Xs and Os: Packers-Seahawks Film Study Review

Robert Olson breaks down four unique plays from the game. 2 "good" and 2 "bad".

Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

 

Everyone knows the result of Thursday night’s game and has had time to digest it. Instead of providing a broad recap of the game, this article will break down four unique plays from the game. Out of these four, two will be “good” and two will be “bad”. Like any loss, there are many bad plays, but there are always a few good things you can pull from losses as well.

The “Good” Plays

First, we will analyze the two “good” plays. On this play in the first quarter, the Seahawks were facing a 3rd and 2, and they came out with a 2x2 formation. The Packers countered with their Dime package, and it looked like they were playing Cover 4. Focus at the top of the screen. Sam Shields was the outside CB at the top of the screen (red), and he had the outside 1/4 of the field. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the safety (yellow), and he had the deep middle 1/4 of the field. Micah Hyde was the slot CB (blue), and he had “curl to flat”. Finally, Brad Jones was the ILB (green), and he had a hook zone:

The Seahawks ran the “Spot” concept out of their 2x2 formation. This concept is perfect for short-yardage situations like this, and it usually works well versus Cover 4. The curl to flat defender, Micah Hyde, was occupied by RB Marshawn Lynch’s route to the flat (blue), and the hook zone defender, Brad Jones, was temporarily occupied by the corner route by slot WR Jermaine Kearse (yellow), so the “spot” route by TE Zach Miller (red) was supposed to be open. Seattle put Miller (lined up outside at the top of the screen) in short motion prior to the snap, and then he ran the spot route (red). It was designed to go to him:

This was excellent route recognition by Sam Shields (circled in red). He realized that TE Zach Miller was in short motion, which can be a tendency for this type of route concept (especially since they only needed two yards). Shortly after the ball was snapped, Shields immediately broke on Russell Wilson’s throw to Miller (also circled in red), and caused an incompletion. It should have been picked by Brad Jones. Not many CBs can make this play in Cover 4. It was a well-designed play by Seattle, but Shields made a nice play:

The second “good” play that we will look at is a play by the Packers offense. Even though the pass was not completed here, it was one of the few passing plays that McCarthy used to challenge Seattle’s defense vertically. The Packers used a 3x1 formation, and they ran “All Go Special”. Remember the article from last week that mentioned why the Packers should run All Go Special versus Seattle’s Cover 3? Well, McCarthy did decide to run it:

There were obviously not many positive plays for the Packers. However, this play can be classified as a positive play because of a defensive pass interference downfield by Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner. Seattle ran Cover 3, so All Go Special out of a 3x1 formation was a perfect playcall. Here is Seattle’s Cover 3 on this play:

Numbering from outside-in at the top, Randall Cobb was the #3 WR, and he correctly ran a Post route since the defense played a single-high safety coverage. There was no way that FS Earl Thomas (the deep middle 1/3 defender circled in yellow) could cover Cobb, because Thomas had to honor the Go route by the #2 (slot) WR. So, as a result, Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner had to carry Cobb’s Post route all the way down the field (Cobb and Wagner are both circled in red):

Rodgers heaved it downfield to Cobb, and the result was defensive pass interference. Wagner could not keep up with Cobb, and Thomas could not get over:

If these two teams meet again, McCarthy has to run this more. It is a great route concept against Seattle’s coverage tendencies.

The “Bad” Plays

The first “bad” play that we will look at is when Russell Wilson threw a touchdown pass to WR Ricardo Lockette over Sam Shields’ head. On the play, the Packers were playing a single-high coverage (Cover 3 or Cover 1) with eight men in the box. Russell Wilson faked the handoff to Marshawn Lynch, and inexplicably, Sam Shields bit on the action in the backfield. Clinton-Dix missed the tackle, but the reception shouldn't have happened in the first place. Also, even if Seattle’s Center was illegally downfield, we need to focus on what the defense could control.

It is hard to understand why Shields bit on the action in the backfield. It was a single-high coverage with Clinton-Dix back in the deep middle. There was no safety over the top in the deep 1/2 that could have helped him. If it was Cover 3 (it likely was), Shields cannot simply abandon his outside 1/3. There is no (sound) defensive call that would ask the outside CB in a single-high coverage to come up like Shields did. Shields should have been playing pass the whole way. The disappointing thing is that, after Wilson kept the ball, Clay Matthews was in perfect position to corral Wilson. If Shields (red) would have stayed with Lockette, Matthews (blue) would have likely stopped Wilson in his tracks:

