 40 of 65 plays (2, 10, 11, 17)
Deon Butler played in 14 of 65 plays (0, 0, 7, 7)
Zach Miller played in 56 of 65 plays (15, 13, 14, 14)
Anthony McCoy played in 15 of 65 plays (3, 0, 4, 8)
Cameron Morrah played in 17 of 65 plays (4, 4, 5, 4)
Marshawn Lynch played in 40 of 65 plays (13, 5, 13, 9)
Justin Forsett played in 19 of 65 plays (2, 9, 2, 6...7 on 3rd down)
Leon Washington played in 5 of 65 plays (1, 0, 0, 4)
Michael Robinson played in 22 of 65 plays (5, 3, 7, 7)

On defense, the Seahawks had 59 snaps, not counting kneel downs. In 35 of those snaps, the were in their base 4-3 personnel grouping, and broke into their nickel look on 22 plays. They went to the dime package twice. As just a little aside, it's kind of funny how little the Seahawks have used their 3-1-7 Bandit package this season after all the fanfare it received last year; for that matter, a lot of the stuff they did last year has been phased out so it will definitely be interesting to see how much it changes next season as the Seahawks continue to add key personnel to the team.

Against an injury riddled Bears' offense, Seattle gave up 221 total yards, 168 of which came in the first half. They forced five turnovers and gave up 3.7 yards per offensive play to Chicago. Taking sacks into account, the Bears gained 89 yards through the air on the day, with Hanie at a 3.1 yards per attempt clip. Caveat caveat caveat disclaimer caveat, the Seahawks' defense dominated, particularly in the 2nd half.

To illustrate this point, Bears' QB Caleb Hanie went 3 for 8 for 19 yards and two interceptions in the 2nd half. Yowza.

Defensive personnel information

Seattle saw 59 plays on defense
They were in base 4-3 personnel on 35 plays
They were in nickel personnel on 22 plays
They were in dime personnel on 2 plays

Defensive snap counts follow below. Not a ton of notables - Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas continued to be workhorses at safety, with both playing in every snap. David Hawthorne and Richard Sherman also played in every snap, with Brandon Browner sitting the final two snaps in favor of youngster Byron Maxwell.

Roy Lewis and Anthony Hargrove saw most of their snaps in the nickel. Raheem Brock split reps in base and nickel, logging 29 snaps, up from his 19 snaps last week. The Seahawks continue to use Red Bryant in a smart manner, spelling him by using formations featuring Raheem Brock, Clinton McDonald, or Anthony Hargrove. No need to overuse him at this point in the season, especially with a big lead.

One interesting note that Chad pointed out was that when Leroy Hill came out towards the end with a minor injury, K.J. Wright slid over to the middle, with David Hawthorne moving outside and Mike Morgan getting some real-live game action on the outside as well. Good for him.

Individual defensive snap information...

Chris Clemons played in 52 of 59 plays (29 base, 21 nickel, 2 dime)
Brandon Mebane played in 40 of 59 plays (33 base, 7 nickel)
Alan Branch played in 40 of 59 plays (23 base, 17 nickel)
Red Bryant played in 31 of 59 plays (26 base, 5 nickel)
David Hawthorne played in ALL 59 plays
Leroy Hill played in 53 of 59 plays (31 base, 20 nickel, 2 dime)
K.J. Wright played in 37 of 59 plays (35 base, 2 nickel)
Kam Chancellor played in ALL 59 plays
Earl Thomas played in ALL 59 plays
Brandon Browner played in 57 of 59 plays (33 base, 22 nickel, 2 dime)
Richard Sherman played in ALL 59 plays
Raheem Brock played in 29 of 59 plays (10 base, 17 nickel, 2 dime)
Clinton McDonald played in 22 of 59 plays (14 base, 7 nickel, 1 dime)
Anthony Hargrove played in 20 of 59 plays (5 base, 14 nickel, 1 dime)
Mike Morgan played in 4 of 59 plays (4 base)
Roy Lewis played in 24 of 59 plays (22 nickel, 2 dime)
Atari Bigby played in 2 of 59 plays (2 dime)
Byron Maxwell played in 2 of 59 plays (2 base)

Props again to Chad Davis for compiling these numbers - I did it last week and it's no easy task so it's very much appreciated. Follow him on Twitter and make sure you check out DraftBreakdown for college football player scouting. Word.

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