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All-22 Musings: Eye-catching plays from the Seahawks’ victory over the Eagles

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NFL: NOV 24 Seahawks at Eagles

In a game that saw the Seahawks’ offense total 348 yards and score just 17 points—while missing out on multiple touchdowns via a rare miss fire from Russell Wilson and an unfortunate drop from DK Metcalf—they looked like capable Super Bowl contenders. Such was the revival of their defense for the second consecutive game. When Carson Wentz wasn’t attempting bounce passes like an MVP-era Steve Nash, he was turning the ball over; when it was all said and done, the Eagles averaged 3.9 yards per play—excluding their final drive in garbage time—and had five turnovers.

Seattle’s secondary bullied while the defensive line swarmed, and that will be the focus of Week 12’s All-22 Musings.

[PHI 2-8 PHI 39] (14:18) C. Wentz pass short left to Z. Ertz to PHI 40 for 1 yard (B. McDougald) [K. Wright]

Bradley McDougald’s renewed confidence, with the arrival of Quandre Diggs, was immediately apparent. It was clear to see against the 49ers, and it was clear to see against the Eagles: So much so that both Pete Carroll and McDougald commented on it.

That confidence in the safety alongside him is obvious here, as McDougald reads the play and crashes down on Zach Ertz’s route with absolute certainty.

[PHI 2-9 SEA 10] (7:38) (Shotgun) C. Wentz pass incomplete short right to J. Arcega-Whiteside (T. Flowers)

Tre Flowers may not have progressed the way the Seahawks had hoped between years one and two—though it’s certainly closer to a plateau than a regression—but he has had a few strong games, including against the Ravens and on Sunday. This is an excellent rep, on the opposite side that he is used to and inside: Flowers stays patient before opening up, and sticks on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s hip, using his tremendous length to breakup the pass.

[SEA 1-10 PHI 33] (6:03) R. Wilson pass deep right to M. Turner for 33 yards, TOUCHDOWN

A tremendous play all around on Seattle’s first touchdown. Russell Wilson delivers a truly flawless pass, splitting two defenders; Joey Hunt does really well to help D.J. Fluker before coming all the way back around; and Malik Turner tracks the deep pass beautifully to haul in his first touchdown.

[PHI 2-5 PHI 30] (5:13) (Shotgun) M. Sanders right end to PHI 30 for no gain (Q. Diggs)

Diggs’ arrival may have enabled McDougald to play closer to the line of scrimmage, but that doesn’t mean it’s just him; the two safeties are interchangeable. Diggs is a plus run defender in the box, solid in the tackle and consistently taking good angles. He reacts well to Miles Sanders’ cutback here, too.

[PHI 1-10 PHI 49] (3:12) (Shotgun) C. Wentz sacked at PHI 45 for -4 yards (R. Green). FUMBLES (R. Green) [R. Green], RECOVERED by SEA-A. Woods at PHI 46. A. Woods to PHI 46 for no gain (H. Vaitai)

Rookie tackle Andre Dillard was on skates all afternoon on Sunday, no more so than here. Rasheem Green gets underneath him, lands a strong punch on his inside shoulder, and gets some help from the receiver in motion as Dillard goes on his back.

The awareness Green shows to knock the ball out is fantastic. Green’s newfound penchant for forcing fumbles, and an awareness to find the ball, is utterly bizarre. It’s a complete reversal from when he was a prospect.

[PHI 1-10 SEA 49] (15:00) C. Wentz sacked at PHI 43 for -8 yards (E. Ansah). FUMBLES (E. Ansah), RECOVERED by SEA-P. Ford at PHI 44. PENALTY on SEA-Sq. Griffin, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at SEA 49 - No Play

(The penalty which negated the strip-sack will be ignored here, because there’s still a valuable evaluation to be made via this play.)

Week 12 was, by a large margin, Ezekiel Ansah’s best game as a Seahawk. More than that, it was just incredibly promising. Earlier this month, it was reported Ansah was yet to be back at full strength as a result of offseason surgery—something that really would explain his anonymous start in Seattle.

His performance in Philadelphia was a sign of optimism: He gets his hands into Dillard here, and pushes him all the way back into Carson Wentz’s lap. Ansah’s shoulder holding up, and his strength showing out, was a consistent sight on Sunday.

[PHI 1-10 SEA 44] (14:50) M. Sanders right end to SEA 41 for 3 yards (E. Ansah)

Look at the aggression with which Ansah takes on Isaac Seumalo: That is not a player lacking confidence in his health, nor play strength. He absolutely stops Seumalo in his tracks and blows up the run before it can begin.

[PHI 1-10 SEA 33] (13:31) C. Wentz pass deep left intended for D. Goedert INTERCEPTED by B. McDougald [P.Ford] at SEA 17. B. McDougald to SEA 17 for no gain (D. Goedert)

The interception for McDougald was routine, but what led up to it was not. He does exceptionally well to wrestle with Goedert—who has four inches and 41 pounds on him—at the line of scrimmage, and then to have the wherewithal to get his head around and find the football is outstanding.

[SEA 3-6 SEA 21] (12:13) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass deep left to D. Moore pushed ob at PHI 48 for 31 yards (R. Darby)

This is exactly what David Moore does best: He has the burst to eat up the cushion between him and Ronald Darby, get leverage, and then put himself in a position to win the 50-50 ball above the rim. Moore is a very good contested catch receiver.

