Russell Wilson was near perfect, DK Metcalf dominated and the defensive line swarmed as the Seattle Seahawks triumphed over the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 to move on to the 2020 divisional round.
A well-oiled offense and an uncharacteristically deep defense both star in this week’s All-22 Musings:
[SEA 1-10 SEA 28] (14:54) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to DK. Metcalf to SEA 37 for 9 yards (J. Mills)
Only fitting that a game in which DK Metcalf starred kicks off with a Metcalf reception. The big plays (rightfully) got the juices flowing on Sunday, but this was just as encouraging as anything: Lined up on the right, Metcalf gives a vertical release, an up-field step then comes over the middle for the easy completion. It’s how he has won on in-breaking routes all season long and it continues.
[SEA 3-4 SEA 34] (13:39) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass incomplete short right to T. Lockett (C. LeBlanc)
Seattle’s opening drive quickly stalled, but this throw stood out to me in the moment and with the benefit of the end zone angle it’s even more impressive. With Germain Ifedi pushed into his lap and no room to step up or set his feet, Russell Wilson fires an absolute bullet to the sideline on the field side. Wilson can do so many things well that sometimes we forget he can put a helluva lot of torque on the ball—which he does here.
[PHI 1-10 PHI 22] (13:27) (Shotgun) M. Sanders right guard to PHI 24 for 2 yards (K. Wright; B. Wagner)
Credit to Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Shaquill Griffin, Bradley McDougald and co., for swarming to Miles Sanders, but this play is created by Jadeveon Clowney and Clowney alone. He beats everyone off the line to force Sanders off his track, and he cuts back into nothingness (or rather, several Seahawks).
[SEA 1-10 PHI 30] (11:27) T. Homer left end pushed ob at PHI 18 for 12 yards (M. Jenkins)
A creative design from Brian Schottenheimer to use motion pre-snap, excellently blocked from almost everyone, and an explosive run and finish from Travis Homer. Seattle seems to have a strong hold on what Travis Homer does well—and how to maximize his abilities—in a way that they didn’t always display with Rashaad Penny.
[PHI 2-11 PHI 24] (8:59) (Shotgun) M. Sanders right end to PHI 28 for 4 yards (P. Ford)
Poona Ford makes a highlight reel play on a weekly basis, but this one nearly fell under the radar. The ease with which Ford benches Matt Pryor, no. 69, is impressive enough, but the way he changes direction to chase Sanders up-field and wrap him up is special, special stuff.
[PHI 1-10 PHI 33] (7:45) (Shotgun) M. Sanders up the middle to PHI 33 for no gain (B. McDougald)
The entire defensive line gets strong movement off the snap here to force Sanders back, and that’s where Bradley McDougald is squared up—having evaded J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with ease—to make the tackle. The way the Seahawks can use McDougald with Quandre Diggs behind him totally changes the math in the box and leads to plays like this.
[PHI 3-10 PHI 33] (6:59) (Shotgun) C. Wentz pass short right to B.Scott ran ob at PHI 36 for 3 yards (U. Amadi)
Seattle got off the field on 3rd and 10 here due in large part to Shaquem Griffin, who reentered the pass rush rotation after a several week absence. Griffin’s spin and Ezekiel Ansah looping inside causes confusion and allows Ansah to race towards Carson Wentz, who has to dump it off for a minimal gain. Griffin is too effective in creating opportunities for the players around him to not have him out there on third and longs.
[SEA 3-2 SEA 32] (5:03) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to T. Lockett pushed ob at SEA 39 for 7 yards (J. Mills)
Coaching and execution came together on this third and short beautifully. It’s a strong situational football playcall from Schottenheimer, getting Tyler Lockett clean with a rub route. The call, combined with Lockett’s ridiculous release off the line, made it an easy conversion.
[SEA 3-11 SEA 38] (3:51) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass deep right to DK. Metcalf to PHI 38 for 24 yards (J. Mills; M. Epps) [M. Jenkins]
In the moment, I was too excited about Metcalf’s continued awareness out of structure, executing perfectly when Wilson broke out of the pocket, that I didn’t notice his release. It’s incredibly clean. We haven’t seen a huge variety of releases from Metcalf in 2019, but it’s highly encouraging. Cornerbacks will start to pick up his subtle tricks—head nods, vertical steps—so he’ll need to get better at releases. A positive sign that he is capable of doing just that.
[SEA 1-10 SEA 15] (13:50) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to DK. Metcalf ran ob at SEA 23 for 8 yards
For as exciting as Metcalf’s numerous developments are, I’ll never get tired of seeing Wilson connect with Metcalf back shoulder. It’s a completion that’s predicated almost entirely on timing and trust (and placement), and those two have it. (Metcalf’s ability to adjust to low balls has popped up a few times this year, too.)
[SEA 2-18 SEA 28] (11:30) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass incomplete deep left to T. Lockett. Seattle challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was REVERSED. (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass deep left to T. Lockett ran ob at PHI 43 for 29 yards
What’s there to say? Lockett proved against the Rams in Week 5 that he pays no respect to the restrictions of a sideline, but what an incredible adjustment here.
