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Seahawks Replay Booth: Marshawn Lynch's Touchdown Run

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

You may remember an article I published a couple of days ago that broke down a Golden Tate catch on a (in my mind) crucial down in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Dallas. That play gave the Seahawks a first down on the three-yard line with a 20-7 lead and on the very next play, Marshawn Lynch punched it in for six to put the final nail in the coffin for the win.

At that point -- with that lead -- the touchdown was almost a foregone conclusion, it seemed, but I do think it was an interesting play to break down from a schematic standpoint. From afar, these smash plays seem fairly basic - power on power - but the reality is, this play took superb technical and fundamental execution from two players in particular. First and foremost, obviously, Marshawn Lynch was integral, and something that's flown under the radar (probably because it's a regular occurrence at this point) in the analysis of this game was the explosive cut he made behind the line to make Sean Lee miss after Lee had busted through the line. Directly in front of Lynch, at that point, was a pulling guard in John Moffitt, who sealed off S Danny McCray and allowed the Seahawks' running back to sprint into the endzone untouched. Let's take a looksee, shall we?

Seahawks line up in '11' personnel - more of a passing set than a goal-line grouping. Anthony McCoy starts out on the right side of the line and will motion left. I've drawn out the assignments for each lineman and they're all very simple. It's a zone concept, with each lineman, save for John Moffitt, downblocking to the right with Anthony McCoy replacing Omiyale as the de facto tackle to the playside.

The key thing to note though, is Moffitt. He'll pull left on a guard lead run. See photos below:


Below - you'll see the set right before the snap -- Sidney Rice on the perimeter, Doug Baldwin in the slot, and Golden Tate with a tight split right -- Tate's split may have led the Cowboys to think a run to the right is on the menu. With all but Moffitt pulling that direction on the snap, a split second of hesitation is often all you need.

The other important thing to note below is that the Cowboys have loaded eight into the box with no real help over the top, and Danny McCray is in man on McCoy as he follows the tight end across the formation.


Ball is snapped. You can see Dallas hold the line fairly well, and Moffitt pulls over the top to the left.


Below, you'll see Omiyale falling down -- originally I thought he was cut blocking on the second level but after watching it a few times it looks more like he just got his momentum going forward too much and fell down. Someone could have stepped on his foot or something -- not sure.Regardless, his absence from the line, as Anthony McCoy blocks Jason Hatcher on the outside, allows Sean Lee to knife through the line with the potential to blow up the play for a loss.


Below, you can see Lee with a straight shot to Lynch. Beastmode does the explosive lateral quickness thing on this play - as he so often does behind the line - and puts his foot in the ground and escapes the tackle. Yes, I circled his foot so you can see it.


Not the greatest angle, I know, but it looks like Lee has Marshawn dead to rights.


Lynch is too quick laterally and gets to the edge, making Sean Lee dive and miss. People talk about 'beastmode' and with good right, but one of the overlooked aspects of Lynch's game is his lateral agility and ability to make people miss when the play should be dead. Not many backs are going to consistently make plays like this.

Note Moffitt now across the line and lead blocking on the play.


Moffitt seals off McCray -- Dallas' last line of defense -- and Lynch is home free.


My buddy - a former offensive lineman for the then-DIII National Champion PLU football team - texted me right after this play in excitement, noting that Moffitt's great block was what's known as a 'log.'

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Had Moffitt not been able to get the corner on McCray, he'd have wanted to drive the defender to the sideline to create a cutback lane; this is known as a 'kickout' block. These are basic tenets of the zone blocking scheme, where linemen often move laterally at the snap, as opposed to vertically downfield, and the idea is to get the defense flowing from side to side instead of upfield and into your backfield. Logs and kickouts create cutback lanes for the zone runner.

Anyway -- just thought it was an interesting play -- sometimes these 'punch it in from the goalline' types of things get overlooked.