The matchup between Richard Sherman and Julio Jones that had everything

Controversy, a dominant first half by the home defense, and busted coverages in the third quarter, defined the Week 6 matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. All three of those things involved two of the NFL’s most elite players: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

In the end, Jones was targeted nine times, hauling in seven of those for 139 yards and a touchdown. While in coverage, Sherman was actually only responsible for six of those targets as evidenced by my tracking of Jones in the following table:

Sherman vs Jones Targets - @SamuelRGold

Why was this the case?

Similar to my breakdown of him vs Brandon Marshall (here), the Seahawks typically had Sherman follow Jones to his side of the field. Like before, Sherman only played as the slot cornerback if he was in man-to-man coverage. What this means is if the Seattle defense plays zone, Sherman stays as the outside cornerback.

In addition to this video breakdown of the match-up, I also showed a few more plays including the busted coverage touchdown to Levine Toilolo, and other non-targets that were covered well by Sherman.

This was a rare game for the Seahawks as the chemistry between the defense was tested throughout the game. As discussed in my Cliff Avril analysis on Monday (here), Seattle has a division game next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Let’s hope they can sort out their coverage issues during this week’s preparation or else they’ll be in trouble facing Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.

Follow Samuel Gold on Twitter: @SamuelRGold.

Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.