The Seattle Seahawks passing attack has not been hitting the same heights this season as they were in 2022. Through 9 weeks they are 18th in team passer rating and expected points added, 19th in yards per game and 23rd in interception percentage. Those struggles have been especially apparent in their past two games against the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. In that short stretch Geno Smith has a completion percentage of just 55 percent, passer rating of 65.6 and has 2 touchdowns with 3 interceptions.
Luckily though for Geno and company, they are going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the league against the Washington Commanders in Week 10. Washington is 26th in passer rating allowed, 27th in yards allowed per game and expected points added, and 20th in interception percentage. In other words, it has the makings of a classic get right game for a reeling Seattle aerial attack. Down below we will review how the Seahawks will go about attacking such a porous passing defense.
Washington starting corners
As important as it is for a defense to have an elite pass rush (something Washington had prior to their Montez Sweat and Chase Young trades) or solid safeties, a pass defense is only as good as their starting corners. Two of the Commanders starting corners this year, Kendall Fuller and rookie Emmanuel Forbes, have struggled badly to put it lightly. Among qualified corners this season Fuller’s passer rating against of 118.3 is the 13th worst mark and Forbes’ 10.8 yards allowed per target is 6th worst. Their other starting corner, Benjamin St. Juste, has been significantly better as he is allowing just 7.2 yards per target and a passer rating of 82.4.
But, the main topic of discussion in regards to this defense has been the struggles of Forbes who has been notably been feasted upon by A.J. Brown twice this season.
Emmanuel Forbes has allowed 401 receiving yards through five games this season.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) October 6, 2023
For reference, a CB hasn’t allowed over 400 yards through the first five games of a season since four seasons ago (2019).
After yesterday’s game, Darius Slay (Eagles CB) told Forbes to “keep his… pic.twitter.com/PGzLFHxfjn
Coming out of Mississippi State, Forbes was viewed as a prospect who might take some time to fully develop but he tested well athletically so the appeal was there.
Forbes got cooked by A.J. Brown on this play in a game in which he gave up 7 completions, 110 yards and a passer rating of 127.1 against. Brown runs a simple stutter and go where he runs about 8 yards, starts to break it down as if he was going to run a curl and then he breaks it up field on a go. Forbes bites on the stutter part of the route which allows Brown to create a ton of separation for an easy touchdown pass for Jalen Hurts.
AJ Brown vs Emmanuel Forbes - Part II pic.twitter.com/dH14ZMdQ7z— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) November 2, 2023
On this play which came in the second meeting between Forbes and Brown on the season, Brown beats him on a deep curl. Forbes is giving Brown a ton of space off of the snap and is playing with outside leverage. Brown quickly reduces the space, shows a stutter and breaks it up field like he did on the prior play. However, this time, Brown only takes a few more steps up field before snapping it back for an easy completion with there being roughly 5 yards of separation at the catch point.
Forbes’ play led to his benching a few weeks back against the Atlanta Falcons, but he’s since returned to the lineup.
How will Seattle attack them?
DK Metcalf should have a massive game. He is not the caliber of receiver that A.J. Brown is, but they both have similar athletic qualities, catch radii and overall deep threat capabilities. As a result look for the Seahawks to try and get Metcalf on Forbes as often as possible and then when they do look for Metcalf to try and attack down the field where Forbes has struggled the most.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference