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The Film Room: The matchup between Richard Sherman and Julio Jones that had everything

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Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Edit: If the video does not display, you have to click the “Watch on YouTube” button or follow this link here.

Controversy, a dominant first half by the home defense, and busted coverages in the third quarter, defined the Week 6 matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. All three of those things involved two of the NFL’s most elite players: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

In the end, Jones was targeted nine times, hauling in seven of those for 139 yards and a touchdown. While in coverage, Sherman was actually only responsible for six of those targets as evidenced by my tracking of Jones in the following table:

Julio Jones vs Richard Sherman Targets @SamuelRGold
Julio Jones vs Richard Sherman Targets @SamuelRGold

Why was this the case?

Similar to my breakdown of him vs Brandon Marshall (here), the Seahawks typically had Sherman follow Jones to his side of the field. Like before, Sherman only played as the slot cornerback if he was in man-to-man coverage. What this means is if the Seattle defense plays zone, Sherman stays as the outside cornerback.

In addition to this video breakdown of the match-up, I also showed a few more plays including the busted coverage touchdown to Levine Toilolo, and other non-targets that were covered well by Sherman.

This was a rare game for the Seahawks as the chemistry between the defense was tested throughout the game. As discussed in my Cliff Avril analysis on Monday (here), Seattle has a division game next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Let’s hope they can sort out their coverage issues during this week’s preparation or else they’ll be in trouble facing Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.