Against the Browns, the Seahawks started fullback Derrick Coleman at running back. Gaining only 10 yards on five carries, Bevell gave Michael a chance. His first rushing attempt didn’t occur until the start of the second quarter. When he was in the game, the Seahawks used him as a pure runner with no pass play responsibilities. his best running play versus the Browns was the outside zone stretch.
Situation: 1st and 10 at SEA 41
Description: (2:06 – 3rd) A.Bailey reported in as eligible. C.Michael left tackle to CLV 49 for 10 yards (D.Whitner)
The one thing that stood out to me was that Michael seemed to be a very Point A to Point B runner without a strong ability to change directions quickly. This was the case on multiple running plays where he bounched off his own men in the backfield before finding the holes. Another thing I noticed is that Michael lacked vision to see all the correct holes as seen in the next play.
Situation: 1st and 15 at CLE 27
Description: (0:38 – 3rd) C.Michael left tackle to CLV 27 for no gain (K.Dansby; J.Meder)
Outside of his 16 runs, he was in the game for just four other snaps. All four of these plays, Michael was used as misdirection on play-action bootlegs with no pass protection or receiving duties.
The Seahawks simply prefer a traditional running back handling the ball as opposed to the scatback types like Bryce Brown on early downs. This is why in their next match versus the Rams, I strongly think the Seahawks will continue to use Michael on 1st and 2nd downs especially early in the game. But how effective will he be?
The Rams are ranked 13th against the run according to DVOA rankings, while the Browns are ranked 28th in the same category. If the Rams plan around the fact that Michael is a non-factor in the passing game they can load the box on early downs when he is in the game.
Brown had the best run of the day for the Seahawks and it went for 18 yards.
Situation: 2nd and 2 at SEA 28
Description: (8:21 – 4th) (Shotgun) B.Brown right tackle to SEA 46 for 18 yards (D.Whitner)
The Seahawks are in shotgun and run inside zone to the right. The Browns’ defense plays the run perfectly by not overpursuing to the edge. This forces Brown to continue searching down the line of scrimmage for a potential cut lane. Brown sees DE#96 Cooper at the end of the line of scimmage with his helmet inside his blocker, so he steps outside.
Cooper shifts his weight in order to position himself outside the right tackle to stop the free lane to the outside. By doing this, he actually overcorrects and falls forward. This gives Brown the cut lane he needs. Brown takes it, breaks the arm tackle of cornerback #43 Gaines, and then gets tripped up for the large gain on 2nd and short.
I took a look at Doug Martin’s performance versus the Rams earlier this week. In that breakdown, Martin gained 91 yards on 18 carries showing excellent vision and cutting ability to make players miss. Aaron Donald, the star defensive tackle for the Rams, will be a tough task for this offensive line to contain. If the Seahawks can gain a quick lead, they will be able to use Michael to wear down clock like they did against the Browns in this game.
Follow Samuel Gold on Twitter: @SamuelRGold.