Sometimes less is more. In the case of Seattle’s win in Chicago, less Aaron Curry and more Will Herring. I know, I’m a little surprised myself.
Each week, Brian McIntyre at Northwestfootball.net puts together a piece called “Seahawks Personnel Files”, in which the number of offensive and defensive formations, snaps counts and more are analyzed.
There’s a lot in there, so here are a few interesting things that I picked out from the Week 5 edition:
- Seattle used a 3-1-7 defensive formation (3 lineman, 1 linebacker, 7 defensive backs) twelve times, all on passing plays. This formation hasn’t been used by the Hawks before the Chicago game. I had hoped for creativity. Boy did they get creative.
- Seattle’s 3-1-7 defensive formation led to four (count em: FOUR) sacks, three completions for 39 yards and an incompletion, in eight total drop backs. Wow. A fifty percent sack rate. Also a boom or bust formation.
- Aaron Curry took 32.2% (19 of 59) of defensive snaps, down from 67.1% (49/73) in week 4. In the weeks before: 29.5%, 94.6%, 95.5%. His fluctuating play time seems to indicate that the coaches are still feeling him out and looking for the best defensive lineups.
- Out of 19 defensive players, only four played every snap: Lofa Tatupu, Lawyer Milloy, Earl Thomas and Marcus Trufant.
- Okung Island? Russell matched up with Julius Peppers, by himself, 19 times on 22 plays. Although not a perfect performance, I think we can all agree Peppers is likely pretty embarrassed being pwned so thoroughly by a rookie.
- The only position to sub on the offensive line was at left guard: Mike Gibson replaced Ben Hamilton on 4 plays (out of 71 offensive snaps). This is music to my ears … offensive line continuity is a beautiful thing.
- One of Mac’s observations was keen: “Seattle’s five biggest runs—runs of 10+ yards and the 1-yard TD run—were run behind the left side of the offensive line.” What he failed to include (maybe it was too obvious) is that Julius Peppers plays the left side of the line.
- Just one more for fun: the Bears were 0 for 13 on 3rd down. The NFL record for 3rd down shut out is 0 for 14. Nice job, Seahawks.
In hindsight, it isn’t terribly surprising that the Seahawks defense employed a lot of pass-oriented defensive sets. Before long, Chicago was in the hole, on their heels, and teams in that position (without a strong run game) tend to defer to the pass. What is encouraging, however, was the Seahawks ability to create pressure and (AND!) successfully cover deep routes and generally prevent completions.
Culter got smashed; the Bears out-coached. Next up: Max Hall. I’m already drooling.