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Seahawks Replay Booth: Just how you 'draw' it up

See what I did there? This is about a draw play.

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Grant Halverson

The Seahawks incorporate play-action into their passing offense more than any other NFL team. According to Pro Football Focus' tracking, Russell Wilson executes a play-action fake on 34.4 percent of his throws - three percent higher than Nick Foles and Brian Hoyer, and compare to Andrew Luck (18%), Drew Brees (17.9%), or Philip Rivers (9.8%).

Play-action is a huge part of the Seahawks' system and it's something I've written about a bunch of times over the past few years (here, here). In Pete Carroll's mind, play-action fits the pass game together with the run game and the bootleg game, and the three are used in concert.

That said, this isn't an article about play action. This is an article about the draw play. Which, in my mind, is kind of the opposite of play action, if there is such a thing -- "pass action".

2-10-SEA 45 (3:21 3rd Quarter) M.Lynch up the middle to CAR 30 for 25 yards (L.Kuechly; R.Harper).

This was Marshawn Lynch's longest run against Carolina and it came on the play directly following Russell's deep drop, play-action bomb downfield to Paul Richardson (that was deflected and incomplete). Whether one play has any influence on the next probably largely depends on the individual defenders, but when Russell Wilson drops back, and more importantly, when Seattle's offensive line gets up and into their pass protection sets, just look at what the defense does as they "read" the play:

The linebackers back-pedal. The safety back-pedals. The corners bail.

So, here you see the reverse effect of play action -- instead of luring defenders up toward the line of scrimmage by faking a handoff, Seattle is hoping to trick them into backing away from the ball by faking a pass. It works.

James Carpenter, uncovered in this defensive alignment, gets the assignment to release downfield and pick up a linebacker, and Luke Willson acts as the de facto fullback, picking up the other. Look at what safety #42 does!! For some reason he still reads a pass. This allows Lynch to run past him.

Lynch goes on meandering bowleggedly through the crowd and does the Lynch thing of picking up bonus yards at the end just by being a tough son of a bitch to bring down. He picks up a solid ten extra yards just by high-step galloping, then dragging the pile once he's wrapped up.


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