Double Impact …5 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks vs. the Redskins …
[Hank Williams, Jr playing:] “Are you ready for some football?” Yeah Baby, here we are at long last – back in the playoffs! Seattle finished the 2012 regular season 11-5 – just the 3rd time in franchise history that the Seahawks have topped the 11 win mark. But of course … the Hawks have their sights set on a much higher prize – the Lombardi Trophy. The Seahawks enter the playoffs on a hot streak, having won 7 of their last 8 games and outscoring teams 170-43 over their last 4 games. They are a team that no one truly wants to play. Well on Sunday, the Hawks face another team that enters the playoffs equally hot – the Washington Redskins. I said back at the end of November that this Redskin team was one to keep an eye on, and they certainly proved that, winning their last 7 games in a row. For most of this season, most of the national discussion surrounding who will win Offensive Rookie of the Year has centered on the first 2 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft – the Colts Andrew Luck … and the Redskins Robert Griffin III. After the Bear Beat-down in Chicago though, the rest of the country woke up to the fact that there was a 3rd Candidate – one who hadn’t been handed his job from Day 1 … an unheralded too short 3rd Round Pick who actually had to earn his position as the starting quarterback of an NFL Team … and to prove that he belonged week in and week out – Seattle’s Russell Wilson. This Sunday afternoon it’s Griffin and Wilson – mano a mano – each with a chance to pad their resume … and to get one step closer to football’s ultimate prize. Here are 5 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks as they face Griffin and this high powered Redskin Team …
We’ve taken a look at 3 of the 5 Keys already heading in to this game on Sunday. For those who might have missed them, here are the links to those pieces …Key #1: Put a Governor on the Twin Engine Race Car …Key #2: Contain the Clone …Key #3: Double the Guard and Defend the Frontier …
We turn our attention next to one of the more obvious of the Keys this weekend … Put the Ball in the Hands of Mr. Double Trouble …
Before we begin our discussion surrounding Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Offense, let’s take a look at how the numbers match up against the Redskins Pass Defense …
|Seahawks Passing Offense vs. Redskins Pass Defense …|
|Seahawks Off. Category||NFL Rank||Redskins Def. Category||NFL Rank|
|25.8 Points Scored/Game||9th Most||24.3 Points Allowed/Game||22nd|
|189.4 Pass Yds/Game||27th||281.9 Pass Yds/Game Allwd||3rd Most|
|45 Passes of 20 Yards+||21st||58 Passes of 20 Yards+ Allowed||6th Most|
|40.25% 3rd Down Conv Rate||12th||Allw 44.2% of 3rd Down Conv||32nd|
|33 Sacks Allowed||12th Fewest||32 Sacks||23rd|
|27 Passing TD’s||7th Most||31 Passing TD’s Allwd||2nd Most|
|8.0 Yards/ Pass Attempt||3rd Highest||7.4 Yards/Pass Attempt Allwd||tied for 20th|
|100.0 Passer Rating for Russell Wilson||4th Best||87.0 QB Passer Rating Against||18th Best|
For Redskin fans who haven’t seen Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Attack – just superimpose Robert Griffin III in a Seahawks uniform and make him about 3 inches shorter. That’s the kind of impact that he has had on Hawks this season. Let me put it another way …
|2012 Top 10 Performances by Rookie Quarterbacks (sorted by QB Rating)|
|1. Robert Griffin III||11/18 vs. Eagles||14||15||93.3%||200||4||0||158.3|
|2. Robert Griffin III||9/9 vs. Saints||19||26||73.1%||320||2||0||139.9|
|3. Russell Wilson||10/14 vs. Patriots||16||27||59.3%||320||2||0||139.9|
|4. Russell Wilson||12/30 vs. Rams||15||19||78.9%||250||1||0||136.3|
|5. Robert Griffin III||11/22 vs. Cowboys||19||27||70.4%||304||4||1||131.8|
|6. Russell Wilson||11/11 vs. Jets||12||19||63.2%||188||2||0||131.0|
|7. Russell Wilson||11/4 vs. Vikings||16||24||66.7%||173||3||0||127.3|
|8. Russell Wilson||11/25 vs. Dolphins||21||27||77.8%||224||2||0||125.9|
|9. Ryan Tannehill||12/16 vs. Jaguars||22||28||78.6%||220||2||0||123.2|
|10. Russell Wilson||12/23 vs. 49ers||15||21||71.4%||171||4||1||115.3|
So, taking a look at the Top 10 Performances by all of the rookie quarterbacks this season … Robert Griffin III had 3 … and Russell Wilson had 6 of the 10 best performances in terms of QB Rating this year. That is remarkable consistency considering some of the opponents on that list.
