Saturday’s Wild Card game against the San Fransisco 49ers game was a true tale of two halves. In the first half, Seattle looked the better of the two teams. Outside of a Christian McCaffrey 68 yard run the San Francisco running game was not overly effective, whereas the Seattle runners were consistently picking up 4 to 5 yards a carry. As a result, Seattle went into halftime with a 17-16 lead.
Unfortunately, though the second half was a polar opposite to the first with San Fran winning the final thirty minutes 25-6. Seattle struggled to efficiently move the ball and turned it over on two of their four drives in the half, whereas the 49ers scored on their first four drives of the half. The Seattle defense had some really questionable moments throughout Saturday’s game. Down we are going to break down their three most questionable plays, all three of which happened on touchdowns.
Touchdown #1 - Brock Purdy 3-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey
This play is a blown assignment by Mike Jackson. Seattle is in zone coverage here, with the corners at the top and bottom of the screen having cloud flat coverage, meaning they are supposed to cover anyone who goes near the sidelines and around the line of scrimmage. However, Mike Jackson appears to be playing man coverage rather than zone. He hardly looks at Brock Purdy and travels with Brandon Aiyuk inside, indicating to me that he is in man. It is possible he saw George Kittle stay in to block and lost sight of ChristianMcCaffrey, so he decided to give up his flat responsibilities to carry Aiyuk inside, but I have a difficult time believing he made the decision that quickly. Once McCaffrey is able to leak out the backfield and Purdy is able to step up in the pocket it is an easy walk-in touchdown. Notably, Tariq Woolen, the corner who was on the opposite side of Mike Jackson was the second closest Seahawk to McCaffrey at the time he got into the endzone, showing just how badly Jackson lost his assignment.
Touchdown #2 - Brock Purdy 7-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Mitchell
This play is yet another blown coverage, this time by Cody Barton. Barton is supposed to be in a hook zone on the defenses left, meaning he is tasked with defending the middle left quarter of the field in the short to intermediate passing game. Instead, Barton loses eye discipline off of the snap by stepping up way too much with the play action. Then he almost seems to panic as once Purdy looks to the defense’s right, he gets into a full sprint and runs to that side of the field. His nervousness can be seen as once he is about to cross the goal line, he looks back to try and find someone to cover because he got himself into no man’s land. As a result of Barton vacating his area Elijah Mitchell is able to break it down at the line of scrimmage presenting a scrambling Purdy with a wide-open target for another walk-in touchdown.
Uchenna Nwosu also deserves part of the blame here as he appears to be tasked with covering the flat, but he instead gets behind the line of scrimmage forcing himself to run at Kyle Juszczyk with his back to the line of scrimmage. Another thing of note is just how open 4 of the 5 pass catchers were on this play. Tariq Woolen got his press wrong at the top of the screen resulting in him slipping and Aiyuk being wide open. Ryan Neal got caught flat footed off of the run fake resulting in George Kittle getting in behind him and as previously discussed Mitchell and Juszczyk were also open.
Touchdown #3 - Brock Purdy 74-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel
A third non-sneak touchdown and a third blown coverage assignment by the Seahawks. Seattle is once again in zone coverage and they yet again overplay the run fake. Ryan Neal flies up to try and stop the run, Tanner Muse flows down then misses grabbing Deebo Samuel, and Mike Jackson steps up way too aggressively resulting in him getting lost. Ryan Neal’s effort and eyes are the reason that rather than Purdy having to likely throw this ball away, resulting in a 3rd and 8, it ends in a 74-yard touchdown. He is the defender who is supposed to sit right in the area where Deebo Samuel makes the catch, but instead Neal is 7-8 yards away from Deebo at the catch point. Neal starts to pursue Samuel, then slows down before picking it back up and then slowing down a second time. Had Neal pursued him aggressively the second he realized he missed his assignment, there is at least a chance he would trip him up around the 40-yard line. Instead, Samuel is able to score the dagger touchdown.
Seattle finished the day allowing 505 yards of total offense, allowing the 49ers to put up a season-high in points along the way.