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Seattle Seahawks 2011 Re-View: Week 2 at Pittsburgh, Part 1

WTIII makes a solid, 1st half tackle on Hines Ward.
WTIII makes a solid, 1st half tackle on Hines Ward.

The 0-1 Seahawks were trying to rebound from a hard fought loss when they travelled to Pittsburgh in Week 2, facing a Steelers club trying to rebound from a 35-7 loss at the Ravens Week 1. Questions about whether Pittsburgh's championship window had closed were already skirting across the rumor mill, and in theory the matchup against a young Seahawks team was what they needed to get on track. Oh, did I mention the Steelers had won their last 8 home openers? Yeah....

Well, unfortunately, in theory proved very true here. As you may remember, Seattle lost the game 24-0. You also may remember it to be an ugly game. You may be asking yourself -, 'we're really about to dive back into this one?'

Well, yeah. There is a lot of yuck here, but I personally think it was still a pretty interesting game. It feels pretty sectioned off, in a way that I feel the game gives us a lot of pertinent information. In hindsight, this game provided some value for the team going forward, as they were able to learn from this one. It was arduous to re-watch, but It was something that had to be done. And it was worth it. No pain, no gain!

(Just so you know; each game will now be split into quarters so that you won't have to wade through too many words per article, as was the case with Week 1. This also means more articles!)

Back to Week 2.

Pittsburgh takes the opening kick to their 18. The topsy-turvy opening drive proved to be accurately frustrating for what was to come throughout this one. The second play of the game, on 2nd and 6:

Seattle in 4-3 versus '21.' Here comes ET on a strongside blitz, but because the Steelers have blocking ready to that side, Ben doesn't feel the need to check out. Heath Miller is the arrow man...


ET gets stoned at the line and a hole is opened. But, no problems here because "Heater" is back and he'll make the tackle, right?


Welcome back Heater, I guess.

The next play:

Seattle is in Nickel and the Steelers are in '11.' Browner is 1 on 1 with Emmanuel Sanders up top, and Matt McCoy is responsible for the back.


The design creates a pick! McCoy has cut off Browner. Oh boy...


Sanders is holding the turbo button. Soon he'll press L1...


L1, again....


And again. Kam Chancellor will eventually make the tackle on the sideline at the 44.

Right away the Seahawks didn't help their cause, contributing to the Steelers' confidence about if they could move the football. A 39 yard pass interference penalty on Brandon Browner - there was PI two or three times during the play - set up 1st and goal on the 1.

Last week we saw the Seahawks protect the redzone and hold the 49ers to mostly field goals. Stick around for more Seahawks' stoutness after the jump.

McDonald and McCoy make a difference on 1st down, another plus play for them by the goal line. Atari Bigby does this on 2nd down.

The tight end will motion across the formation and Earl Thomas will follow, setting up Bigby to go 1 on 1 with the tackle...


The right tackle (rookie Marcus Gilbert, I believe making his first start in this one) peels back and misses...



This sets up the Seahawks' hallmark play from this game; the Steelers get back to the goal line for 4th down. In the week heading in to this game there was a lot of talk about the some of the similarities between Polamalu and Thomas; one was their commonality in knifing to the football. Here's an all-pro caliber play by ET.

The same motion we saw two plays ago...


Also, check out the heavyweights clogging the middle...


Bam! Now, just enjoy...


WOOOOOOOOO! 8 plays, 4:54, turnover on downs.

Like last week, we have another odd happening deep in Seattle territory because of play scripting. Seattle goes play action from their own endzone...

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Lynch catches the ball IN THE ENDZONE! But he gets out for a gain of Zero

Given the possibility for a sack and/or turnover before the ball is thrown, not to mention the fact that Polamalu was covering Lynch pretty tight, this seems like an odddddd call. But, it goes to show how important routine is and how the coaching staff is willing to stick to its guns with the opening script.

