Hugh’s view: analyzing key plays in the Seahawks’ massive comeback
Special to The Seattle Times
If you're down 21-0 after 28 minutes, you're going to have to win most of the key plays thereafter. Here's a few:
Second-quarter touchdown slant to Jermaine Kearse:
Seattle got the coverage it wanted when Tampa Bay played a four-deep, three-under zone, which requires man-to-man principles for the underneath defenders because three cannot cover the width of the field in zone.
When Doug Baldwin faked an out-breaking bubble screen, he created a crisscross action with Kearse, who ran an in-breaking slant. This scissor action confused, in particular, middle linebacker Adam Hayward, who was too wide in his pursuit and should have given better help to Keith Tandy, the safety on that side.
Third-quarter shallow cross to Golden Tate on third-and-four from midfield:
Usually shallow crosses are poor against zone -- most offenses stipulate that the receiver "sit" as opposed to running through, as they do against man coverage. But the Buccaneers wanted to have their cake and eat it, too: They threatened a six-man blitz only to back out to a five-under, two-deep zone. Because two of the three inside-and-underneath defenders had retreated from the line and were thus in a poor position to react forward, Tate stayed on the move as if against man coverage. The play gained 19 yards, and two plays later Seattle scored to pull within 10.
Third-quarter Russell Wilson read/keep touchdown:
Early last season, Seattle never ran the read option to the tight-end side, only to the open side and usually away from "trips" receivers. On Sunday, the defensive end gave Wilson a keep read by chasing Marshawn Lynch down the line. Zach Miller had a key seal block against the outside linebacker, and safety Tandy had poor run fit as he filled the same gap in which Miller had sealed the linebacker.
Fourth-quarter hitch route touchdown to Doug Baldwin on third-and-five with 1:55 remaining:
A simple short stop route against Tampa Bay's weaker corner, Danny Gorrer. Baldwin's narrow split necessitated a closer alignment by Gorrer -- because the ball would get to Baldwin quicker -- but also credit Wilson, under siege from poor blocking from James Carpenter and Lemuel Jeanpierre.
Former Huskies and NFL quarterback Hugh Millen is providing analysis after each Seahawks game this season