Over the past seven weeks, Doug Baldwin has taken the NFL by storm catching 42 passes for 678 yards and 12 touchdowns. In a primarily run offense first, the Rams did everything possible to limit the Seahawks in the ground game only allowing them to gain 21 yards by their running backs (Wilson had 39 rushing yards). In this game, he collected 8 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Let’s take a look at a few of his receptions and the two passes that fell incomplete while Wilson targeted him.
Like in my previous breakdowns, let’s take a look at a cool play design first on 2nd and long.
Situation: 2nd and 16 at SEA 35
Description: (7:22 – 1st) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short left to D.Baldwin pushed ob at 50 for 15 yards (T.Johnson)
- The Seahawks are in shotgun trips left using 11-personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers)
- The Rams counter with a single high safety playing deep over the middle of the field while their cornerbacks are all playing man-to-man coverage across the board.
- The play design is slant-flare combo on the right side of the formation to attack Cover 3 defenses and a rub-concept on the left side of the formation.
- Identifying the deep single high safety, Wilson correctly picks the left side as the rub-concept is meant to disengage any man-to-man defenders.
- Baldwin runs a quick-out route with a 1 yard jump step to set up the outbreaking-route.
- The rub concept does not initiate any designed contact, but his jump-step and quick out-route trick his cornerback into thinking he’s going inside for the 1st down on the play.
Next we’ll look at Baldwin’s longest reception on the day for 28 yards.
Situation: 3rd and 31 at SEA 42
Description: (10:56 – 3rd) R.Wilson pass deep right to D.Baldwin pushed ob at SL 30 for 28 yards (J.Laurinaitis). SL-T.Johnson was injured during the play
- The Seahawks are in I-formation with Baldwin in the left slot.
- The Rams are drop into a deep Cover 3 shell protecting the first down marker while dropping four zones underneath.
- The Rams only rush four defenders with their 4-3 Over Wide 9 front. The Seahawks double team the defensive tackles making sure star DT#99 Donald doesn’t get through giving Wilson plenty of time.
- Baldwin runs a deep-dig route and finds the gap between the deep three defenders and the four underneath zones.
- Wilson passes the ball downfield on the high-side, but he is able to leap up to it and snag it.
- CB#22 Johnson dives at Baldwin attempting to bring him down, but Baldwin shakes the tackle and almost gets to the first down marker before stepping out-of-bounds..
- The Seahawks successfully convert the 4th down conversion on the next play with a short strike over the middle to TE#84 Helfet.
Later in the same drive as Play 2, Baldwin scored his touchdown to put the Seahawks within one score of the Rams.
Situation: 3rd and 18 at STL 25
Description: (8:23 – 3rd) Doug Baldwin Pass From Russell Wilson for 25 Yrds S.Hauschka extra point is GOOD.
- The Seahawks are in I-formation with Baldwin in the right slot this time.
- The Rams drop into a Cover 4 defensive shell with three underneath zones on 3rd and long.
- Baldwin runs a seam route up the right hash marks.
- Rams safety #31 Alexander gets caught staring into the backfield, a busted coverage, allowing Baldwin to sprint past him for the score.
- Perfect ball placement by Wilson to attack this blown coverage.
Two Incompletions on the Day
In the second quarter, Wilson attempted two passes to Baldwin on 2nd and 3rd down that resulted in incompletions. These were Baldwin’s only two targets that he didn’t convert. At this point in the game, the Seahawks were down 16-0 and this forced Pete Carroll and Co to kick a field goal settling for 3 before halftime.
The first incompletion was a spot route meant to attack the spacing between the outside two underneath zones in the Rams’ Cover 3 defense. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, CB#22 Johnson attacks the route over the inside shoulder of Baldwin breaking up the pass. A great defensive play.
The second incompletion was on a pivot route after Baldwin motions across the formation. On the right side of the formation, TE#84 Helfet runs a dig-route with an outside release. This is meant to shake the defender as he cuts inside. Next to him, actually collides with Helfet before he gets outside. The pass is incomplete, because Wilson gets hit by Aaron Donald in the backfield not allowing him to step into the throw. Donald fights through a pile of men in order to keep pursuing the quarterback to disrupt the pass.
The last play I’m going to leave you with happened in the 2nd quarter with 1:18 remaining in the half.
- The Seahawks are in shotgun and Baldwin lines up as the right slot receiver.
- The Rams have one (very) deep safety with four cornerbacks aligned directly across the Seahawks’ four receivers.
- After the snap, #15 Jermaine Kearse runs a seam route up the right numbers pulling Baldwin’s pre-snap cornerback up the field.
- Expecting a route taking Baldwin into the right flat, cornerback #22 Johnson sits in the outside flat.
- Baldwin fakes outside, then cuts to the center of the field on the slant and shakes Johnson’s tackle working his way up the field.
- He gets the Rams’ 8 yard line before he breaks outside to his right and gets stripped from behind by #91 Long. Lucky for him and the Seahawks, #15 Kearse jumps on the loose fumble to keep the drive alive.
Baldwin’s last five weeks have been extremely impressive scoring multiple touchdowns in four of them. What’s caused his rise prolific rise?
Due to the murky situation at running back ever since the Rawls’ injury, the Seahawks have relied on Wilson’s continued growth as a pocket passer. Additionally, this bleeds into the red zone decisions, where normally, they would choose to run the ball with Lynch or Rawls, but now elect to pass the ball.
The Rams are out of the playoff hunt, but the Seahawks can still earn the 5th seed to face the Redskins or if they lose this week they will face the winner of the Vikings-Packers game Sunday night.
Follow Samuel Gold on Twitter: @SamuelRGold.