Russell Wilson and the Seahawks beat the Vikings in a freezing game to advance to this NFC Divisional match versus the Carolina Panthers. In this game, the Panthers’ offense and defensive front seven feasted on the Seahawks’ during the first half putting the game out-of-hand by halftime. Although Wilson threw two interceptions, he actually played pretty well during this game to give the Seahawks a chance at a comeback. On the first page, we will take a look at how the Panthers’ pressure affected Wilson’s performance, while on the second page we will take a look at Wilson’s three touchdown passes and two missed opportunities in this NFC Divisional match.
Before we begin, here are my previous Russell Wilson breakdowns from this season:
- Russell Wilson vs Ravens (Week 14) – 23/32, 292 yards, 5 TDs
- Russell Wilson vs Steelers (Week 12) – 21/30, 345 yards, 5 TDs
- Russell Wilson vs 49ers (Week 11) – 24/29, 260 yards, 3 TDs
Pressure Forcing Bad Plays and Wilson to Scramble
First, let’s take a look at Wilson’s first pass of the game.
The Seahawks line up in I-formation with 21-personnel (two running backs, 1 tight end). The Panthers drop into a Cover 4 shell with four deep defenders and three underneath zone linebackers. The Panthers rush four and DT#99 Kawann Short beats left guard #68 Justin Britt through the B-gap forcing Wilson to abandon his progressions. Short chases Wilson from behind pulling him down as Wilson attempts to pass the ball to Lynch as the checkdown receiver. Lynch doesn’t turn in time and the pass is behind him allowing Kuechly to intercept it for a touchdown. This gives the Panthers a 14-0 lead. Bad start to the quarter for the Seahawks’ game.
The next play we’ll look at is the second interception thrown by Wilson in the second quarter.
The Seahawks line up in empty-set shotgun trey right versus the Panthers’ Cover 2 defense. #15 Kearse runs a corner-route, #89 Baldwin runs a quick-out, and #82 Willson runs a shallow cross over the middle of the field. The route combination of Baldwin/Kearse is your classic smash-concept. Baldwin’s quick-out baits the sideline cornerback while Kearse finds the gap between him and the deep left safety further down the left sideline. DE#97 Mario Addison beats LT#76 Okung around the outside and hits Wilson as he is releasing the ball. This forces the ball to lose velocity allowing the easy pick by C.Finnegan.
The incredible pressure by the Panthers’ front seven forced Wilson to scramble and abandon his reads all game. In the first half, the Panthers did a great job of keeping him in the pocket, but in the second, Wilson was able to extend plays and work his way downfield on the run to create plays for this offense. These next two plays are examples of that.
In this first play, Wilson is able to connect with Kearse on the sideline keeping the Seahawks’ drive alive.
In the second play, Lockett runs an option-route reading the deep safety above him. Lockett turns on a dime and is able sit on the sideline for a long first down conversion.