Ironically, I originally intended this article to be an analysis of
Interesting note as far as blitzing goes: Perhaps in an excess of chivalry,
With the blitz being all but abandoned against
Now, as they say, onto the good stuff - the individual performances.
The "Thanks for Winning The Game" Dept.
Patrick Kerney was the newest big-name addition to the Seahawks through free-agency, and he made Seahawks President Tim Ruskell look like a genius after Sunday's performance. He made 5 "Star Plays" to go along with his 1.5 sacks. As a defensive end, he drew only 2 double-teams and had minimal success against them, although on one pass play he was double-teamed for a three-step drop and probably couldn't have reached Garcia even if he was completely unblocked.
As a defensive tackle (where
he saw extended time, primarily after
Any time you find yourself with two sacks, you did a pretty good job, so take a bow, Mr. Peterson. Unlike Kerney, Peterson's impact was relegated primarily to the two sacks, with only one other "Star Play" as a defensive end. Some of this is due to the
The other name on this list did almost nothing for his personal statistics but had a fantastic game. Were it not for the heroics of Lofa Tatupu against the run, DT Rocky Bernard would have been the runaway choice for the game ball. Not only did he notch seven "Star Plays" (playing limited snaps in the 4th quarter, when
The "Earning Their Paycheck … and Nothing More" Dept.
DT Craig Terrill earned a lot of playing time at the end of the game, and for somebody who was considered a possible training-camp cut, he did a very acceptable job. Due to the extended snaps he saw, he drew a whopping nine double-teams (leading the team) and even managed to beat a couple of them. In typical Terrill fashion, he earned one of his two "Star Plays" in unconventional fashion - knocking down a pass in the 4th quarter. Overall he was fairly boom-or-bust, where he would provide absolutely nothing on several plays.
The "Why'd you Even Suit Up?" Dept.
Ah, the invisible men. Not surprisingly, the team's only "two technique" tackles - Chuck Darby and Brandon Mebane - both wind up on this list. While Darby was officially credited with .5 of a sack, the quarterback was already being tackled by Bernard before Darby arrived to the ball. The rest of his play was uninspiring, being double teamed five times, with all five resulting in comments such as "owned by the double team" and "taken completely out of play". Brandon Mebane saw very few snaps against the pass – again, not surprisingly - but didn't exactly do much with the snaps he got. He was shown a decent amount of respect, being double teamed twice, but he applied zero pressure on the Quarterback over the course of the game.
I hesitate to place either Darryl Tapp or Bryce Fisher in this category, for they didn't perform poorly at all. Tapp had a couple nice plays, including a deflections, while Fisher only saw so few snaps against the pass (which makes sense in retrospect), it doesn't seem fair to place him in the same category as Chuck Darby, who saw more snaps and was less effective. But this is the category for guys who were pretty much invisible all game, and for the most part these guys fit the description. The most interesting thing Tapp accomplished was causing
In addition to noting the individual performances of the defensive line, I also noted whether or not the quarterback had ample time to go through his reads. To do this, I focused only on plays where the Quarterback eventually felt pressure - eliminating a lot of statistically useless three step drops. Unfortunately, this provides no winner or loser - of the 16 pass plays where I deemed the QB felt pressure, 8 were attributed to the pass-rush (7 to the line, one to Deon Grant) and 8 I attributed to great coverage that forced the Quarterback to hold onto the ball. It should be noted that the defense would get credit for "coverage" even if the Quarterback scrambled and completed the pass, because I am not attempting to grade the coverage of the defense, just whether the coverage gave the line enough time to pressure the quarterback.
The defensive line played great, especially the ends. One thing that really stood out was how often Garcia was forced to step up in the pocket before making a pass. The other thing that stood out was how often Garcia could step up in the pocket before passing. While Rocky played the game of his life, the rest of the defensive tackle rotation did almost nothing against the pass, oftentimes not even moving the linesman backwards. To give props to the secondary, it would definitely appear that the coverage is much improved over last year, which is benefiting the defensive line.
Kyle Rota writes for Seahawks.NET, and he can frequently be seen on our message boards under the handle "Rotak". Feel free to e-mail him here.