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Snap Reactions: Notes on the Seahawks’ snap counts from Week 12 win over the Panthers

Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks picked up a second consecutive win on Sunday, taking down fellow NFC wildcard contenders in the Carolina Panthers. The 30-27 win came down to the last second, and to get to that point, the Seahawks had to rely on heroics from Russell Wilson. In Seattle’s biggest win of the season, their defense was gashed and they attempted to combat it in interesting ways.

More on that and more below, underneath the team’s full snap counts:

Doug Baldwin battles through injury

Baldwin, finally over the knee issues that had plagued him all season, suffered a frustrating blow last Tuesday when a vague groin injury popped up. The new injury kept him out of practice in the lead up to Week 12, and he was listed as questionable.

After passing the pre-game conditioning test, Baldwin was active and, presumably on a pitch count following Keenan Reynolds’ promotion to the active roster on Saturday. Instead, Baldwin, as he has so many times before, gritted it out and played 90% of the offense’s snaps. Though it was a relatively anonymous game from Baldwin, who ended with five catches and 39 yards, the presence of the team’s number one receiver helped David Moore and Tyler Lockett to 100-yard days—the first time this season the Seahawks have had multiple 100-yard receivers in a game.

Ed Dickson starts

In this space last week, I made note of Nick Vannett’s continued run with the starters. Even upon Dickson’s return, Vannett had maintained a large lead over Dickson in playing time. That ended on Sunday, with Dickson playing 71% of the offense’s snaps, to Vannett’s 40%.

There could be a number of reasons for this. Dickson could finally be up to speed both physically and mentally, within the offense. He could offer more as a blocker and in the passing game. Or, it could’ve simply been the matchup. Regardless of the reason, Dickson is in the picture as the team’s lead tight end, and it’ll be worth monitoring down the stretch.

Barkevious Mingo, not Austin Calitro after all

Also in this space last week, I wrote about Calitro playing over Mingo against the Packers, and how poorly that went. I noted how poorly Calitro would matchup against Christian McCaffrey both in that post and in my pregame column. Despite Pete Carroll saying otherwise, Mingo ended up playing the majority of snaps next to Bobby Wagner.

It should’ve been an obvious decision, with Mingo offering so much more in space than Calitro, but it wasn’t one that seemed likely. In the end, though, Mingo played 83% of the defense’s snaps, to just 34% for Calitro. It didn’t end up mattering much—with McCaffrey gashing Seattle for 237 total yards—but it’s good to see the team making the correct personnel decision in a crucial game.

Big nickel, dime defenses with Delano Hill

One of the ways the Seahawks attempted to slow a Panthers offense cutting through Seattle’s defense with ease was rolling out three-safety looks. Whether it was with Hill replacing Coleman as the fifth defensive back, or Hill joining the quintet as the dime defender, it led to the safety playing 22% of the defense’s snaps. Whether this was a matchup-based decision or an added wrinkle for the stretch run will be worth following.

Nazair Jones reappears, makes a play

The season-long flip-flopping between Jones and Poona Ford continued in Week 12 with Jones dressing over Ford. Playing a season-high 32% of snaps (more than rookies Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green), Jones made an impact almost immediately, dropping McCaffrey for a three yard loss in the first quarter.

After the game, Jones explained his penetration on that play was a result of studying tendencies. Though we don’t, and likely won’t ever know the reason for Jones’ regression in year two, it’s extremely encouraging to see him producing in limited time.

The Seahawks return home in Week 13 to take on the San Francisco 49ers, in the first matchup between the NFC West rivals in 2018, and Richard Sherman’s return to CenturyLink Field.