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Ken Norton Jr must stop dialing up three-man rushes on 3rd and long

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

You can make a fairly decent argument that outside of the Russell Wilson fumble, the biggest play that doomed the Seattle Seahawks against the Los Angeles Rams was Jared Goff finding a completely open Robert Woods on 3rd and 15 in the final minute of the 3rd quarter. At the time of that fateful play, the Seahawks were up 21-20, and a stop would’ve meant a Rams punt. Instead, they gave up a touchdown two plays later and were behind for the final 14:54 of game time.

It appears as if this is a coverage bust involving Shaquill Griffin passing Robert Woods off to an invisible man, and Justin Coleman probably was at fault.

Of note here is that Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr dialed up a three-man rush, and yet we still saw Woods all by himself in that busted zone. Jarran Reed (!!!), the team’s second-best pass rusher and the very man who was instrumental in Seattle’s win in Los Angeles last year, was seen slowly backpedaling 10 yards deep into coverage.

Norton entrusted Quinton Jefferson, Jacob Martin, and Frank Clark to go exploit one of the best offensive lines in football. They might as well have dropped ten into coverage and let Clark go 1 vs. 5 for shits and giggles.

This is also the third week in a row that the Seahawks have allowed a huge gain off a three-man rush on 3rd and 10+. Maybe, just maybe, Norton should bail on this idea altogether, as the results are not pretty.

Yes, there is something to be said about the coverage busts that were involved in two of these three instances, but the very concept just seems like recipe for disaster against QBs like Matt Stafford, Phillip Rivers, and Jared Goff.

The Seahawks were 13th in conversion rate (22.2%) last season on 3rd and 10+ pass plays. This year they’re 10th at 25.9%, so your eyes aren’t deceiving you, they’re actually faring worse under Norton than Kris Richard thus far. This (among many things with the Seahawks defense) needs to be fixed.