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Breaking down the 5 longest touchdown passes against the Seahawks in 2022

Prepare for a lot of coverage busts.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks pass defense wasn’t a strong unit last season, as they were league average in most statistics. They were tied for 15th in yards allowed per attempt (6.6), 14th in yards allowed (3,595), 17th in pass defense DVOA, and 15th in passing touchdowns against (23). It wasn’t a secondary that was singlehandedly going to win teams games, but they did enough to get by and are adding Devon Witherspoon who was the fifth pick in this year’s draft.

Despite holding their own though it did feel like this was a defense that was prone to allowing big passing touchdowns. In 2022 they allowed nine touchdowns through the air of 25 or more yards which is a back-breaking statistic. Down below we are going to break down the five longest touchdown passing plays against this defense and see how likely it is to repeat in 2022.

vs. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy 67 yard reception

Jerry Jeudy against Coby Bryant in the slot with no help over the top in Bryant’s first regular season game is about as unfair as a mismatch gets. Pre-snap Seattle was showing two high safeties and two defenders over three receivers on the top of the screen to indicate zone coverage. Off of the snap, though, it turns into cover 1 rat (linebacker drops in the middle field hook zone) man and the defense’s right safety steps up and takes the tight slot receiver. This pre-snap disguise with the defense’s left safety playing the deep half effectively puts Bryant on an island with no help over the top if the route is run to the field side, which it is. Jeudy embarrasses Bryant early in the route creating a ton of natural separation. The former Cincinnati Bearcat is able to catch up and nearly make a play at the catch point as it was a badly underthrown ball by Russell Wilson. Jeudy is able to the run away from Josh Jones for the longest receiving touchdown allowed by the Seattle defense.

vs, San Francisco 49ers: George Kittle 54 yard reception

I’ve watched this play a dozen times and I have zero idea as to what Woolen is seeing. Seattle is in a Cover 3 defense with Woolen as the right deep third corner, meaning he’s supposed to be exactly where Kittle is when he makes the grab. But instead Woolen crashes into the middle intermediate part of the field as it looks like he thought Kittle was running a deep over instead of a corner. Regardless though, he abandoned his zone for no reason, as even if Kittle ran a deep over he would’ve been running it right into Cody Barton and Quandre Diggs, so there was no need for him to pick Kittle up. If Woolen stayed at home this likely would’ve been a lost play for San Fran as the next read for Purdy was to throw the swing screen to Christian McCaffrey but it was read well by the flowing Seahawks linebackers.

at 49ers: Ross Dwelley 38 yard reception

This one falls onto the shoulders of Woolen, who lost his discipline on the play. Seattle is in Cover 3 zone defense, meaning the three defenders are each taking a deep third of the field. In this case, the three deep defenders are Mike Jackson on the bottom of the screen, Quandre Diggs in the middle third and Tariq Woolen taking the deep left. Post-snap though it doesn’t exactly reflect the zone coverage but that’s because Mike Jackson is able to effectively become a man defender on Brandon Aiyuk. This is due to the fact that there are no 49ers receivers running routes to the bottom of the screen. Woolen thinks he is in a similar situation as he carries Ray-Ray McCloud lll to the inside which abandons his zone with that hole being filled by Dwelly who is running a deep out. If Woolen stays disciplined and hands McCloud lll over to Diggs, Jimmy Garoppolo likely gets sacked. Instead it goes for a 38 yard touchdown.

vs. Las Vegas Raiders: Mack Hollins 36 yard touchdown

This is a beautifully designed play. The Las Vegas Raiders run a hard play-action pass with Mack Hollins acting like a blocker. Once Ryan Neal engages with him, Mack Hollins comes off of it and is wide open for what might be the easiest 30+ yard touchdown from last season. Diggs understandably vacates the middle intermediate part of the field once he recognizes play-action pass and sinks to help on Davante Adams. This in turn leaves Hollins open over the middle of the field for the touchdown.

at Detroit Lions: TJ Hockenson 32 yard touchdown

To me, this looks like Cover 3 zone because of how Seattle handles the motion, how the top corner is aligned pre-snap and how most of the defense plays it post snap. Woolen though looks like he is in man coverage. Pre-snap after the first motion it appears as if he is communicating he’s going to pick up Josh Reynolds, expecting him to be the outermost receiver and likely the only route runner on that side of the field. But the at-snap motion changes that along with Hockenson running an out route. For me, this one once again falls on Woolen. He was the defender who was supposed to be taking the deep third on the defense’s right but didn’t, which resulted in the walk-in touchdown.

For as good as Woolen was last season, he had quite a few momentary lapses, something that is going to have to get cleaned up this season if he’s to improve off of what was an impressive rookie campaign.