As Mike Sando pointed out this week …
Wilson leads the NFL in QBR since Week 10 (84.1) and ranks second to Manning since Week 5 (81.7). He tied Manning's rookie record for touchdown passes with 26 even though Seattle kept its offense under wraps for the first few weeks of the season. His plus-16 margin of touchdowns to interceptions was the best by a rookie in NFL history. Wilson posted an 8-0 starting record at home. He also leads the NFL in QBR on the road since Week 8 and it's not close (92.7 for Wilson, 88.7 for Ryan and 84.7 for Manning). He has 10 total touchdowns and just one turnover on the road over that span. Wilson has five touchdown passes and no picks in his last three road games.
Source:ESPN.com Mike Sando’s MVP Watch
For those Redskins fans who haven’t actually seen him in action, here are some highlights of him from the Seahawks Week 6 win over the Patriots …Russell Wilson Highlights vs. Patriots 10/14/12
In a word, he’s been amazing. In terms of the Seahawks Offense, as I mentioned before, they utilize many of the exact same schemes as those of the Redskins, so expect to see the Pistol, the Zone Read Option, various elements of the West Coast Offense, and the kitchen sink, as Pete Carroll is anything BUT predictable.
Pete Carroll was on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk after the 49er game on Christmas Eve and gave some fascinating insights not only on the Seahawk Offense … but on his mentality as a coach …
Huard: “… and you watch those plays last night. Those are some of the same plays -- tell me if I’m wrong here. Was the touchdown to Baldwin not the same similar concept as the throw to Charlie Martin Week 1 on the corner route in Arizona? Are they some of the same concepts and plays you’re running?”
Carroll: “Yeah, you’d be surprised how similar those are. I mean, there’s subtleties on how we move stuff around. There’s splits and things like that. But, yeah – had we, we’re so much better now – we would have won the Arizona game. They wouldn’t have been able to keep us out on 3 shots to get in – I mean, there’s just no way. We’re so much more efficient. That’s a great throw by Russell. You know, they’ve got a little combination coverage there on the guys right there. They jumped the heck out of Golden because he’s caught the Chicago touchdown and he caught one – you know, Carolina – caught a couple of those and made some big plays on that route. Which, it’s just a matter of reading it out for the quarterback. And on the combo they wind out inside of the corner route and they couldn’t catch up – he throws a great throw to the back flag – and a great catch, you know. So, that’s just getting better – them improving and understanding – they’ve thrown hundreds of those now. When we used to throw about 10 or 20 of them – now we’ve thrown hundreds, so it makes a difference in our ability to execute.”
Huard: “So in some ways that is the essence of efficiency right?”
Carroll: “We can’t make up new plays week in and week out across the board. There’s just no way. There’s little things that we do – little wrinkles that you put in and stuff, but basically you continue to function with your basic stuff. We’ve run inside-outside zone forever. Those are the same blocking schemes forever and ever and ever and we try to – when the defense breaks down, we make a big play because we’re so consistent. And that’s what makes Tom [Cable] such a big difference on our team because of his commitment to the running game in that fashion. And so, you’re seeing the same plays. You’re seeing the same calls for the most part – with wrinkles and formations and shifts and motions and things to make sure that the opponent doesn’t know that they’re coming.”
Salk: “The fact that you’re running a lot of the same plays and different formations – does that give you some of the time to work on the Pistol and develop that? Does it give you a little extra time?”
Carroll: “Yeah a little bit. A little bit. But we still don’t have that much time. One of the things that you really want to do in football is you want to have things that your opponent knows that you like. You want them to have to stop things because when they have to make their efforts to stop things – they become vulnerable. Until YOU know what you know -- and THEY know what you know – you can’t get to that level. Now that may have been confusing, but that’s really what you WANT people to understand what you’re trying to do – and they try to stop it – and you go ahead and do your things to take advantage of that. So, sometimes you’re not even good enough to get to that point. We are now, so it’s helping us and we’ll continue to grow with good fortune.”
Source:Pete Carroll on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk – 12/24/12
Carroll has shown that he is crazy like a fox, as we’ve seen passes from Sidney Rice to Golden Tate … Tate to Rice … reverses that turn in to pass attempts … onside kicks at unexpected times – pretty much be ready from the old coot.
Let’s narrow the microscope further and take a look at how the Seahawks wide receivers match up with the Redskins secondary and zone coverage …Seahawks Receiving Corps vs. Redskins Secondary and Zone Coverage …
As the season has gone along, the Seahawks receiving corps has become much more dangerous and more diversified, as more receivers have been getting in the mix. Sidney Rice (6’4” 202 pounds)
of course has been and will be the go to guy that the Redskins defense will key on. But as we also know, that hasn’t been the case the last couple of weeks. Rice had been hampered with a knee issue a couple of weeks ago and caught only 1 pass against the 49ers … and actually had none last week against the Rams. Is that knee still bothering Rice? The official injury report says no, but the lack of production there from Rice the lack of production there from Rice lately at least raises some questions in my mind. The Seahawks are going to need him on Sunday. As I mentioned, other receivers for the Seahawks have been stepping to the forefront and making an impact on this team. Golden Tate (5’10 202 pounds)
has had some big catches of late and shown that he is a real playmaker that can make things happen when he has the football. Inside slot receiver Doug Baldwin (5’10” 189 pounds)
, last year’s unsung undrafted hero has rediscovered his penchant for making big catches in the clutch. If there’s a pressure situation on 3rd or 4th Down – Russell Wilson will look for him. Other guys have been stepping up in to the mix in recent weeks and making an impact as well though. TE Zach Miller (6’5” 255 pounds)
has looked much more like the Pro Bowler that the Seahawks signed away from the Raiders. FB Michael Robinson (6’1” 240 pounds)
has become a nice check down receiver on wheel routes and has made some plays of late. Even backup TE Anthony McCoy (6’5” 259 pounds)
has shown a penchant for getting deep and making big plays, as he did this last week on a 49 yard completion against the Rams. Outside of what looks to be a precautionary move by the Seahawks coaching staff in limiting Marshawn Lynch in practice, the injury report looks clean, so these guys should be good to go against this Redskins defense.
