The Seahawks’ 51-29 victory over the Lions featured a creative way to go aerial explosive on offense. In Wee7 16, Rashaad Penny’s NFC Offensive Player of the Week performance saw most of the offensive’s explosive play happening on the ground. Indeed, only three of the 11 explosives (used by the team and defined as a pass of 16 yards or more, a run of 12 or more) were thrown into the air.
One of the three explosive passes was a 58-yard Freddie Swain catch and run, the biggest play of the game. Russell Wilson hit a single throw, with Swain wide open against the Lions cover. It was thanks to the concept of game-action “getaway”.
The Lions stretch late in a zone game, one-half quarterback coverage, similar to the concept of Seattle’s CLEO pass defense. Two defenders followed Tyler Lockett’s course across the pitch. Meanwhile, on the front of the cover, linebacker Anthony Pittman saw No.3, Will Dissly, walk through the formation and block with Wilson deploying, so he added to the rush rather than continuing his game no. Â° 3 / n Â°. Cover of 3 receiving hooks.
Swain’s escape route started out as a shallow underlying route, something the strong side of the cover believed could be passed on to the weak. However, the flat quarterback parked on that side, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, had been sucked in by the false run. As Swain broke his vertical route, Reeves-Maybin grabbed a pass and covered running back Penny, releasing into the flat. Swain had a cavernous space and Wilson the flashback.
What made that call even smarter from Shane Waldron was the way he exploited the way the Lions looked to play on defense throughout the game.
First, the Seattle offensive coordinator admitted Detroit were looking to add to their run after seeing a receiver remain in pass protection.
This strategy negatively impacted Seattle’s game opener, where safety Tracy Walker saw No. 3 wide receiver Dissly again stay in pass protection for the shotgun bootleg. Walker, his redundant man blanket assignment, therefore decided to add to the rush, putting pressure on Wilson’s deployment. The Seattle quarterback threw the ball out of bounds before getting comfortable accessing his concept.
After Swain’s big win, Detroit again sprinkled in the addition strategy. Running the same zone game, a quarter-quarter-half-time deal as Swain’s big game, the Lions cleared their No.3 / No.2 game. 3 receiver hook player to rush the passer once Swain, receiver No. 3, stuck in the game-action pass protection. Blitzer Pittman got his hands on Wilson, though the passer could always find Dissly in the middle of the vacated space before any significant damage.
This addition of players meant that on Swain’s big play, no cover player would be looking to take the shallow path back through the pitch to the aid below that side. Instead, this defender would rush.
Flat defender game
Waldron also watched the Lions’ flat defenseman play. First, the Detroit players weren’t very athletic or good at it, like Jessie Lemonier (sorry, Jessie).
Second, the Lions have kept their flat defenders keenly aware of the running back clearance and screens in the apartment, especially at the back of bootleg deployments. Watch this throwback screen game where Reeves-Maybin correctly attacked downhill to make the tackle for the loss. It would prove how uncovered DeeJay Dallas was in his downstream block.
The Seahawks managed to open up a similar concept again later in the game. The incompleteness only reflected the struggles Wilson still experiences as a passer, likely due to his finger injury that saw him go under the knife on October 8, 2021.
This time, Detroit used a reverse Cover 2 case designed to stop the typical cross-post game action routes that come in from I-formation looks like this. Instead, Seattle freed Gerald Everett from his fullback position on a wheel route that was paired with curl defenseman Reeves-Maybin.
Reeves-Maybin aggressively sank downhill and out to the false run, positioned in the B-gap bubble of the fit. Everett ran right in front of him. The Outer Space Zone Defender Cloud locked onto DK Metcalf’s vertical release, turning into a shallow crossing road. Wilson had opened the window on Everett behind Reeves-Maybin and inside defender in depth, Walker. Sadly, the quarterback turned the football upside down, with the pass possibly slipping out of his hand into a weird, short-arm mechanic.