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Sam’s Film Room: How Richard Sherman and the Seahawks held T.Y. Hilton to 30 yards

Edit: If the video above does not play, please click “Watch on YouTube” or follow this link.

Going into the Seattle Seahawks-Indianapolis Colts game last Sunday, I was extremely worried about the defense covering T.Y. Hilton. In their last meeting back in 2013, Hilton burned the Seahawks for 140 yards through the air. To add to that, he led the NFL in receiving yards logging over 1,400 last season. With that in mind, I honestly thought the match-up between him and Richard Sherman was going to be what defined this game. Well in this one, Sherman completely shut Hilton down and held him to zero catches on one target.

From a scheme standpoint, the Seahawks played a lot of man coverage in this game. On the Colts’ 36 passing snaps, Seattle lined up in man coverage for 21 of those plays. Most of the time it was a version of Cover 1 (Cover 1 Plug, Cover 1 Robber, etc...) but it featured Earl Thomas as the deep free safety over the center of the defense. Underneath him, Seattle played man coverage across the board.

Sherman made it extremely difficult all game for anybody, let alone TY Hilton, to gain any sort of leverage on their routes. He would get his hands inside their shoulder pads and he would suffocate them down the field.

Overall, Hilton did not have a good game. He was targeted six times in coverage for a total of three catches and 30 receiving yards. When Sherman was not covering him, Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman traded assignments based on his alignment. Both played very well with Griffin allowing 11 yards, Coleman allowing 13 yards, and the other 6 yards being attributed to a busted assignment that I discussed in the video.

This upcoming Sunday, Seattle face the red hot Los Angeles Rams. From my point of view, I feel like their goal has to be to limit Todd Gurley. In my video breakdown earlier this week on Gurley, the Rams used him in the passing game to beat the Dallas Cowboys. If they can stop him in his tracks in the run game, they have a good chance at stopping Sean McVay’s play-action passing game.