• Yards per completion: We usually hear about yards per pass attempt. But what about yards per completion? Seattle held Cam Newton to a paltry 7.8 yards per completion Sunday. For reference, I checked the past 10 years and only two defenses in that span allowed less than nine yards per completion for a season (Pittsburgh’s defense in 2008 was the best at 8.3 yards per completion). The 1985 Bears allowed 11.3 yards per completion.
• The Seahawks’ touchdown: During the broadcast, Tim Ryan stated that Carolina had “two over one” on Jermaine Kearse. That terminology describes coverage with a safety playing on one half of the field in good position to stop deep routes to his sideline.
On the Kearse touchdown, however, Carolina actually played with a single safety, Charles Godfrey, aligned in the middle of the field. So Kearse had what would be described as single coverage. That’s why Russell Wilson elected to take the shot downfield. Kearse faced press coverage. Defensive back Josh Thomas’ objective was to get his hands on Kearse’ chest, but credit Kearse for aggressively dropping his shoulder to avoid the contact which would have impeded his acceleration upfield. Also credit Zach Miller. The Seahawks slid their line protection to the left, reducing the load on Breno Giacomini but burdening Miller with one-on-one against defensive end Charles Johnson and, because Wilson flowed to his right, Miller had to protect the edge directly in front of Wilson for, by my count, 3.7 seconds.
• Seattle’s two-point attempt: It was not a designed rollout for Wilson. The Seahawks were in an empty backfield, and to Wilson’s left Sidney Rice ran a corner route from his inside slot position and Golden Tate ran a quick slant from his wide position.
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Carolina defended that side of the field with three defenders against Seattle’s two receivers, so Wilson instead looked to his right where he had better numbers: three on three. The Seahawks had Miller and Marshawn Lynch running quick out routes. The problem was that Miller, now the primary receiver, got rocked by linebacker Thomas Davis and fell down. That would have made Lynch the next option but, for all Lynch’s laudable qualities, Wilson wouldn’t be expected to assume Lynch could beat a cornerback. So Wilson extended the play and ultimately threw to Doug Baldwin, whose main responsibility was to run a fade to clear out the area for Miller and Lynch. But he was split too wide to be a credible option in Wilson’s progression.