The second “bad” play that we will look at is Marshawn Lynch’s 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. This was bad from the start for the Packers defense, as there were only ten men on the field. They were supposed to be in their 2-4-5 Nickel, but there were only four defensive backs on the field. In terms of the play itself, the Seahawks ran “Split Zone”. The TE (circled in red) came across and blocked Clay Matthews (circled in blue) while the offensive line performed zone blocking in unison to the right. The Seahawks executed this well. The block on Matthews (circled in blue), in addition to blocks by the offensive line, opened up a crease for Lynch to run it in:

Even though the Packers only had ten defenders on the field, what could have been done to defend this better? Well, Clay Matthews needs to diagnose the play quicker. If he sees the TE coming across the formation, he needs to immediately think “Split Zone”. Instead of letting the TE kick him out, Matthews should have come underneath the block (called the “wrong-arm” technique) and “spilled” it. In other words, he should have crashed hard inside of the block to constrict the running lane and make Lynch bounce it outside.

Overall, there were many poor plays and very few good plays by the Packers on Thursday night. The purpose of this article was to point out some of the “unique” plays (good or bad). Hopefully the Packers can regroup and be more sound against the Jets in Week 2.

Thanks for reading, Packers fans. Follow me on Twitter at @RobertOlson92 for daily analysis on the Packers.

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (40)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 08, 2014 at 07:04 pm

I wouldn't really call the heave to Randall Cobb a good play. It luckily resulted in a PI/1st & Goal.

Knowing that Pass Pro isn't really the strength of this O-Line vs that D-Line -- you shouldn't want to have plays that requires A-Rod to break the pocket to complete a pass.

Aren't Cobb and Nelson able to play slot and both outside positions? That would constantly give opposing CBs different looks/route tendencies.

I'm never worried about the offense. It's more about execution than lack of talent there. Hopefully they'll correct things week-to-week.

Now,the defense -- oh,I'm worried about both execution AND talent. That middle NEEDS a makeover. AJ Hawk and/or Brad Jones needs to be on the pine. If not permanently,they shouldn't be 3-down backers.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 06:30 am

'I wouldn't really call the heave to Randall Cobb a good play. It luckily resulted in a PI/1st & Goal.'

This I disagree with. Whenever you can get Cobb or Nelson matched up on a LB its a mismatch in favor of the Packers. I would take Cobb/Nelson in that match up just about every time.

Yes the play ended up with a Pass Interference penalty but if he wasn't Interfered with it likely would have ended in a TD or a first and goal situation anyways.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 09, 2014 at 07:30 am

I understand what you're saying,but I think you misunderstood my point. Of course I'd take Nelson/Cobb over any LB attempting to cover them. But with our O-Line vs that D-Line we shouldn't count on plays that take that much time to develop.

That play was more of "Rodgers being Rodgers" than anything else.

I just feel all of the sacks came from plays that just took too long to develop. Not really "cover sacks".There's nothing wrong with dink and dunk. Especially if you have at least 1 capable RB (Starks) but that's a another story (sigh)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 11:13 am

I would have to go back and watch the play. I don't remember off the top of my head everything that happened in the play.

Regardless they got the matchup they wanted and they took advantage. That is why i consider it a great play. Its a game of chess. That was a great move on that play.

I agree that they needed to take what was given to them more. Also I wish they would have used the TE's a little more. I never heard why, but why wasn't Rodgers targeted at all? Quarless had more receptions but they could have used Rodgers over the middle more.

There are a lot of things they could/should have done better with.

I fully expect to see them much improved this weekend.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PackerAaron's picture

September 09, 2014 at 07:47 am

I wouldn't call it a good play either. I'd call it an excellent play,

Any play that gets Cobb matched up on a linebacker is a big win for the Packers. If Rodgers could have put just a little more on it, it's a touchdown. As it is, Cobb would have caught it if he hadn't been interfered with.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:44 am

Why not hot route him to a route that won't take as long to develop though?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Jordan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 01:28 pm

Yep. Cobb got a half step on a linebacker. Excellent play. :sigh:
What else ya got?

Here's the box scores from 2012 and 2014. Rodgers had rating of 81.5 with Jennings, Finley, Nelson, jones, Cobb and Bulaga.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=320924026

http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400554214

12 points in 2012 and 16 points in 2014 (thanks in large part to a Seahawks special teams gaff). Packers have a high octane offense? Against who?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zoellner25's picture

September 08, 2014 at 07:47 pm

Great breakdown. That All Go Special play you diagrammed last week worked perfect, if Wagner doesn't commit the penalty, it's probably a TD, perfect call against Cover 3. Too bad MM didn't attack it more, but ARod starting running for life back there. I wish MM would start running more short slants and crossing routes to keep drives moving.

