Russell Wilson was the first thing that popped into my mind when I woke up this morning.
That means a couple different things: a.) I have a serious obsession with sports, and b.) the Seahawks have officially gotten to me. There are only so many ways you can downplay a team putting up over 100 points in two weeks. Sure, bad opponents count to a certain extent, but this is the NFL and Buffalo is not Savannah State. What happened in Toronto that allowed the Bills’ defense to get carved up so badly?
10:05 1st Quarter, Wilson 14-yard touchdown run
Here’s your basic quarterback read-option. The Bills are going to bring the strong safety (not shown) on a blitz, which should have been enough to stop the quarterback in the backfield. Wilson takes the snap and fakes the handoff to Marshawn Lynch while his line blocks down to the left. The entire Bills’ defense bites on the play-action — in fact, they seemed to be cheating to the weak side just as the ball was snapped. Watch how both linebackers take a step to their right and the defensive front jumps out in the same direction, leaving six defensemen behind the play.
Mario Williams has an unblocked shot at Wilson but pursues Lynch instead. Meanwhile, the blitzing safety (who I’m assuming was in charge of backside contain) gets swallowed up by the tight end. Sidney Rice blocks the left corner and, with everyone else thrown off by Lynch, it’s an easy road to pay dirt for Wilson.
7:19 2nd quarter, 41-yard pass to Sidney Rice
Here is another situation where the Seahawks threw out a bunch of window dressing and completely baffled the Bills’ defense. Before the snap, Rice motions across the line and back, exposing what looks like man-to-man coverage. When the ball is snapped, Wilson play-action fakes a handoff to Lynch, causing both middle linebackers to play the run and over-commit. Meanwhile, the corner — who looked to be covering Rice presnap — bails out into no man’s land between the two routes on the bottom of the screen. Rice emerges from the hashmarks as the most open receiver in NFL history:
Wilson shows accuracy here, but it wasn’t exactly the most difficult throw in the world. This was a big play for the Seahawks, and it was more the result of a defensive breakdown than anything spectacular from Seattle’s offense.
5:54 1st quarter, Wilson 25-yard touchdown run
Here is one the 49ers will have to worry about, however.
This is your straight up pass play out of the shotgun, except that when Wilson sees an opportunity to create something with his legs, he bails on Plan A and kills Buffalo with Plan B.
Tough to blame him. A big gap opens up between left guard and tackle and he’s got plenty of room with six different defenders covering man-to-man.
Why did such a big gap open up? I watched the film over and spotted a very clever wrinkle from Pete Carroll’s squad. Check out Paul McQuistan (#67), playing left guard on this play:
He appears to be boxing out Kyle Williams with his rear end to open up the running lane for Wilson. I can’t be sure, but I suspect this was a very well-disguised run play from the start.
I feel a little better about the 49ers’ chances after watching the film. Most of the Seahawks’ dominance is the result of some terrible defensive miscues from the Bills. However, that doesn’t mean that Wilson won’t be a major threat to the 49ers on Sunday, especially if Justin Smith is out (which looks likelier as the week goes on). We’ll find out just how good this Rookie of the Year candidate really is when he faces one of the NFL’s top defenses on Sunday night.