Does it happen? Can it happen? My intention was to post gifs exactly as described above. Surely in the 57 snaps Seattle played on offense against the Rams in Week 15, Seattle’s line would get the better of Donald once. This was a bit of a down year for the dude. He did turn 30. But apart from one snap the best I could find were some inglorious stalemates—many, of course. Even the best pass rushers achieve no more than a draw on most snaps.
Donald plays so many snaps that sometimes he coasts. Many snaps he’s largely ineffectual defending the run—little but a hat-on-a-hat guy. But who cares? I wanted blood. I wanted a puff piece. I wanted to totally mischaracterize the truth in order to give Seahawks fans a little break from all this damn doom and gloom. But what I got from watching the All-22 of Week 15 is that Donald is so in Russell Wilson’s dome that he doesn’t even need to win his matchup to scare Wilson pissless. Cumulative trauma is a bitch.
This is about as good as it got for Seattle’s single blocks by run blockers: a feisty effort by Ethan Pocic which was not a win, but which could’ve been a win if Damien Lewis’s pull block wasn’t so damn bad. Po frustrated Donald. He got under him, was stood up but not forced back at the critical moment, and overall did a reasonably good job surviving a hard matchup to set up his side of the hole. That’s what we got. You’re gonna wanna pop that corn on the stove top for this flick.
The sideline camera shows the spacing better.
57 snaps of a game that was tied in the fourth, and this is among the best efforts I could find—a draw but like a draw with the black pieces.
Next snap Gabe Jackson was able to do this.
Funny how often frustration precedes failure in pro sports. Jackson earned a pretty damn good win pass blocking, but Donald’s assignment was flat stupid. Coach served him on a platter with that design.
Here’s an effective double on Donald. Well double/not double, as you’ll see.
Despite what Cris Collinsworth may have have you believe this Sunday, Donald is not a god. He’s just an extremely good player with a singular skill set. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the only drive Seattle was able to score a touchdown, it also had its best efforts blocking Donald. Which got me thinking about a quote in a crossword my wife and I completed last night.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lax Tax
The internet is now telling me it’s actually “Lao Tzu.” (for fear that the humor deficient may not get this and I accidentally besmirch my wife’s intelligence, I assure you we got the answer right, baked or not.) (I was baked. She was not.)
Mike Solari was fired on Friday. Which means Andy Dickerson begins his journey of a thousands miles as Seattle’s next offensive line coach. That single step, to me, is a doozy. Dickerson must find a better way to contain Donald. Here’s a representative play of what happens and how when he’s not contained.
Lewis is beat. Pocic does nothing to slow Donald. Wilson is sacked. It’s a hustle sack and Donald gets his share of hustle sacks. Which is one reason he feasts on Wilson.
This was a slow game for Donald. He was mostly contained. PFR credits him with one pressure, one sack, and no other hits on the quarterback. That squares with my viewing of the tape. Lewis was matched against Donald an awful lot, and he didn’t really do well. Jackson did the best, but LA rarely ever matched Donald opposite Jackson. Dictating matchups is a advantage of the defense. Which (should) force a team to avoid weak links on the offensive line. Seattle never seems to get that. It overpays one or two positions and develops no depth.
Donald didn’t win this game on the day it was played. He won it weeks earlier when he injured Wilson. Week 15 Wilson was skittish and inaccurate—clearly not ready to play. Whoever’s idea it was to get #LetRussCrook trending, shame on you. The man has a family.
Wilson needs better pass blocking, right? We’ve heard it before. But that’s a big ask. And maybe not even a wise one, because Wilson often makes good pass blocking kinda impossible. Let’s shrink our scope. Donald demolishes the Seahawks. Figure that one out, Dickerson. Seattle is forever trotting out a line with at least one and often two or three or four very weak links. Figure that one out too, Dickerson, Carroll, Schneider.
Young bodies are resilient; old ones, brittle as dried bird shit. Maybe the NFL is a league now tilted in favor of young quarterbacks. That would be quite a shift. But given that ours is right around the age Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and Donovan McNabb and Steve McNair, etc. began to irreparably fall apart, we’re in the business of installing grab bars in the shower. Someone buy Andy a good Makita.