Seahawks Film Room: How Russell Wilson became a fullback
Seattle has its best day running the football so far this season during Sunday’s 20-17 win at Arizona.
Leading the charge was a more aggressive offensive line and the play of backup running back Mike Davis, filling in for the injured Chris Carson, who is set to return on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams (4-0) at CenturyLink Field.
Davis rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries and had two touchdowns. The first one came from 20 yards out in the first quarter and occurred with a little help from an unlikely run blocker. That’s the play we will take a look at in this week’s edition of Seahawks Film Room.
FULL HIGHLIGHT AT THE END
Arizona is toast before the play begins
Seattle, facing a second down with five yards to go at the Arizona 20-yard line, in a three-wide receiver set, dials up an inside zone play to Davis (27) while the Cardinals have six defenders in the box against five offensive linemen and TE Nick Vannett (81).
Arizona had DE Benson Mayowa (91) lines up in the C-gap between Vannett and RT Germain Ifedi (65). Also, DT Robert Nkembdiche (90) plays a 1 technique in the A-gap inside of RG D.J. Fluker (78).
On one hand, this alignment, with linebackers Josh Bynes (57) and Deone Bucannon (20) also in the box, is set to bottle up anything inside. However, because it’s a zone play, Davis is looking for just that and is ready to bounce the ball outside, which is clearly going to be there based on how the defense is aligned.
Arizona slants itself out of the play even further
The Cardinals began the play at a disadvantage and then compound the problem by having everyone slat to their right as if they know that Davis, aligned to the right of the offensive formation, must take the hand off going to the right of the defense. They aren’t wrong, but the over compensation cost them in the end.
Mayowa (91) slants to the B-gap, Nkembdiche attacks the A-gap and is double teamed by Fluker and center Justin Britt (68). That leaves no defender outside of the tight end.
Bynes attacks the opposite A-gap and Bucannon, instead of protecting outside of Vannett, comes downhill initially at the same A-gap that Mayowa is attacking.
This makes life super easy for Ifedi and Vannett. Ifedi pulverizes the overzealous Mayowa, passed on by Vannett, who appeared to initially plan to block the DE before he goes too far inside. That leaves Vannett to focus on Bucannon.
Because everything crashed inside leaving no outside defender, one must wonder if Wilson should have kept the ball on what looks like a zone read play. However, the call could have been a zone running play with no read involved.
Regardless, Davis recognizes the madness before him right away and after taking the handoff from Wilson, immediately bounces the play outside to his left where there is NOBODY!
Bucannon realizes he went too far inside at the last second but adjusts just in time to run into Vannett.
What’s most interesting is that QB Russell Wilson notices the situation and decides that instead of carrying out his fake, he will join in on the play with Davis.
3-on-2 fast break to the end zone
Seattle’s three-receiver set has two receivers to the left and one, Doug Baldwin, to the right. So, on that side there is only cornerback Bene Benwikere (23) over Baldwin and a deep safety, Antoine Bethea (41).
One problem, Baldwin ran a lazy run-off route to draw Benwikere with him, but the cornerback didn’t fall for it and ends up running freely at Davis. Bethea is also in position to make a play on the Davis. It looks like this play will end with a 6-to-10 yard gain.
But not so fast…
A juke and a block
Two things happen in concert to give this play a chance to score.
First, Davis completely jukes out Bethea at the 16 and cuts to the right. Wilson was then able to catch up with Davis and get into position to block Benwikere.
However, Baldwin didn’t give up after getting beaten inside and he doubles back to help.
QB becomes the fullback
Baldwin got in great position to catch Benwikere with a block at the 13 as he turned to get after Davis, who had just cut to his right around Wilson.
With Benwikere out of the play, that leaves Wilson leading the way for Davis with Bethea in pursuit followed by backside slot defender Budda Baker (36) giving desperate chase. Baker had been aligned over slot receiver Tyler Lockett on the opposite side of the field.
Wilson initiates the block
Wilson and Bethea meet at the six. However, it’s not a knockout block, by any means.
Bethea rights through the initial contact and still has a chance to get to Davis, who otherwise has a clean lane to the end zone.
But to Wilson’s credit, he doesn’t merely make contact with Bethea, he stays on the block throughout the entire play.
Wilson rides his block on Bethea to the very end, ultimately shoving him down in the path of Davis.
Davis wisely then goes over the top of the face-plating Bethea and into the end zone.
Score it as a touchdown for Davis and a pancake block for Wilson.
It probably wasn’t a pleasant film session for Bethea on Monday.
Officials unsure, but the players know
Davis lands with the ball in the end zone.
But the officials do not signal a touchdown until after a discussion takes place.
All they had to do was check in With Wilson, Baldwin and Lockett to find out what the call should have been all along.
Don't sleep on Davis
At the conclusion of the play, Davis pretended to take a nap behind the end zone.
“I just feel like I have been slept on ever since I came into the NFL,” he said. “It is just a reminder that I will wake them up one day.”
As for Wilson’s block, he downplayed it a bit when asked about how much fun it was for him to essentially lead Davis into the end zone.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about winning.”
Okay, but was it a thrill to do something you don’t usually do?
“I’ve made a couple blocks in my time,” he said. “Any time a guy gets into the end zone on something like that, it’s always great.”