clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

We Were Wrong: Red and black birds ahead and behind

New, comments

We were mistaken about the storm, the football, and probably other things

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks
one play among many that happened
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

For everyone who thought stormy weather would interfere with the Falcons’ passing attack, yehh, you were close, but, as usual, you were wrong.

“With the weather as crappy as it's looking, I'm not worried about the checkdowns. It’s going to be hard to throw down the field.”

by mrwalterisgod on Oct 14, 2016 | 12:42 p.m.

I could fish quite a few more out for you, but you get the point. Enough small talk about the weather. You can get that scintillating level of discourse at your next office party. There are misjudgments to enjoy!

1) Alex Collins is a non-factor

Almost everyone thought he’d see barely any action at all. Couple snaps, maybe. Might spell Michael for a series, or less? And we were... right. Collins played two snaps. That is usually the definition of “barely any action at all.” In the end, though, we were... wrong. So wrong.

Because look at the two plays — the only two plays! — in which Collins participated: a teeder, and then a crucial third-down scramble drill conversion that led to the winning field goal.

Collins’ instagram page has some excellent still shots of the touchdown:

Thankful ! Great team win today ! #1stTD #gohawks

A photo posted by Alex Collins (@budda03) on

Notice he gets contacted at the four, but breaks the tackle. That seems important.

The full play:

Meanwhile, the rest of the internet has some excellent footage of his other play, during the fourth-quarter drive that put the game’s final points on the scoreboard. The winning points.

saw that coming

It’s entirely possible that the Seahawks do not defeat the Falcons a few days ago if Alex Collins isn’t on the roster.

2) Julio Jones is a dangerous, dangerous bad man. Richard Sherman will follow him around.

Sherm had done something similar with Dez Bryant two years ago, Brandon Marshall two weeks ago, and probably in between those times too. Reasonable to expect him to shadow Juli300 as well.

Everyone was wrong because who foresaw both? Sherman flipped sides some in the first half, but not consistently in the Third Quarter Of Doom, when Jones caught five passes for 115 yards and his practically uncontested score.

For all of Jones’ achievements, 5-115-1 in a single quarter, on the road, against the best pass defense of the decade, has to rank way up there.

Hard to fault Sherman for all touchdowns when Sheil Kapadia furnishes a pretty picture like this...

You’ll remember the play depicted above as one of Jones’ touchdowns, or you won’t remember it because repressing trauma is a healthy defense mechanism*. Looks like Sherman intends to pass Jones off to the safety. More of a pass-off to the end zone, though.

(*a way better defense mechanism than the Hawks employed in the third quarter, if we’re being perfectly honest)

Interesting tidbit: Jones finished 7-139-1 and his seven catches came on nine targets. The only two he didn’t catch were the one helpfully retrieved by Earl Thomas, and the other by the turf on some forgotten play near the final whistle.

3) Nickel is the new base. Good thing, because Atlanta’s top-rated offense is sure to test all of Seattle’s legiony, boomy corners

Previous to Sunday’s game, the Hawks had all but abandoned the usual trappings of a 4-3 base defense, in favor of nickel personnel.

Defensive snaps, Weeks 1-4
  • CB Jeremy Lane: 179
  • LB Mike Morgan: 64
  • LB Kevin Pierre-Louis: 3
  • Other LB: 0

What we’d seen so far in 2016 was a commitment to playing three corners at once. Maybe defensive ends Frank Clark (141 snaps) and Cassius Marsh (91 snaps) were functional linebackers from time to time on the field, but that’s a theory for someone above my pay grade to investigate.

In any case, what we’d seen up until Sunday was an almost 3-1 ratio between team snaps played in nickel and those in base 4-3 personnel. Many fans had noted the shift; many no doubt expected it to continue. The Falcons had the top passing offense, after all.

Then, in an about-face, longtime backup ‘backer KPL was announced Sunday afternoon as the starter before a raucous CLink. (By the way, what a cool highlight for him, after thousands of hours of work behind the scenes.) It wasn’t a courtesy move, though. It was a strategic move.

KPL logged 40 snaps. Lane was on the field for 35. The 4-3 was back, at least in a time-share arrangement with nickel. Whether or not that was a sound tactic is up for debate, especially after the third quarter’s 252 yards allowed. Be interesting to see what happens going forward.

(More fun with snap counts can be had at footballoutsiders.com, or the specific snap count page here.)

Week 7: More birds you guys

As Jason Drake pointed out the other day, XLIX aside, Glendale hasn’t exactly been a house of horrors for the Seahawks. 34 points scored three years ago, 35 two years ago, and 36 last season.

Can we expect the Seattle offense to perform along those lines again? It has put 90 points in the last three games. Trends are positive.

Can we expect the Hawks’ defensive line to dominate? Arizona will be missing both its starting guards. Gee, that’s too bad.

And how about the Cardinals’ key players? Will Fitz do his thing, will David Johnson continue to excel, and will Carson Palmer be effective at all?

That’s up to you to be wrong about.