With just over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Seattle Seahawks sent Michael Dickson on to the field to punt the ball back to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two teams were tied at seven, however, quarterback Russell Wilson was taking a beating. He’d dropped back to pass 19 times over the first 24 minutes of the game, only to be sacked on four of those dropbacks.
That’s a 21% sack rate, and after being sacked four times over the first 22:51 of the game, it was time for the Hawks to change things up. As noted, the Steelers came into the game having sacked opposing quarterbacks more than any other team in the NFL since the start of the 2017 season, while Wilson been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL in that timeframe. In addition to the four sacks, Wilson had also been hit one other time, giving the Steelers four sacks and five quarterback hits with nearly six minutes left before halftime.
The time for an adjustment had arrived, and what an adjustment it was.
After being sacked four times in the first 22:51, the Seahawks shifted to a quick passing game and Wilson was not sacked over the final 37:09.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) September 15, 2019
Not only did Wilson end the game without being sacked over the final 37:09, during that timeframe he dropped back to pass nearly two dozen more times, and not only wasn’t sacked, he was only hit by the Steelers defense one more time on the day. The reason is that when a quarterback gets the ball out quick, it is impossible for a defense to apply pressure and get to the quarterback, and Russell threw the ball historically quick against the Pittsburgh pressure on Sunday.
Per @NextGenStats, Russell Wilson's average time to throw was 1.89 seconds, the quickest time to throw in a game by any QB since 2016 (min. 20 attempts).— Keegan Abdoo (@KeeganAbdoo) September 15, 2019
Wilson had 3rd-longest TTT (3.02 seconds) in 2018.
From what I saw, he checked to hot routes frequently when PIT blitzed.
That time to throw of 1.89 seconds is insanely fast. The fastest in the league will typically be in the 2.25-2.50 seconds per throw range. To finish the game at 1.89 means Wilson was throwing as soon as his back foot hit at the bottom of his three step drops. It was snap, step, step, step, thrown and catch, and it worked beautifully. Tyler Lockett was catching quick outs, Nick Vannett and Will Dissly were quickly finding the open space in the Steelers zone defense, and the Seahawks were simply cruising.
Now the question becomes whether the offense will continue to move the ball in this same manner, much like it did in the second half of 2015, or will they go back to the ground and pound style they prefer. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed watching that on Sunday, as others chimed in as well.
I HAVE AN IDEA.— Ron Burgandy (@hawknado) September 16, 2019
This is that second half of 2015 offense— hot daniel is dead (@HighArcingThree) September 15, 2019
It will certainly make for interesting watching going forward, and I’m hoping that they opt to keep this style of offense going forward, as many have been clamoring for it for years.