Monday, October 13, 2008

When Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

by: Michael Steffes

Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks talked last week about making some changes. Maybe personnel changes, and maybe some changes to schemes. In the end, Josh Wilson was the only defensive change, but Kelly Jennings was on the field a lot regardless. On the offense, any changes were muted by the fact that the 3rd string QB was on the field.

In the end, nothing really changed. Sundays are beginning to feel like Groundhog Day, the movie starring Bill Murray. It's the same thing over and over again.

What I saw yesterday and confirmed via Tivo is that the Seahawks did the same things that have beaten them over and over again. For the most part they played with a single safety deep. When they blitzed they sent too many and still didn't get home. And they played a soft defense all day. Big cushions to wide receivers conceded third downs all day. Three plays really stood out to me from the stands:

  • 3rd and 8 from the GB 36 with 4 minutes left in the first half. Seattle had taken the lead 10-3 on the previous possession. The defense is about to go 3 and out when Marshall decides to send three. Mebane, Bernard, and Kerney do nothing but form a pocket while Donald Driver runs right by the 10 yard cushion being given to him and catches the ball in the seam for a 20 yard pop to the Seahawks 45. Green Bay would tie the game on before the half on this drive.
  • Third down and 5 from the Seahawks 45 with 6 minutes left in the third quarter. The Seahawks send 7. Russell, Tatupu, and Hill are all locked up and, with only mild pressure in his face, Rodgers lobs the ball for the tall Greg Jennings who beats Marcus Trufant for the TD. The Hawks never recovered. This is as vanilla as a blitz can get. The line blocks the right side and Lofa gets caught in the muck, while Donald Lee and the fullback pick up both Russell and Hill coming from the left. Very predictable and the protection does its job. Touchdown.
  • Following possession for GB. Game on the line. 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 20. A stop means the Hawks would get decent field position with a chance to tie. Trufant is lined up on Driver on the left side of the defensive formation. Nelson is being guarded by Jennings on the far right. Wilson is in the slot. Greg Jennings goes in motion from the left to the right but nobody follows, alerting him to a zone coverage. Babineaux and Russell retreat at the snap to a deep position. Jennings runs a 5 yard out route to an empty spot with no coverage. Kelly Jennings is late to read it and Greg Jennings gets the ball and then scurries for an easy 8 yard gain, running out of bounds. The Pack eventually takes a 14 point lead on this drive. Game, set, match.