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Play action is Russell Wilson’s friend

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Minicamp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had himself a highly efficient 2018 season, a season in which he set a career high in touchdown passes, while tying a career low in interceptions. In addition, for only the third time in his seven seasons in the NFL, he posted a yards per attempt (Y/A) number above 8.0, finishing the season at 8.1 Y/A, good for ninth in the NFL.

However, perhaps that number could have been higher if the Hawks had used play action a little more often, as on play action his Y/A came in even higher.

So, Wilson was far more efficient on plays where the Seattle offense took advantage of play action, coming in at a whopping 9.4 yards per attempt. However, what is also intriguing is that the Seahawks were in the top five in the NFL in the utilization of play action. Now, while fifth is just barely sliding into that top five qualification, the company the team has in that group is certainly interesting.

Specifically, all five teams that led the league in the utilization of play action as a percentage of passes attempted made the playoffs. Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, the two teams that made the most use of play action during the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots, are the two teams that faced off in the Super Bowl.

Doing the math on the 69% of the dropbacks on which the Seahawks did not take advantage of play action, Wilson’s performance on straight dropbacks comes in at 7.4 yards per attempt. In short, play action is a quarterback’s friend, and following Tyler Lockett’s breakout 2018, David Moore’s continued development through this offseason and the potential for DK Metcalf to burst onto the scene in 2019, play action could continue to add to the explosive potential of the Hawks offense this upcoming season.