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Seahawks Grades: Grading Darrell Bevell’s play calling vs the Patriots

Time to give credit where credit is due

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The New England Patriots lost in Foxboro 31-24 which does not happen often. The Seattle Seahawks won not just from having Russell Wilson healthy, but also from a great game plan and play calling from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Here we’re going to take a closer look at the play chart for the offense and see what exactly Bevell was dialing up. First let’s take a look at the box score.

A few quick notes:

Wilson completed 67.5% of his passes averaging 9.4 yards per attempt. He had a 124.6 rating. This is healthy Russell Wilson. This is what an NFL MVP Russell Wilson looks like.

CJ Prosise averaged 3.88 yards per carry. Take out the 2 runs at the goal line and he was averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

Christine Michael averaged 4.4 yards per carry, maybe more if he didn’t tackle himself.

Alex Collins is lucky to still be on the team at this point. Honestly I doubt he would get picked up on waivers this late in the season when he’s done literally nothing.

Paul Richardson averaged 26 yards per catch. 26. He’s consistently being targeted at least twice every game and he keeps making catches and making plays, moving the chains. You can’t ask more from your #4 receiver.

Jermaine Kearse only had 2 catches despite being targeted seven times. A couple drops early hurt his chances at getting targets later in the game.

The Play Chart

Here we’re just going to look at the down and distance (D&D), the play call (run vs pass) and the play result. We aren’t evaluating the play design, blocking schemes or routes.

Drive 1

Pretty balanced play calling for the opening drive. Remember, usually the first two series are typically scripted ahead of time. People are going to get on about the targets to Kearse, but in all honestly, it was smart to. Kearse had the non-Malcolm Butler corner on him most of the game and that is a match up that they felt Kearse should win, and for the most part he did. Go back and watch the tape, Kearse was in position on each play, just didn’t haul the ball in. Not Bevell’s fault, players have to execute.

Drive 2

This play starts out bad with the sack for a big loss. In previous games, this would derail the series and be a quick three and out. However, Russell is now healthy and here comes Richardson to show up when he’s asked to, and then a legit defensive pass interference on third down. Converting long down and distances was something the Hawks did well at the back half of the 2015 season and it looks like they are getting back to it.

Only thing with this drive is that they only ran the ball twice. Personally I would have liked to see a run on play 12, play 18 and even play 19, and not because the original play call was bad, but I think it would have helped to keep the defense more honest, especially if they spread the field and ran with three or four wide receiver sets.

Drive 3

Now we are seeing a dedication to the run and the drive results in a touchdown. I love plays 24-27. We lament Bevell at times for running after a penalty pushes the offense back, but often it works and catches the defense off guard, getting a huge chunk of it back. Then three more runs in a row create two more first downs. Four runs in a row gaining a total of 30 yards.

Drive 4

After having some success running on the last drive, Bevell goes right back to it. Only criticism I have is why put in Collins? Michael only had two carries so far and went for eight and nine yards. He does so much better as a complement back than a feature back. Sadly I think this play pretty much keeps Collins off the field for the rest of the year.

The defense was off sides on third down which resulted in third & three. I would have liked to see another run here with either Prosise or Collins as they were getting chunks so far.

Drive 5

Two minute offense. The only thing to complain about on this drive is Wilson scrambling and not throwing the ball away wasting a time out. The clock management of the Pete Carroll era Seahawks will always have issues and will always make you want to pull your hair out sometimes.

As usual, Russell Wilson is superb at leading the offense in the two minute drill.

Drive 6

The one and only three and out of the night. It’s third and one and Bevell passes. Spread the field and run it here.

Drive 7

Here Richardson shows up again. He did a great job changing direction and picking up yards after the catch. On this drive, players didn’t execute leading to another failed red zone attempt settling for another field gull. The sack was on Mark Glowinski. It looks like he is expecting a stunt from the defensive end to come over the top of the defensive tackle, so he expects George Fant to take the DT, but the stunt never comes and the DT slices through for the sack.

Drive 8

On this drive the yards are getting harder to come by except for the two passes that gained 57 yards. I still don’t know how they didn’t call Prosise’s touchdown a touchdown. The play call to Lockett seemed terrible at the time and still does after the fact. His route was short of the goal line and even if he made the catch I don’t know if he’d even have made it in.

Drive 9

More runs showing balance and results in a touchdown. I didn’t like Michael in this late in the game, I thought they should have kept with the hot hand of CJ Prosise. However, Pete said today that Prosise still isn’t in full game shape, so I’m sure he was gassed and needed a breather.


Overall play calling and game plan was great. The Patriots have a suspect secondary and they wanted to go right after it. Malcolm Butler was targeted quite a bit as well, and he didn’t fare any better than his teammates. Considering that Russell Wilson out dueled Tom Brady in Tom Brady’s house, while the entire offense had net total 420 yards, converted 50% of their first downs and only punted twice, I’d say Darrell Bevell definitely gets an A. Not an A+, just an A. It still baffles me at the lack of red zone targets for Jimmy Graham. Every time we get into the red zone, there should be at least one play targeting Graham.

Other thoughts

  1. Christine Michael just lost his job to CJ Prosise. Alex Collins just lost his job to Christine Michael. I expect CJ Prosise to get the bulk of carries next week as well even though Thomas Rawls will be back. Rawls should get 8-10 carries next week.
  2. So what was the difference between this game and the Rams and Cardinals games? It wasn’t the play calling. It was executing. The offense was able to stay on schedule and not shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. A couple times they did, but were able to overcome them. That’s the difference between having a healthy Russell Wilson and a hobbled Russell Wilson.
  3. I loved the run play calls. Last week I was furious, not just at the lack of runs, but they ran everything to the right side except for one play. This week they mixed it up, pitches, sweeps, counters, and zones. Plays to the outside, off tackle, off guard and just straight up the middle. This helps your running game be that much more effective, rather then just running it to one side.
  4. Pete Carroll said the Justin Britt played his best game yet. At first glance, Fant looked improved but still struggled at times, Ifedi looked consistent, while Glowinski and Garry Gilliam looked like the weak links. We’ll take a closer look at them later in the week.