Russell Wilson continues to impress after throwing another five touchdowns and 292 yards against the Baltimore Ravens. In the past four weeks, Wilson has thrown for 1,174 yards and 16 touchdowns to zero interceptions with a 75% completion rate against the 49ers, Steelers, Vikings, and now the Ravens. Additionally, he has gained another 100 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Let’s take a look at a few of his plays to see how he led the Seahawks to a 35-6 victory as the Seahawks have won four straight and remain playoff bound as the #1 wildcard spot in the NFC.
For my previous Russell Wilson or Seahawks’ breakdowns from this season click on one of the following links:
- How the Seahawks Held Adrian Peterson to 18 Rushing Yards (Week 13)
- Russell Wilson vs Steelers (Week 12) – 21/30, 345 yards, 5 TDs
- Russell Wilson vs 49ers (Week 11) – 24/29, 260 yards, 3 TDs
- Tyler Lockett vs 49ers (Week 7) – 5 targets, 5 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD
Five touchdown passes and I am going to start the breakdown with a slant-route for 9 yards? Why, exactly? Cool play-design, of course!
Situation: 2nd and 5 at BAL 47
Description: (9:41 – 1st) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to J.Kearse to BLT 38 for 9 yards (S.Wright)
- The Seahawks are in shotgun trips bunch on the left with #15 Kearse on the right.
- The Ravens are in Cover 1 man with one underneath linebacker zone, while the other inside linebacker follows the running back into the flat.
- After the snap, the trips bunch forms a tunnel screen pass on the left, while Kearse runs a slant and Rawls runs a flare-route.
- Wilson had two options on this play. (1) Tunnel screen or (2)Slant-flare combination. How does he decide? It’s a numbers game!
- Wilson sees three men on the left over the bunch while he has man-to-man coverage on the right side. If the Ravens only place two men on the left side then Wilson will throw the tunnel screen pass. If Wilson sees three or more men on the left, then Wilson knows to choose the slant-flare combination (more on this later).
- Wilson takes the snap and fires the ball to Kearse after he takes a step outside off the line of scrimmage to widen the path of the cornerback before coming back inside for the ball.
Why does the slant-flare combination work for Wilson? It’s a game of numbers.
- Before the snap, Wilson motions #34 Rawls to the right side. This as you can now see is the plan from the start. It looks like any other motion, but in hindsight we can tell that the flare route was never going to go left as it would interfere with the screen pass.
- The three men over the left trips bunch means that there is no zone defender playing underneath that could intercept the slant pass. How does Wilson know this? Wilson played the counting game!
- I see: 1 safety (1), three defenders over the bunch (4), four pass rushers (8), Kearse’s defender in man-coverage (9), the inside linebacker playing zone middle (10), and finally the other inside linebacker playing man-coverage on Rawls’ flare route (11).
- I, also, boxed in yellow the most underappreciated player on the field: the right tackle. He cut blocks the edge defender. This done to open a throwing lane for Wilson. Even though the defender shakes the cut block, it still works as intended giving Wilson a free pass.
- When does this play NOT work? If Kearse does not beat his man, then it’s an incompletion. Or if the Ravens get clever and drop their outside rushers into the underneath zones and possibly blitz their inside linebacker. But they still would have to know this play is coming to execute it propertly.
Situation: 2nd and 10 at BAL 14
Description: (0:38 – 2nd) Doug Baldwin Pass From Russell Wilson for 14 Yrds S.Hauschka extra point is GOOD.
- Wilson in shotgun trips left near runs a flood-drag concept for the touchdown.
- The Ravens are in Cover 1 man while dropping one linebacker over the middle of the field in zone coverage.
- The design of this play is to have all of the defenders move to the right side of the field opening up Willson for an underneath drag route.
- After the snap, the zone linebacker and Willson’s defender in man-coverage follow him across the field while the referee also gets in Wilson’s throwing lane.
- Wilson decides to move on and sees #89 Doug Baldwin crossing the field barely having an edge on his defender.
- Wilson steps up into the pocket, steps cleanly into this throw and places a bullet right into the hands of Baldwin for only him to get the ball for the score. Beautiful pass.
- Speaking of Doug Baldwin, he had three touchdowns this game. For his other two, make sure you continue onto the second page.
The Lockett-Wilson connection continues.
This next play is one of the most impressive throws Wilson has made this season. Lockett and Kearse run a switch-concept wheel route up the left sideline. Lockett uses his deep speed to get past #24 Kyle Arrington. Wilson places the ball perfectly on the sideline where only he could grab it. Cornerback #21 Lardarius Webb, who is playing safety on this play, lays a monstrous hit on him as Lockett catches the ball for a 26 yard reception. This hit actually gets penalized (very debatable call) for unnecessary roughness that adds an additional 15.
This is actually a very bold play call on 3rd and 5. Most offensive coordinators will attack the short middle zones to get a higher percentage throw to move the chains rather than a deep throw up the sideline. It works to perferction as Wilson’s ball is perfect and Lockett manages to hang onto it.
Last year in the playoffs, I pointed out that Wilson will sometimes leave the ball short on deep passes. This is the case on Wilson’s fourth touchdown pass.
The ball is left short, but since Lockett’s go-route up the right sideline burns #21 Lardarius Webb so badly (by up to three yards at a certain point), he can still slow down and catch the ball cleanly. Lockett does a great job with his route running by taking an inside step near the 40 yard line to turn the hips of Webb outside before cutting up the sideline.