Two runs, including one behind an unbalanced line right, and Seattle goes three and out. Steelers get the ball at their own 40 with 8:19 to go and make it look easy. After a drop on first down, Hines Ward picked up an ET Blitz on 2nd and 10 to set up their only one third down of the drive (3rd and 2). The Seahawks 2nd string d-line was in often on this series; the Steelers capitalized on the drive partly due to sound blocking and because of missed tackles. At this point, it's worth noting the Seahawks are bringing Chancellor or Thomas as the 8th man in the box on varied downs and distances. Also, Thomas is taking some very aggressive angles and trying to undercut some short/medium passes. Unfortunately, he is yet to make a play.

The Steelers completed an end around pass on 1st and 10 to get inside the red zone. Three plays later Mendenhall spins off a Chancellor tackle - Kam made a nice play to knife into the backfield, but it wasn't enough to stop the touchdown. Nine plays in 4:51 for the score. 7-0 Steelers.

Lemuel Jeanpierre and Paul McQuistan make good blocks as a duo on the return, out past the 20. Here we see Leon Washington involved as a receiver.

'Hawks in '10' versus a two down-lineman, chaotic Steelers' set. Note the off coverage on Leon up top, and the arrow denoting that James Harrison will drop into coverage and take away the quick throw to the left slot receiver.

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Quick 5 step drop coupled with Leon quickly getting upfield and putting his foot in the ground...then watch the tough run after the catch.


At the time, I was ecstatic about this play/design and hoped it was a sign of Leon becoming involved in the passing game, something I had personally hoped for heading into 2011. Anyway, chains moving. Then Robert Gallery gets called for holding (he tackled his man as a last resort) to make it 1st and 20.

I did a little digging around the site last week and stumbled upon this piece by Joshua Kasparek, written after Week 2. He talks about the discontinuity between the receivers and Jackson being a reason that Jackson shouldn't fully shoulder the load for the poor offensive performance through two weeks; the receivers should share the responsibility. In seeing the following play I think we see some of what he was talking about.

Seahawks are in '21,' Steelers in a 3-4. Ben Obomanu is circled.


In the middle of a quick 5 step drop, Jackson is looking right. The corner appears to be sitting inside and waiting for the throw.


Pump fake, as Jackson doesn't make the throw. Should he have? Notice Mike Williams, circled. He doesn't appear full go...


and Jackson notices too. Up top, Polamalu has taken his attention off Obomanu and onto Eddie Williams (arrow) because Obomanu is busy stutter-step-standing around the 30 yard line. Eddie Williams wants the ball even though he's effectively facing triple coverage, while the receivers dilly-dally on the outside versus their men...



...And the ball eventually gets thrown away. My perspective; up top, it looks like the coverage played inside and off. Obomanu and Jackson simply miscommunicated and didn't see the play the same way. Jackson may have read the coverage such that Obomanu could have maybe ran an out, or he should have released downfield after the hitch and made Polamalu make a decision. On the bottom we saw Mike Williams do little to help the quarterback out. Eddie Williams clearly doesn't want to get cut. Who knows what was actually supposed to happen on this one.


Seattle then has 2nd and 20 and 3rd and 15; Jackson makes a 7 step drop and the Steelers play coverage on both plays. No Blitzburgh yet in this one. Weird; they decided making Jackson try and pick them apart could work. Seahawks Punt, and the missed tackle problems from Week 1 and earlier in the game compound here:

Sherman is the first man in pursuit...


He trips and falls.


Chancellor has his eye on Brown, but a blocker has his eye on Chancellor. Brown has gotten Chancellor a little off balance here...


and the Steeler (I think Issac Redman) comes in and gets great position. Now, watch Matt McCoy and K.J. Wright.


Some Steeler came out of nowhere to get a block on Wright. McCoy is adding to his airtime for the day, and not the same quality of air time as last week.

It's like watching a f***** bowling alley...Justin Forsett...


Clint Gresham...

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about 15 yards downfield...


K.J. Wright finally makes the play. I'm done showing missed tackles. I promise.

On 1st down Red Bryant pushes the tackle about 3 yards into the backfield, but the Steelers run the opposite way. The end of quarter sets up 2nd and 5, and perhaps the biggest "ohhhh, man," (or insert your phrase of choice here) of the game.

Uh, oh. End of quarter. Come back tomorrow morning for the finish of the first half.