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Waldron Watch, Week 6: Alex Collins edition

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

On Sunday, we got to see Shane Waldron lead a Russell Wilson-less offense wire-to-wire, and the results were... mixed. To say the best. The Seahawks dropped their second overtime game this season, which hasn’t happened for a while. And for a team that has consistently made its mark by winning close games and orchestrating fourth quarter comebacks in the face of certain defeat, this once sterling squad may have lost a bit of its luster. But this isn’t the first time that they’ve had their backs up against the proverbial wall, so to speak.

So rather than focus on the negatives of what we all witnessed last Sunday, I would rather turn attention to a more positive topic: the performance of Alex Collins. Specifically, the performance of Alex Collins on Seattle’s first touchdown drive of the afternoon.

While the passing game had some key moments, the Seahawks leaned heavily on the player who they once selected with the 171st overall pick in 2016. Re-watching this drive, in particular, a couple things jumped out at me immediately:

  • Alex Collins is clearly the only other running back on this team outside of Chris Carson with starting-caliber field vision. His decisive cuts and decision making are a sight to behold.
  • Every run called on this series went to the right side. The Seahawks elected to run away from Cameron Heyward and towards TJ Watt. This strategy seemed to pay off, which leads to the next point...
  • The blocking of Gabe Jackson and Kyle Fuller. Most noticeably on the first run and the long run that starts around :23 seconds.
  • On the third play in the clip, Will Dissly and Gerald Everett are both aligned on the right side, with the Seahawks lining up in an unbalanced formation. Everett and Dissly make key blocks to spring Collins for a first down, with Gerald making a great effort to seal off TJ Watt, which is no small feat for any blocker.
  • Brandon Shell had some ups and downs, but he twice helped to clear a big lane on this drive, most notably on Collins’s touchdown plunge.
  • DK Metcalf is a dang competitor, and I don’t even care that he sometimes lets his emotions get the best of him; he blocks hard and seems to really take pride in using his physical capabilities to go after defenders in the run game. Even when he is just using his large frame to create a shield, he makes an impact. Metcalf is a football player, and a special one at that. He may make us shake our heads on occasion, but damn is he fun to watch. And he is possibly the only Seahawks receiver to gain positive yards on WR screens with any consistency, so there is that.

Travis “Homerun” Homer and a Penny Hart Sighting

Seeing Travis Homer get some action and have success is wonderful. While he has been primarily functioning as a change-of-pace back with receiving capabilities, his value as a runner should not be overlooked. He may not be destined to take on a featured role anytime soon, but his output as a role player has proven to be quite valuable. He may only have 4 carries on the season thus far (same as Geno Smith, one more than Freddie Swain), but he has proven reliable as a receiver with 7 receptions on 7 targets for 102 yards. This is second on the team to DeeJay Dallas, though Homer has been far more efficient with his receptions, as 5 of 7 targets have gone for a first down, per Pro Football Reference.

Nothing much to say about this one other than it was fun to see Penny Hart getting in on the action, and this was a great grab along the sideline.

Looking forward to the Saints

Shane Waldron will have his hands full on Monday night. With the Seahawks set to take on a dominant run defense in the New Orleans Saints, the run-heavy strategy is unlikely to have the same impact that it did in Pittsburgh. And not only this, but the team is going to be shorthanded again, with Alex Collins recovering from an injury sustained last week. This is unwelcome news for a couple reasons.

So while we will wait to see if Penny can make a decisive return from injury, we know that Seattle’s running back corps is dwindling, and with many games ahead, this team will need to see more players step up significantly in the coming weeks if they have any hope of salvaging this season. In the meantime, I intend to take a page out of the book of Russell Wilson and find the small joys mixed in with all the heartbreak.