Last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers the Seahawks only managed to score a single touchdown. However there were a few things that stood out to me about this touchdown which are key points of emphasis for this team strategically that I wanted to take a look at.
There are three specific plays which occurred back to back in the early fourth quarter, the first is this 15 yard run by Robert Turbin.
11:05 remaining 4th quarter:
The Seahawks here are lined up in a fairly common formation for them with Zach Miller motioned to the left side of the line, Derrick Coleman as the fullback in the backfield and two receivers split out wide.
The ball is snapped, this is most likely an inside zone run to the strong side; in this case the left side of the line. However the defense has crashed hard to the left so Turbin elects to take the cutback lane to the right.
Turbin gains 15 yards on the cutback. This play is crucial as this kind of run is essential to the run-heavy Seahawks philosophy as well as for setting up play action.
10:28 remaining 4th quarter:
On this next play you can see that most likely due to the Seahawks previous run play Carolina safety Charles Godfrey is sort of floating toward the line of scrimmage as Russell Wilson fakes the handoff to Turbin.
Because Charles Godfrey is playing close to line on the play-fake, and because safety Mike Mitchell is on the other side of the field, cornerback Josh Thomas has no help over the top as Stephen Williams burns him down field. Williams unfortunately however drops the pass.
10:21 remaining 4th quarter:
Clearly Darrell Bevell liked what he saw from the previous play as he once more runs a play action pass as Carolina’s defense again has only one deep safety. The play fake seems to keep Safety Charles Godfrey rooted to the center of the field just long enough as once again Josh Thomas’ Man takes off on a deep Go route.
And here’s the catch, Jermaine Kearse burns Josh Thomas deep while Godfrey is unable to react in time to prevent the completion. This was how Bevell exploited a weakness in the secondary that he both saw, and helped to create through the run game in order to score the deciding touchdown.
This kind of sequence is exactly why the Seahawks offense functions the way that it does, because it is the one way that the Hawks can both practice ball control and reduce turnovers, while also maximizing explosive play opportunities. This is the core of what Pete Carroll’s X and O’s philosophy is about, Ball control, and creating explosive plays for yourself while minimizing the other team’s explosive plays. So keep a close eye on the big play’s this year, chances are more often then not that they’ll have been set up by the punishing Seahawks run game.