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This Week In Defense: Seahawks needed to reach deep vs the Saints

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Narrative Of The Game:

The Seattle Seahawks team and fans both had questions about the defense and it’s ability to recover from five quarters of football versus the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday night. Put another way, 95 defensive snaps occurred, or in the case of Kelcie McCray 108 snaps. Two entire defensive games worth of plays were run in Arizona. Could the team recover in time to face the New Orleans Saints’ high powered attack?

[First Quarter 8:08 1st and 10 Fumble by Mark Ingram picked up by Earl Thomas. Returned 32-yards for a Touchdown]

“Fumble! YAY! OMG OMG OMG OMG TOUCHDOWN! Who wants a hug?!”

This play is all effort. Mark Ingram’s effort to push the pile. The Seahawks’ effort to pull at the football and Earl Thomas’ post fumble recovery effort to run it back for a touchdown. In watching this play multiple times, K.J. Wright blows through the line of scrimmage here and it looks to me like Cliff Avril may have forced this fumble. I can’t tell for sure, I’ll leave that up to you the viewer. K.J. really had a nice day versus the run.

[First Quarter 6:36 3rd and 4. Drew Brees sacked by Frank Clark for - 5 yards.]

“You can’t stop Frank Clark with two people if they back up behind your QB. What are you, stupid?”

A neat little wrinkle here on a pass rush by the Seahawks. Frank Clark is inside on the Left Guard at the snap but easily slides away from him while pushing up field. Cassius Marsh is supposed to loop around. The trick here is Seattle showing and backing out of a blitz to force everyone on the Saints’ line to be patient. Clark’s surge up field and spin off a double team for this sack, makes me crazy full of hope that we’ll see him for years to come in a Seattle uniform.

[Second Quarter 13:59 1st and 10. Run left by Tim Hightower for 11-yards. Tackled by Deshawn Shead.]

“This side, no, crap it was the other way.”

This play just demonstrates not staying home by Tony McDaniel. He sees the wind back by Willie Snead here he’s going to guess on a counter, swat his man down and jump outside. This creates a huge gap for a nice run for Hightower. If this had been Ingram with his speed it may have been longer. Rubin gets doubled out so it would have been a solid gain, but this run seemed to put the defense fully on it’s heels.

[Third Quarter 8:19 2nd and 9. Drew Brees pass to Michael Thomas for 18-yards. Tackled by Earl Thomas. .]

“Almost there. Damn.”

This is one of those blitz calls that Kris likes to call. It’s unexpected (You hope) because 2nd and 9 tells you Seattle will play coverage here. They do bring pressure though with both Bobby Wagner and Brock Coyle. Neither of them get home and the middle of the field is wide open for this pretty impressive rookie. This play right here is the reason the Saints have found their offense again. They pick up the blitz and the receiver does his job and Brees is just being Brees.

[Third Quarter 6:58 1st and 10. Flea flicker pass from Drew Brees to Brandon Coleman for 38-yards. Sherman in coverage.]

“Gonna sneak insi-wait-no-OH S***”

The Saints get Seattle back for their trick play with this little beauty. Sherman bites on the run fake and drifts inside just enough to be in no position to challenge Brandon Coleman on this catch. Nice play call at an obvious time as the Saints were at midfield.

[Fourth Quarter 2:22 3rd and 8. Drew Brees sacked by Cliff Avril for -8 yards.]

“Hey Drew, did you like Frank’s hug earlier”

The last gasp of the defense versus the unstoppable Saints. A nice little tackle end gimmick with Avril and Marsh here. What seals it is Avril’s ridiculous surge into the gap and sack. Brees had to go down here or get absolutely blown apart by Avril who was untouched on this play.

Overview Of The Game:

Outside of the first three New Orleans possessions (the second of which resulted in a fumble recovered for a TD) and the final drive Cliff Avril disrupted with a sack, Seattle’s defense lacked consistency between the 20’s. Not a shock. The biggest problem was zero pressure on Brees. As demonstrated earlier, Kris and Pete tried to dial up some extra pressure and break up the rhythm Brees had or make him flinch. Neither happened.

That said. The defense still managed to make it hell for New Orleans to score their first touchdown of the game. It took nine plays to move some thirty-six yards and that still required a QB sneak to achieve it. If you’re thinking of questioning this team’s heart, don’t. They had plenty versus the Saints.

As far as the run defense goes, they surrendered their third 100-yard rusher in seven games. They didn’t surrender 100-yards to a single player all year last year on the ground. In this game they guessed wrong on two alignments for longer runs and really, they were just on the field much too long yet again. It’s hard to put anyone on blast here and with Tony McDaniel now down with an ankle sprain, it looks to only get worse.

Game Ball:

The defense as a whole for Seattle gets the game ball from me. It’s hard to single out one guy. They gave a hell of an effort to show up on the road and not get utterly slaughtered in an early road start. If I had to single out one dude? K.J. Wright.

Needs Work:

John Schneider needs to work the phones. The defensive line is decimated with injuries so getting some bodies is going to be key. There probably isn’t much out there but Reed and Rubin are your only guys inside presently.