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Every Tariq Woolen Target, Weeks 7 & 8: Who Do We Appreciate

And we’re all caught up, all eight weeks

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers
rare footage of Tariq Woolen chasing a WR into the end zone
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As the season progresses, these missives may well get shorter and shorter. You know, as NFL quarterbacks get wise to the folly of targeting Seattle Seahawks rookie Tariq Woolen.

It’s already started to happen. Just six throws went his direction in the Week 7 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers; a mere three during the very public pantsing of the New York Giants “offense” in Week 8.

To the clips! Since there were only nine targets, I took the liberty of including an extra play of import, showcasing beautiful communication in the secondary.

Oh yeah. Click here for Part 1 in this series, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3.

Week 7 vs. Chargers

By way of preview, this game represents the beginning of QBs figuring out how to not get beat by Woolen. And it usually means avoiding the sideline. Justin Herbert and Daniel Jones will combine to produce five completions against the Seahawks rookie sensation. Four of those will come when the receiver breaks to the middle and escapes Woolen’s clutches. Including the touchdown, the only touchdown, the ugly touchdown that blemishes Woolen’s stat sheet but serves to remind us he has not reached his ceiling, far from it.

QTR 1, 2:54 remaining, incomplete

Cornerbacks of recent yore (since Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell at least) have tended to arrive either too early — flag — or too late — complete pass. Woolen’s timing is already top tier, and he angles his body enough to avoid too much contact before the ball.

QTR 2, 14:42 remaining, 14-yard completion

Probably complete even if he doesn’t slip, right?

The man can tackle. Again, only one missed on the season, and the form is something else, too. How is he only eight games in to his entire career? Another angle, to appreciate the recovery and takedown.

QTR 2, 11:03 remaining, 10-yard completion

Told you these types of negative plays were coming. And that’s fine. Eventually they’ll turn into tipped passes, and then the fun REALLY starts.

QTR 2, 10:26 remaining, incomplete

Woolen and Ryan Neal are getting on the same page, as they should, and indeed, what’s not to love. Remember they’re also playing their first few games together.

QTR 2, 9:43 remaining, TOUCHDOWN

All it takes is two guys getting in each other’s way, oh so briefly, for Mike Williams to get the teensy bit of daylight, and score the first (only) touchdown on Woolen’s watch.

In the space of five minutes, Herbert targets Woolen five times. It ends happily for the Chargers star quarterback. Which is why it’s kinda weird that in the entire second half, he throws to that side only once.

QTR 4, 14:44 remaining, incomplete

Woolen gets away with plenty of contact and a DPI call wouldn’t have been egregious. Better to be lucky and good than just lucky, I suppose.

BONUS FOOTAGE: Team defense baby

Watch Neal read the play all the way, from before the snap, run up and motion Woolen to go wide, then deny the pass. Such good communication and execution from the right side of the secondary. It’s like they’ve been playing together for years, not just month. Singular.

P.S. Pay Ryan Neal.

Week 8 vs. Giants

Three targets only from Jones, all in the second half.

QTR 3, 6:13 remaining, incomplete

What’s not to like here?

  • again with the timing
  • the change of direction is elite
  • what a physical presence at the catch point
  • the passion afterward

Oh yeah, Woolen is pumped (and jacked) to finally make a play on the ball. Another angle:

QTR 3, 1:52 remaining, 21-yard completion

Like in the Chargers game, Woolen is able to hand check the receiver without drawing a flag. He hasn’t been penalized since Week 5, by the way. In fact, there’s a lot of contact while the ball sails through the air, and the receiver is as fortunate to come away with a catch as Woolen is to avoid being penalized.

I do love it when they let Seahawks cornerbacks play, though, don’t you? It’s very nostalgic, unless you’re on a different NFC West team. Then it’s more like “shit not this again dammit.”

QTR 4, 5:04 remaining, 27-yard completion

Three observations about this particular explosive pass play:

A) The desperation tackle is almost funny. But it works! That’s what’s important!

B) Watch Woolen hesitate and consider helping the WR who’s crossed over into the open space he vacated. Woolen sticks with his man, a good decision in the end, but the poor angle gives Jones a little more room with which to work.

C) Lot of time for the QB + well-run route makes any corner’s job nearly impossible.

Dear reader, we are all caught up, You’ve seen all the targets, all the big plays, all the evidence of a learning curve being climbed swiftly by a massive talent.

By way of conclusion, un update on Woolen’s stats, courtesy of the fine folks at pro-football-reference, without whom I would be completely lost.

18-34 for 250 yards

1 TD allowed


47.1 passer rating against

7 passes defensed

27 tackles

1 (one) missed tackle

Congratulations to the Defensive Rookie of the Month. He earned every pixel of that award.