Throughout their defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks could not get anything going on offense. Russell Wilson was under constant pressure which led to the direct symptom of an inability to convert third downs. In fact, the Seahawks didn’t convert a third down until their final drive of the game, which ended in an interception.
While the line didn’t show many positives during the contest, it’s worthwhile to consider whether or not Wilson being sacked a season-high six times was more on the offensive line or the quarterback. Let’s analyze all six sacks to get a better of idea how it all went down on Sunday.
1Q 6:59, 2nd and 9, sacked by Noah Spence
The Bucs rush four against a simple five-man protection on Seattle’s second offensive play of the game. George Fant is left isolated on Noah Spence who has shown an aptitude for bending the edge. He does just that against the rookie left tackle. Russell progresses through both reads to the right side of the field, which are both covered. Both receivers on the left side of the field have a window to receive the ball, but there is absolutely no time for him to get the ball out.
Germain Ifedi gets heavily bull-rushed by Gerald McCoy, which causes Wilson to pull the ball down right as Spence arrives after beating Fant.
The failures of the rookie offensive lineman combined with solid initial coverage on Wilson’s primary reads lead to this sack.
2Q 15:00, 3rd and 5, sacked by Noah Spence
The first of multiple third down sacks occurs at the beginning of the second period. Russell is in an empty set with five receivers. Again it is a four-man rush against five in protection. Spence, again, beats Fant wide off of the snap, arcing around to the top of the pocket. Wilson begins to throw towards the left but pulls the ball down at the last second, as the boundary corner covering George Farmer peels off to take away the out route to Jermaine Kearse.
Doug Baldwin beats his man on a slant, but a bull-rush on Mark Glowinski forces Wilson to tuck and run. Had Glowinski not been bull-rushed, there would be a nice running lane for Russell. Spence again arrives right as Wilson senses pressure.
It would have been nice to see Wilson slide to his left and get his eyes over to the right, but it’s hard to fault him when he’s under such immediate pressure. It is at this point, though, that he (or the coaches) must adjust and account for the left tackle getting consistently beat around the edge.
2Q 12:38, 1st and 10, sacked by Robert Ayers
In a singleback formation, The Seahawks run a play action deep drop. Robert Ayers beats Glowinski outside and Thomas Rawls slides over to pick up the slack, pushing him over the top of the pocket as Glowinski recovers. Wilson lingers too long and Ayers splits Rawls and Glowinski, bringing the quarterback down from behind.
The Buccaneers spy Russell on this play so he really has nowhere to run, but Jimmy Graham is open in the middle of the field for a moment before the defender engaged by Fant moves to fill the vacated zone. Wilson can make this throw and has to understand that he needs to speed up his internal clock.
This is also a tough block to ask Glowinski to make, as Ayers was initially lined up outside of the left tackle. The sack would have ruined the drive had a defensive pass interference penalty not been called against Tampa Bay two plays later.
2Q 5:13, 3rd and 4, sacked by Kwon Alexander
Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander show blitz before the snap and a motioning Baldwin identifies man coverage with a single high safety. Russell identifies this and makes his checks at the line. It’s difficult to ask six players (three of whom are inexperienced rookies) to block six rushers, including a stunting defensive tackle, while not a single receiver gets open. Russell has nowhere to go and has no hope of converting the third down.
End of drive.
4Q 3:37, 3rd and 6, sacked by Gerald McCoy
With the game on the line and Seattle needing a score, they predictably give up a sack to Tampa Bay’s best defensive lineman. McCoy, lined up between the right guard and tackle, beats Ifedi off of the snap and immediately penetrates the backfield.
Jimmy Graham motions into trips on the right before running a slant where he is wide open. If Wilson is decisive enough, he can get the ball to Graham, but, in this situation, it’s somewhat understandable why he would choose to let routes develop longer towards the boundary. Of course, it would have been much better to throw the ball away than to take a sack and burn a timeout.
Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson run deeper routes and Wilson has nowhere near the amount of time necessary to let the routes develop. McCoy is in the backfield so quickly that Russell doesn’t have time to react until he’s right on top of him. This sack is fully on Ifedi. Luckily the Seahawks converted on 4th down to keep their drive alive (although it didn’t matter in the end).
4Q 2:26, 1st and 10, sacked by Ryan Russell
The Buccaneers run a simple tackle-end stunt on this play which confuses Ifedi yet again. After getting beat just plays earlier by McCoy for a sack, Ifedi follows the mammoth lineman outside, allowing Ryan Russell to stunt inside and through the huge hole in the line.
Paul Richardson is wide open on a curl down the left boundary, but I highly doubt (as much as I love P-Rich) that he is the first read in this situation. Doug Baldwin has a small amount of daylight on an inside release from the slot, but Wilson holds onto the ball too long and gets enveloped by the charging pass-rusher. This causes the Seahawks to burn their final timeout and leads to them taking deep shots that eventually result in a game-ending interception.
I’m going to be blunt about the fact that the offensive line was pretty putrid in this game. It was terrible at handling the pressure that the Tampa Bay defense was manufacturing on a regular basis. Wilson, though, wasn’t doing much to elevate the unit.
The only drive killing sack was on the first drive, as the offense couldn’t recover from the third-and-long.
On the second sack, Wilson has nowhere to go and nowhere to run, so throwing the ball away would have led to a similar result.
On the third sack, Wilson should have been more decisive, but it didn’t matter in the end due to a penalty on the defense a couple plays later.
The next sack did Russell no favors and didn’t allow him anywhere to go with the ball. Not taking a sack would have likely led to a similar result or worse.
On the penultimate sack, there was absolutely no time for Wilson to make anything happen.
The final sack provided a small window for Russell to make a (possibly) MVP-level throw, but he was hesitant and he didn’t make it.
Even on plays where he got rid of the ball before pressure got home, there was little doubt that Wilson was off throughout the course of the game. The state of his offensive line definitely seemed to have an impact on him.
Getting Justin Britt back this week from injury will be huge for the sake of continuity, especially for the young players. George Fant and Germain Ifedi, while they weren’t alone, really had poor showings against the Buccaneers.
The adaptation of play-calling really did no favors to Russell or the line. Darrell Bevell should have begun calling more quick-hitting routes that made the offense go in the second half of 2015. Unfortunately, routes that take a while to develop aren’t very conducive to a slew of struggling offensive linemen.
I expect the line and overall offense to improve this week. These guys all find a way to bounce back when facing adversity.
Against Kawann Short and a still-fearsome Panthers front, they had better.
Three Things - Seahawks vs. Bucs Fallout
Three things to ease your mind about the stinker of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Posted by Field Gulls: For Seattle Seahawks News and Analysis on Wednesday, November 30, 2016