[PHI 2-5 PHI 28] (7:19) (No Huddle, Shotgun) B. Scott up the middle to PHI 30 for 2 yards (J. Clowney)
Clowney was giving Jason Peters trouble all day long, but not often will you see Peters whiffing as badly as he does here. Clowney’s inside swim move is a great sight, and more importantly, consistently effective. The way he has used it against the run this year, against both tackles and tight ends, to meet the running back in the hole has been outstanding.
[SEA 3-4 SEA 24] (2:00) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to DK. Metcalf pushed ob at 50 for 26 yards (C. LeBlanc)
Another positive moment from Metcalf at the line of scrimmage, stutter-stepping in order to delay his release off the line and let the rub route develop over the middle of the field. As a result, Metcalf shakes free and rumbles for a crucial 26 yards.
[SEA 3-10 PHI 43] (1:36) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass short right to D. Moore to PHI 5 for 38 yards (M. Jenkins) [N. Bradham]
David Moore’s terrific work after the catch stole the show in the moment, but Wilson’s throw to make it happen can’t be appreciated enough. Ridiculous from a player who normalized ridiculous plays a long time ago. The ability for a quarterback of Wilson’s stature to find throwing lanes is invaluable.
[SEA 1-Goal PHI 5] (1:11) M. Lynch left end for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN
It’s still pretty, pretty surreal that Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown for the Seahawks in the year 2020—but also entirely believable, because who else is scoring a touchdown like that? D.J. Fluker deserves some credit for flying in and helping his tailback, but Lynch was not to be stopped.
[PHI 1-10 SEA 43] (14:24) G. Ward left end to SEA 40 for 3 yards (Sl. Griffin)
Philadelphia tried to gash Seattle’s defense horizontally, as teams did against them all of December. They had a little success, but not as much as the Panthers, Cardinals or 49ers, and it’s because of efforts like this. Shaquill Griffin chases Greg Ward across the field, evades a lunging Peters, then finishes the tackle on Ward. Griffin isn’t healthy, but the effort is phenomenal.
[PHI 3-Goal SEA 6] (11:21) (Shotgun) J. McCown sacked at SEA 8 for -2 yards (K.Wright)
K.J. Wright’s sack of Josh McCown on third down was a direct result of his sky-high football intelligence, and an entrenched relationship with, and understanding of, Wagner. Wright picks up Dallas Goedert, sees McCown begin to scramble and so he passes Goedert off to Wagner in his hook/curl zone and chases down the veteran quarterback. A wonderful play from a wonderful duo.
[SEA 2-11 SEA 47] (8:55) R. Wilson pass deep left to DK. Metcalf for 53 yards, TOUCHDOWN
Lockett’s motion brings every defender down, and not that Metcalf needs any help, but it enables him to put that sprinter-speed to use and fly past absolutely everyone. The awareness to immediately get back on his feet and get across the goal line is fantastic, and in line with the high level football intelligence Metcalf has displayed all season long.
[PHI 1-10 PHI 40] (7:41) (Shotgun) M. Sanders right end to PHI 43 for 3 yards (R. Green)
Rasheem Green has been a revelation against the run over the second-half of the season, and we see him pop again here with an outstanding effort from the backside that results in a tackle.
[PHI 1-10 SEA 39] (5:48) (Shotgun) J. McCown pass short middle to G. Ward to SEA 45 for -6 yards (J. Clowney)
Philadelphia draws up a great run play to change the math up front: Clowney is left unblocked and allowed to crash up-field, while Peters climbs to the second level to spring Ward as he turns the corner.
The player left unblocked is the most athletic, dominant player on the field. And he blew this play the hell up.
[PHI 3-3 SEA 17] (3:31) (Shotgun) B. Scott left end to SEA 20 for -3 yards (P. Ford, B. McDougald)
Clowney keeps Peters on skates to create this play, and it’s finished by Ford’s out of this world balance and short-area quickness. McDougald, around the ball as he was constantly on Sunday, is there to finish too.
[SEA 3-15 SEA 20] (2:04) (Shotgun) R. Wilson scrambles right end to SEA 38 for 18 yards (M. Jenkins)
Though he starts on the line of scrimmage, this is yet another sign of optimism that Homer is going to develop into a mighty fine passing down back. First, he absolutely flattens Brandon Graham with a strong shoulder. Then, breaks into the flat and looks back to Wilson for the pass. Seeing Wilson has begun to scramble, Homer then turns back up field and looks for work.
[SEA 3-10 SEA 11] (1:47) (Shotgun) R. Wilson pass deep right to DK. Metcalf to SEA 47 for 36 yards (M. Epps)
Wilson against cover-0 continues to be the greatest mismatch of our time, but Metcalf’s savviness needs to be appreciated again. He does so well to sell the screen to Lockett, before flying by unsuspecting defensive backs, and calls game—while continuing to display the improvement above the rim he has shown recently.
The Packers have talent at all three levels of their defense, an electric running back, a maestro at wide receiver and Aaron Rodgers at the helm; regardless of the result in the Seahawks’ looming divisional round showdown at Lambeau, they’re looking at another great game ahead.