As for the defense, any sentence containing the words "Brad Jones" is automatically going to cause me to vomit in my mouth a little bit. Time for him to go, he is dead to me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
real some guy's picture

September 08, 2014 at 07:48 pm

wow this is great stuff. really like how you go through play designs.

also shout out to Zach Kruse for correctly identifying that the game would be won on broken plays. Rodgers didn't make enough plays when he actually had a fair amount of time. I thought the line played well for the most part and Rodgers was very skittish (understandably given the opponent and collarbone injury)

Case in point - the 3rd down play where Rodgers threw deep to Nelson across his body. he had another second at least and had Cobb wide open for a touchdown on the other side. When your line gives you time, there are always plays to make. just didn't see it. He'll kick himself for a few of those - the one where he had Nelson for the easy first or the chance to run before halftime being another example.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Duke Divine's picture

September 08, 2014 at 08:47 pm

They suck!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
The TKstinator's picture

September 08, 2014 at 09:31 pm

I thought it was Vontaze Burfict who went around punching guys in their
d*cks.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
murphy's picture

September 08, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I was told that he gets hurt by running into quarterbacks.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 08, 2014 at 09:51 pm

This is what happens when you have a "professor like" Defensive Coordinator trying to out think the other team instead of teaching his guys to like up and beat them.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
murphy's picture

September 08, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I ask again, when will an Ignore feature be added to CHTV?

Toss enough of Cow's predictions against the wall....

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 09, 2014 at 09:56 am

You can ignore the "fan unfriendly" comments right now.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 08, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Hey Cow, At this point I have to disagree with your prediction. The game opened GB -10. It's down to GB -8 1/2 - 9. I'd have a hard time betting the Jets with those points, especially after GB'S miserable showing the other night. I would think most betters would take the NYJ's + the points. I don't want to bet the GB game, but they do owe me 1. This line tells me GB wins & covers. If I were to bet this game, I would take GB & buy the hook if it's 9 or 10. If the line drops from here, then I would reconsider. I'm thinking at 9, the NYJ's would get the $$$$. Maybe I'm wrong there, but that's what I think. I'd go against the $$$$. GB gets a lot of play, but I can't see it here, even if they are at home. I'd take GB & the Over 45 1/2. Having said that, I don't have a Good track record with GB. GO PACK!! I hope I didn't just give them the Kiss Of Death.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
White92's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:15 am

I tend to agree here. I'm am probably being too much of a homer, but I can't believe the run D is this bad. I also cannot see the Packers spitting the bit at home vs a inferior opponent. Pack covers comfortably.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PackerAaron's picture

September 09, 2014 at 07:49 am

Actually, that's a Mike Tyson quote.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zoellner25's picture

September 09, 2014 at 08:45 am

Teams are going to continue to attack our MLBs until we get better MLBs, whether it is runs up the middle or stretch plays or TEs running the seam. It's that simple.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 08:49 am

I know they used it at times on Thursday, but I'm really coming around to the idea of going 4-3 more or less permanently. That would take the biggest weakness (ILB) and turn it into a strength (Matthews at MLB).

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:06 am

I really think our defense could be good in the hybrid 3-4/4-3. The biggest thing is they have to get rid of Brad Jones. Either replacing him with Barrington or Lattimore in the 3-4 or using the 4-3 and having Hawk as the ILB with Mathews and Neal/Perry/Peppers as the other OLB.

I honestly really like having the flexibility of having Peppers, D. Jones, Daniels Mathews, Perry, Neal, Hawk on the field at one time. They can go to the 3-4 or 4-3 pretty seamlessly.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zoellner25's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:26 am

I agree with both of you on this. Taking a weaker player off the field for a stronger one is a no brainer to me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:36 am

I've been hoping for the 3-3-5 formation (which is part of the 4-3) for the longest. We don't have a dominant MLB,but putting Matthews in that position gives us so many different striking options.

Peppers/Matthews/Neal
or
Matthews/Lattimore/Peppers
or
Perry/Matthews/Peppers
or
Neal/Matthews/Perry

....y'all get the point

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 11:08 am

I have said this in the previous years. I wanted to see them go to the 3-3-5 vs 2-4 in the Nickel defense.

Really this year though I think they will do some of that because they now have Peppers and others that can play the DE or OLB in that scheme.

To be honest though, when Peppers is standing up he is essentially a DE in the scheme, so it really doesn't matter if they call it a 3-3 or a 2-4 front. He is basically playing the same role as either.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
acularw's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:05 am

According to Capers on the pop pass play: Shields was correct in playing the run and Clinton-Dix was supposed to move to cover Lockette. Think he is just covering for a Shields mistake?

