Four Russell Wilson touchdown passes? Rare. A thought about each:
1. Corner route to Zach Miller: When tight end Luke Willson went in motion and safety Josh Evans followed, it was confirmed to Wilson that Jacksonville was in man-to-man coverage.
The quarterback’s job then was to sell the run fake to Marshawn Lynch. Wilson did so by projecting casual body language — including momentarily keeping his back entirely to the defense — suggesting he had in fact given the ball to Lynch.
Linebacker Geno Hayes, who had Miller in coverage, bought all of it and Miller, who had executed a diving fake cut-block, rose and found himself all alone.
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2. Flat route to Miller: The motioning of Doug Baldwin to fake a slot reverse caused the Jaguars to fail in communication between the linebacker Paul Posluszny and safety Johnathan Cyprien. To augment the backfield fake, the offensive line stepped in unison to the left, though Wilson was to roll right. Thus cornerback Mike Harris, who had aligned much like a 3-4 rush linebacker, was unblocked.
Wilson’s pump-fake/pirouette will leave Harris shamed in film study and Jaguars coach Gus Bradley wondering how a cornerback could look so clunky.
3. Seam-read post to Sidney Rice: With Jacksonville in a 5-under 2-deep zone, and Seattle in an empty backfield with three receivers to Wilson’s right and two to his left, Posluszny had to favor the three-receiver side. Critical errors were made in coverage by Jaguar safeties — who each were aligned too wide, allowing Rice easy access to the middle of the field — and by Geno Hayes — who inexplicably stood flat-footed while Rice sauntered to the post.
Seattle offered no fake or misdirection on the play so Hayes should have known to run with Rice.
4. Naked right flanker post to Rice: Seattle was effective all day with naked bootleg passes. These plays involve the faking to Lynch, or another halfback, to one side with Wilson then rolling to the opposite side with a pass/run option.
When the Hawks fake the wide zone, as opposed to the inside zone, the offensive linemen tend to stand straighter as they are attempting to block their defensive counterparts. This seems to add an additional level of deception as defenders are momentarily convinced that the ball is with the halfback.
On this play, Wilson had time to go to his fourth option, Rice, and float a “50/50” ball to the end zone — just in front of where I happened to have been standing. With the ball in the air, I thought Wilson made a poor decision but Evans’ poor ball skills on the play was no match for Rice, a one-time “Mr. Basketball” in the state of South Carolina.
Former Husky and NFL quarterback Hugh Millen will be providing analysis after each Seahawks game this season.