With Russell Wilson in the ball game the Seattle Seahawks ran the ball three times in a row three times. The subsequent passes all scored touchdowns. Anecdote, I get it. Pattern finding, yes. Two runs preceded Wilson’s touchdown pass late in the third quarter. After that he was out of the game.
Wilson’s interception was the third of three straight pass plays. Watching it live I thought it was a bad throw to a covered receiver. Re-watching it, it’s a good bit stupider than just that. Let’s begin by showing these two incriminating photos.
Free yardage over the middle. Jacob Hollister is not just open he’s undefended. The yards after catch expectancy has to be 5+. Hollister wasn’t obscured by defensive linemen either.
Wilson only wants to throw to DK Metcalf. This really cheeses me off.
Here’s the sequence which produced the interception: inside handoff to Carson for four, rollout left against the blitz which leads to Will Dissly wide open in the middle of the field—he gains 13, badly underthrown screen pass incomplete—this effer had potential,
and then this.
Pre-snap motion tells us a little about the coverage. No one follows Tyler Lockett. This is important because Seattle now has three wide receivers right and two on the left. New York is intimating that they will blitz on the left, that is, the offensive right. Depending on who blitzes Seattle has a good chance of finding a mismatch or an uncovered receiver on the right. Lockett seems to get it. He points out the roil of threatening men rocking on their heels and starting and stopping sprints.
Once the play is set in motion we learn a few things. Chris Carson will stay in to block. New York’s blitz will (surprise!) attempt to overload the right side of the offense. Just behind the blitzers is likely to be where the coverage is weakest. Frankie Luvu drops into spy/underneath coverage to Wilson’s left. That means two receivers on the right are contending with two defenders, one so far back as to be little but a last line of defense. Two receivers on the left are covered by four defenders. By running left Wilson runs away from his outlet and mismatch and toward the teeth of the defense.
It looks like Metcalf roasts corner Bless Austin with an’ out and up. Austin plays it off like he’s supposed to be there but I’m doubtful. Maybe Wilson thought Metcalf was free to the end zone. The way he passed it up wildly, specifically that he passed it toward the middle of the field, suggests he may have entirely missed Marcus Maye picking up Metcalf deep.
For all of the bad decision making, simply throwing the pass very near or over the sideline could have resulted in a touchdown and could not have resulted in a pick.
A series of mistakes is duly punished by a fantastic interception. It sure seems like the Jets played Wilson like a fiddle, dictating and anticipating his every action. That whole sequence is right out of a defensive coordinator’s daydream.
Apart from five passes in a row which occurred during Seattle’s two-minute offense, Wilson only threw three straight one other time. A perfectly cromulent speed out went for three on third and three. It moved the chains.
I already covered one of Wilson’s touchdown passes. Here are the other three.
David Moore motions wide. That draws one safety wide to the left and puts the other safety dead middle more or less opposite Carson. Metcalf feasts on single coverage.
Offset I, Seahawks run play action. Dissly comes screaming underneath completely uncovered.
Slow-developing crossing route by Moore, Wilson has tons of time thanks to New York playing non-pass rushing personnel, some actual good blocks, and a fortuitous dying cockroach by Damien Lewis.
The Jets’ pass rushers are Jabari Zuniga, a rookie run-oriented defensive end who has one hurry in 84 snaps. Folorunso Fatukasi, a sizable defensive tackle who has 10 hurries and 3 sacks in 810 career defensive snaps. Quinnen Williams and Luvu, Luvu has three sacks and 24 pressures in 632 snaps. But that’s 20 pressures in 2018, three in 2019 and just one in 121 snaps in 2020. Williams is New York’s best pass rusher, but the pass rusher with the most hurries is Jordan Jenkins. Jenkins was out injured. New York’s next four best pass rushers as measured by hurries all played but were all sidelined for this snap. The result: oodles of time.
On Wilson’s interception? All three of the Jets’ best pass rushers are in, playing down lineman and rushing the passer. How’d that go again?