So just who is it that the Hawks receivers will be facing? Well, one familiar face they’ll be seeing is former Seahawks CB Josh Wilson (5’9” 188 pounds)
. As Seahawk fans are well aware of, Wilson is a mighty-mite who is very quick, aggressive, feisty, and has a penchant for making plays … but Carroll and Schneider deemed him too short for their tastes, so out he went. Might there be some motivation on his part to get some payback? Let’s hope not. Wilson comes in to this game with 74 Tackles … 1 Sack … 13 Passes Defensed … and 2 interceptions on his resume this year. On paper, it looks like he’s scheduled to be lined up against Sidney Rice – look for Russell Wilson to exploit that height mismatch if that happens. On the other side, CB DeAngelo Hall (5’10” 193 pounds)
(95 Tackles … 1 Sack … 5 TFL … 14 Passes Defensed … 4 INT) is a guy who has excellent speed (4.37 in the 40) and instincts. In fact, he won the fastest man competition while at the Pro Bowl in 2005. Other scouts though have been critical of Hall in the past, saying that he gets beat by receivers whom he should be able to dominate. This Sunday, Hall will probably find himself matched up against Golden Tate – so that match-up will definitely be interesting to see how that plays out. CB Cedric Griffin (6’0” 195 pounds)
(33 Tackles … 1 FF … 4 Passes Defensed) is a big question mark surrounding the Redskins this week. He has been suspended for the past 4 weeks because of performance enhancing drugs (Hmm. We Seahawk fans know a bit about that subject). The question surrounding him is whether or not he’s going to be activated or not for this game. If he does, he’ll be the starting Nickel CB. If not, Jerome Murphy (6’1” 200 pounds)
or the rookie out of SMU Richard Crawford (5’11” 188 pounds)
probably gets the nod. We’ll see how that shakes out. In terms of the safeties, FS Madieu Williams (6’1” 209 pounds)
(99 Tackles … 1 Sack … 2 TFL … 6 Passes Defensed … 1 INT) and SS Reed Doughty (6’1” 206 pounds)
(69 Tackles … 1 Pass Defensed … 1 INT) have provided solid play from the position.
And as mentioned before, the Redskins Linebacking Corps is the real strength of this defense. As a 3-4 Defense, they are used heavily in coverage and have put up excellent numbers back there … LILB London Fletcher (5’10” 248 pounds)
… 139 Tackles …11 Passes Defensed … 5 INTRILB Perry Riley (6’0” 238 pounds)
… 129 Tackles … 7 Passes Defensed … 0 INTLOLB Ryan Kerrigan (6’4” 260 pounds)
… 54 Tackles … 8 Passes Defensed … 1 INTROLB Rob Jackson (6’4” 266 pounds)
… 37 Tackles … 7 Passes Defensed … 4 INT
All of that said, this is a group that I firmly believe that Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Attack can take advantage of …
Yes, it’s true that the Redskins did finish with 21 interceptions (3rd Most in the NFL and 3 more than the Seahawks) … but some other things are also true.
The Redskins gave up an average of 281.9 Passing Yards/Game (3rd Most in the NFL)
The Redskins allowed an average of 7.4 Passing Yards/Attempt (20th in the NFL) …
They allowed 58 Passing Plays of 20 Yards or more (6th Most in the NFL) …
They allowed 44.2% of 3rd Downs to be converted (Worst in the league) …
At Home, the Redskins allowed their opponents to score TD’s 62.5% of the time in the Red Zone (4th Worst in the league).
They surrendered 31 Passing TD’s this year (2nd Most in the NFL) …
Opposing teams have passed the ball 636 Times on the Redskins (more attempts against this defense than against any other team in football). The fact that teams have passed against them so much says to me that opposing Offensive Coordinators have seen some real weaknesses in the Redskins Zone Defense that they can exploit (and they obviously did).
If the Redskins DO end up blitzing Russell Wilson and the Seahawks as much as I believe they will, then I very much like the Hawks chances, as receivers will be open somewhere. Wilson won’t have to do it totally on his own though, as this Seahawks team has one other big gun that can really break down a defense …