The Seattle Seahawks 2019 season came to a screeching halt Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, in part because Aaron Rodgers was able to dissect the Seattle defense and do whatever he wanted. In particular, on third down the Packers offense was able to deliver first downs that kept the ball with Green Bay while keeping Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense off the field.
For the game the Packers were nine of fourteen on third down, including six of nine on third and long. That ability to deliver in third and long situations played a significant role in the outcome of the game, as the Seahawks defense simply couldn’t get off the field, even when the Packers appeared to be in highly unfavorable situations.
Readers curious about how the Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay offense were able to convert those third downs at such a high rate against Ken Norton Jr.’s Seattle defense, here is a fantastic Twitter thread from Seth Galina that looks at how it went down. For those looking to learn more about the passing game and quarterback play at the NFL level, Seth is a fantastic follow on Twitter (@SethGalina), as long as you can stomach his love of the New Orleans Saints.
The Packers are going to the NFC title game because Aaron Rodgers came through in high leverage situations. 6/9 on 3rd & long. On most of them Lafleur gives the offense motion for a man/zone pre snap ID so Rodgers knew where he was going with the ball early.— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
Here's the thread: pic.twitter.com/kYj7voElWk
Because of the pre snap motion, Rodgers knows it's man to man he just needs to worry about who can stay in the window for the rubbed slant. Wagner can't cuz he has to cover the running back so the weak safety is the only guy who can. Once he doubles Adams, Rodgers can hit Graham pic.twitter.com/vW1VYxUmJA— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
The fake slant-flat into sluggo was pretty disgusting. Perfect call for the press man they were seeing. Seattle knows Packers like slant flat so you see the corner fly down and try to overtake Adams but he's already putting the brakes on for the sluggo. pic.twitter.com/9cMt5AUq5q— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
The Packers actually run the actual slant flat from trips later on 3rd down when Rodgers throws it in triple coverage and Wagner gets a piece of the ball. I like that they went for this sluggo early and left no doubt pic.twitter.com/PZKSseb2gV— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
Against the Seattle Cover 3, Rodgers eventually finds Graham on the over with a disgusting throw. It's crazy cuz he actually goes Graham to Adams and then back to Graham. It ends up being good coverage from KJ Wright but a better throw pic.twitter.com/mslqFp7FKp— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
From the endzone view you can see Rodgers eyes darting back and forth. I think his to Adams puts just enough hesitation in Wright and allows Graham to get just over him pic.twitter.com/fJdckkhxdK— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
Yes this ball is behind the receiver slightly but understand that Rodgers is moving away from the inbreaking routes because of Clowney's inside pass rush move. He throws it the second his backfoot hits off 5 steps. No wasted time. pic.twitter.com/FNEwJ2iTfF— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
Again, the endzone view shows how really beautiful Rodgers makes this look as he fades away from Clowney into some open space in the pocket and then fires a sidearm for the completion. pic.twitter.com/Uy3BPfAYP1— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
On the big slot fade to Adams, the Seahawks again show press man to man. Rodgers wants his best receiver but he needs to hold the safety just a bit. He looks left on the dropback but I don't think he's ever going there. Floats a beauty to Adams when the safety stays in the middle pic.twitter.com/AUVleqHZDu— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
All he needs is for the safety to move like 4 feet inside and he can hit the fade route. You can see the safety looking at Rodgers the whole way so Rodgers moves him just a smidge so he can't come over and play the fade route pic.twitter.com/WK9GRIgCHp— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
We come full circle as the last Rodgers 3 down completion is the same concept as the first one. This time it's 1high so Seattle could have a middle rat defender to take away Graham routes. Rodgers confirms he's open when that guy blitzes and Graham has a controversial 1st down pic.twitter.com/OHpRSPGNmI— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
Rodgers takes a shot on this one but throws a relatively catchable ball to Graham to seal the win. pic.twitter.com/7HQ5H7I8yi— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 13, 2020
And that was that.