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This Week in Defense: Seahawks vs. Giants, Week 10

Steve Dykes

Narrative Of The Game:

Reinforcements were on the horizon for Seattle in this game, including the return of one Jeremy Lane. Seahawks fans still seemed more focused on the failings of the offense than the defensive issues facing the team, but going in, people thought a win was pretty assured. Even I had this penciled as a 10+ point victory, despite the fact that the passing offense didn't quite right the ship. Either way, lets let at Seattle's second consecutive win.

The Plays:

[1st Quarter 13:53 3rd and 6 pass incomplete - pressure from Michael Bennett]

This was a clear example of the new pressure approach after Pete said "the answers are coming" after the Rams loss. The Seahawks have Bruce Irvin and Jordan Hill on right side, and Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril on the other. They also bring K.J. Wright and Kevin Pierre-Louis on a blitz up the middle.

The Giants' right guard has to make a decision to try and pinch the gap between himself and the center. Once he tries to stay tight to prevent Pierre-Louis from getting a dead run at Eli Manning, Bennett uses an outside rush and sheds the guard.

This play had me thinking the game was in hand, but that wasn't to be.

[1st Quarter 9:22 3rd and 10 Pass complete to Parker, gain of 26 yards - Jeremy Lane in coverage]

A great throw beats great coverage, and Jeremy Lane was in a tough spot with a ton a field open to the outside here. Eli basically lofts the ball into open space and because Lane has his back turned immediately in a catch-up position, he never is able to locate the ball despite being in a good position to contest it.

It's just a simple fade route, and it's rare to see too, as he has a long history of these kind of deep passes defended. The Giants ran this exact concept six times and produced two long gains and a illegal contact penalty from the look. Seattle cut it off in the second half.

[1st Quarter :37  2nd and 10 Pass complete to Odell Beckham Jr. - gain of 44 yards]

This kid, #13 Odell Beckham, is crazy good. Watch this replay of his moves to eliminate Sherman's press. He's so strong at the top he creates a bit of contact, and Sherman is expecting a quicker pass at this point while he turns to find the ball. Beckham uses this to his advantage and he turns on the burners. By the time Sherman can get going again, Beckham has like five full strides of space on him.

However, the in an out move at the snap and then move at the top is a veteran move, not a rookie one. It's damn impressive and if it's any indication, he's set to be a really good wideout for years to come.

[3rd Quarter 8:23 3rd and 9 Pass incomplete - intended for Randle]

The pocket collapses on Eli here. It's so bad that it almost looks as though it's a combo huddle between Eli and both lines of scrimmage. He tries to scramble for open space to throw but there's no one to get the ball to. In his exposed position Manning elects to throw the ball at a diving Joseph Randle who can't make the spectacular diving catch.

[3rd Quarter 11:21  3rd and 4 Pass complete to Parker for 23 yards - Burley in coverage]

Seattle looks for a quick screen at first with some subtle adjustments, and Sherman directs traffic as Eli uses motion to declare the coverage. At the snap, K.J. is carried outside, and Parker jumps inside.

Burley winds up in no position to make a play, but Earl makes a move as soon as the ball is thrown. He eats up 10 yards in a blink and smacks Parker hard. Proving that he's Peter Parker and not Preston Parker.

[3rd Quarter 1st and 10 1:04 Pass Intended for Odell Beckham Jr. - Intercepted by Earl Thomas]

A solid drive for the Giants with some delay draw runs and multiple 3rd and 4's or less, has left Seattle on it's heels. After the big play by Parker, the Giants stayed patient -- until this throw by Eli.

Sherman's there, they're running cover-3, and Seattle wins the matchup as Sherman causes the tip interception. Once you see Sherman's back deep over the top, you just can't throw this ball. No one accuses Eli Manning of being too smart.

[4th Quarter 12:42 1st and 10 -2 yard run by Williams -- tackled by Bruce Irvin.]

The only way to stop a big play offense is to get it off schedule on 1st down. Bruce does just that on this toss sweep run. Awareness is key here. Irvin is unblocked, but settles in just a bit before he decides to attack. This is actually a good thing he showed -- just that slight hesitation to hold his ground -- as it allows him to attack nice and clean at the knees of Williams here. The burst he shows once he sees the play is my favorite part.

[4th Quarter 12:04 3rd and 12 Eli Manning sacked by Michael Bennett for a loss of 6 yards]

Seattle rushed only two on this play: Avril and Irvin. Avril gets good pressure from Manning's right side. This forces him up into a rush from a spying Michael Bennett. It's an interesting choice here if you watch the play.

Seattle had been living to blitz these type of plays the last two weeks against Cam Newton and Derek Carr but elected in 3rd and 10 plus against Manning to play zone and none of his guys could find the holes to give him anywhere to go. Also despite the pressure packages this was Seattle's only sack of the game.

[4th Quarter 6:36 pass complete to Williams - tackled by Kevin Pierre-Louis for no gain.]

Love this Pierre-Louis kid, and the play is incredible when you look at the fact that he's full speed and has to leap over a man to make the stop. It's a screen all the way, and the Giants have everything they want, they just need to get good ol' Kevin blocked here. The guard can't do it, so he tries to throw his body in the way and the little jump does nothing to slow him down. It's more impressive in slow motion too.

Overview Of The Game

Well, things looked bad early. Seattle looked overmatched in man coverage looks. The Giants schemed space for their primary routes and Richard Sherman got beat on a nice double move. It was tough to watch as Tharold Simon played poorly enough to require the use of a one-legged Byron Maxwell.

However, as you saw in the second half, Seattle used well-executed zone coverage to cutoff the easy throwing lanes for Eli Manning, and with no real experience in their receiver corps, the Seahawks blitzed to force the ball out and were able to play rally defense for all of the second half.

Game Ball:

Michael Bennett gets the nod here. He continues to shoulder the load on the defensive line, and once Brandon Mebane went down, he made a number of key plays stopping the run. Seattle will need his herculean efforts going forward with Mebane on IR, writing a sad conclusion to his '14 campaign that looked to be heating up.

Needs work:

Defensive health. We need more reinforcements.


**As always thanks to Jennifer Chen for her work on these GIFS, WORSHIP HER, NOW!