[SEA 3-7 PHI 45] (10:13) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to J. Gordon to PHI 35 for 10 yards (J. Mills)

A handful of true statements:

  • Josh Gordon is excellent at getting a clean release off the line of scrimmage.
  • Josh Gordon is great at sealing out defenders after he gains leverage.
  • Russell Wilson can place a pass perfectly, no matter where it is on the field.
  • Russell Wilson and Josh Gordon should connect for a few very easy completions per game.

[SEA 1-10 PHI 35] (9:34) R. Penny left end to PHI 9 for 26 yards (M. Jenkins)

I have been quite vocal in my criticism of Duane Brown this season, but it might be time for me to admit I was wrong. Though he has taken a step back in pass protection, he continues to look good (and healthy!) moving in space when run blocking. This is a beautifully executed block, and the way he’s able to stay engaged for so long is impressive. Brown’s athletic ability is still apparent, and at the very least, he should remain serviceable through 2020.

[PHI 3-4 PHI 31] (5:51) (Shotgun) C. Wentz sacked at PHI 23 for -8 yards (sack split by E. Ansah and J. Reed). FUMBLES (E. Ansah) [E. Ansah], and recovers at PHI 23. C. Wentz to PHI 23 for no gain (E. Ansah)

Whose swarming defensive line is this? What a welcome sight to see after two months of pass rush starvation. Shaquem Griffin turns the corner on Dillard with ease, Ansah is in the process of beating future Hall of Famer Jason Peters to force Wentz to step up, and Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson are suffocating inside. A roaring success across the defensive line.

[PHI 2-4 PHI 21] (2:15) (Shotgun) C. Wentz pass short right to G. Ward to PHI 20 for -1 yards (R. Green)

This is much more in line with Green’s play as a prospect, and why I projected him as a high-upside base end in the mold of Michael Bennett. He does well here to disengage and move laterally to defend the run to the outside. Any ball carrier will have difficulty getting to the edge when Green is able to get off a block and move as well as he does.

[PHI 2-7 PHI 16] (:43) (Shotgun) C. Wentz sacked at PHI 9 for -7 yards (E. Ansah)

Even further signs of encouragement surrounding Ansah’s health and strength: He simply walks Peters back into Wentz, and he and Jefferson meet at the quarterback for the sack. Ansah may just make a (big!) impact yet. (And yet again, look at the way Green has Dillard on skates!)

[PHI 2-3 SEA 38] (6:14) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C. Wentz pass incomplete short left to J. Matthews (T. Flowers)

Another encouraging play from Flowers in Week 12, dropping into his zone before recognizing the pattern developing, planting his foot and driving on the football with perfect timing. There’s every chance Flowers not only ends 2019 strong, but makes a large jump between ‘19 and ‘20. Not only is the secondary settled, it is extremely promising.

[PHI 2-11 PHI 47] (2:08) C. Wentz pass short right to D. Goedert to PHI 44 for -3 yards (K. Wright)

There has never been, and never will be, a nickname more apt than K.J. Wright being dubbed the “Screen Whisperer.”

Instincts. Do not. Age.

[SEA 1-10 SEA 31] (12:59) R. Penny left end to PHI 48 for 21 yards (A. Maddox)

In fairness to Chris Carson, who came out of Week 12 with a lot of criticism, this is a jump cut he has made consistently this season. However, it’s still worth highlighting, because Rashaad Penny is special in space. It’s a well blocked run by Brown, Mike Iupati and Moore at the point of attack, too.

[SEA 1-20 SEA 42] (12:05) (Shotgun) R. Penny up the middle for 58 yards, TOUCHDOWN

Penny’s long touchdown comes with three factors, all of which have been constants in 2019: Penny creating an explosive play, Iupati springing a big run, and Germain Ifedi sealing out a defender on a big gain. All three occur as Penny hits the home run.

[SEA 3-2 SEA 32] (6:21) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass deep middle to T. Lockett to PHI 30 for 38 yards (J. Mills)

One of the most valuable traits for a vertical threat, and something Tyler Lockett is truly elite at, is stacking. He does that to absolute perfection here, getting on top of Jalen Mills, winning the route before the ball is even in the air.

[PHI 1-10 PHI 2] (5:07) (Shotgun) C. Wentz pass incomplete deep middle to J. Matthews [Sm. Griffin]

Not only did the speed with which Griffin looped inside make me gasp in real time, it brought about visions of Clowney-Griffin stunts, with Griffin starting outside and looping inside, and Clowney vice versa. It may be unstoppable, and let’s hope we see it unveiled in Week 13.

[SEA 1-10 SEA 32] (4:10) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short left to DK. Metcalf to SEA 45 for 13 yards (N. Bradham)

It was a forgettable game for Metcalf, but let’s close it on a positive note. The Seahawks seem to really love this quick screen out to Metcalf, and it’s easy to see why. This one is well blocked—both up front and at the point of attack—but the best part is certainly Metcalf’s hurdle. Sunday showed it best for the rookie: Sometimes he makes the easy stuff difficult, and the difficult stuff easy.

Now 9-2 with back-to-back massive victories on the road, Seattle will return home in Week 13 and return to prime-time, as the Vikings come into CenturyLink Field. There’s no better venue for Monday Night Football, we’ll just need the two similarly constructed NFC foes to deliver a better game than in 2018.