I think we continue to see the Packers defense make mistakes due to an excessively complicated scheme. I realize we don't have nearly the talent on D to run a simple scheme like Seattle does, but it would be nice to simplify things a little bit. Maybe that way we can actually get players to remember fundamentals like how to tackle...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zoellner25's picture

September 09, 2014 at 10:48 am

I don't buy that for one second. in the screen shot, CM3 has QB contain and is in perfect position. Shields cheats and look into the backfield and simply let his guy go. No way HHCD can come over from single high safety that quick to stop that pass. We got burned.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Imma Fubared's picture

September 09, 2014 at 11:10 am

My two cents. The Packers lack speed in the defensive backfield, thus they play way off to give themselves a cushion against faster receivers running by them. This includes Mr Dix.
The Packers D lacks strength. Could not believe how many times I saw various teams pushing the O line back and forcing quick throws and or getting sacks. The Packer D was stalemated at the line of scrimmage the whole game. The few times Wilson was rushed came from the outside and twice he ran around and or away from that pressure.
I have the Jets in a squeeker over the Pack. This is a much more talented team then last year and can't be taken lightly.
Personally I see zero improvement on D. Same old same old. Perry and Datone are non existant.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 11:15 am

Ravens open to trading Arthur Brown...!?! Would seem to fit a big, big need.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 12:43 pm

According to NFL.com: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000392074/article/ravens-attempting...

He's healthy (just got beat out by CJ Mosley). He was a 2nd round pick last year. Had an okay year in limited snaps. Apparently he's more of a coverage ILB, which the Pack sorely need. I don't know what it would take to get him. A 3rd? Maybe a 4th?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Now that I'm officially on twitter i saw that.

I haven't seen though what they are looking for in trade though.

This isn't a Thompson type of move, but this year Thompson has done somethings he hasn't been known to do. So there maybe a chance?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Trade a 3rd round pick for Brown and cut Jones. Instant upgrade.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 09, 2014 at 02:04 pm

I agree on the trade,but disagree on the cutting of Jones. You know this team is prone to injuries.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 02:20 pm

True...but gotta cut someone and LB would be getting a little crowded. I'd rather keep Bradford over Jones.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

September 09, 2014 at 02:26 pm

How much of a cap hit would that be?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 02:33 pm

$2.2 million...dammit. ($1 million dead if cut this off-season).

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 10, 2014 at 07:18 am

Their other ILB is Daryl Smith. But you might be right that a 3rd is too high. I was just taking into account his 2nd round status last year.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

September 09, 2014 at 06:11 pm

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Barnacle's picture

September 09, 2014 at 11:51 am

MM probably could be an excellent OC for a very disciplined Head Coach. Gb vs Seattle reminded me of two pool players with very different styles. One fundamentally sound and very skillful at the basic shots he attempts. The other occassionally makes a few of his frequent highly creative shots.

I would bet on the fudamentally sound player who practices the fundamentals and executes them over and over. He may not be "versatile" , but he does make good fundamental shots more frequently than the razzle dazzle guy who practices so many different plays and positions that he is not really superior at anything.

Dom Capers seems to be the razzle dazzle guy and MM doesn't see that the longer Dom is around the more he adds to the razzle dazzle and the more the defensive players become confused with the ever expanding playbook and less good at fundamentals.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Imma Fubared's picture

September 09, 2014 at 07:14 pm

I see two problems with Rogers. He hates interceptions so he waits for the perfect pass. Ya that may work in the old days when he had an O line. Not now.
Second, you look at his early success: Jones, Nelson deep, separation, speed, Jennings under neath in the open and a tight end up the middle.

Now the TE stays to block, Jones and Jennings are gone, Jordy lost a good step and has no separation speed, and Cobb isn't fast enough to leave coverage. Thus, his open receivers are not open now so he is merely mortal.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 10, 2014 at 03:42 am

There is some disagreement about whether Shields should have stayed with the WR or provided run support. You conclude that Shields should not have provided run support. Jay Hodgson at Allgbp.com reached the opposite conclusion and concluded Shields played it correctly. Finally, Capers has stated that Shields was correct and that Dix, who was shaded towards the boundary side, standing just outside the left hashmark, was responsible to pick up the WR. I see no reason why Capers would support Shields and diss Clinton-Dix, so I will go with Capers. Here is the link to Capers' quote:

http://www.gazettextra.com/20140909/packers_defense_in_need_of_repair

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.