Welcome to the first edition of what will become a weekly Seahawks film series. The catch here is that rather than break down the X’s and O’s myself, I’m going to ask players to break down the three biggest plays of every game themselves.
Seattle’s Week 6 win against the Browns provided several quality highlights to choose from. Here are the top three I picked, including how the play impacted the game and the analysis from the players involved.
1. Tedric Thompson’s clutch interception before halftime
The play: Cleveland faced 2nd-and-8 from Seattle’s 10-yard line with 1:36 to play before halftime and a 20-12 lead. Baker Mayfield targeted Jarvis Landry in the right side of the end zone. Shaquill Griffin broke up the pass and Thompson made a diving interception.
The impact: It was at least a 9-point swing as the Seahawks were able to keep the Browns off the scoreboard while also scoring a touchdown themselves prior to halftime. (Seattle missed the 2-point try which is why it was a 9-point swing and not 10.)
The analysis: Griffin has been playing at an extremely high level all season, but this play might have been his finest work through six games.
“I remember the way he lined up – his actual split kind of gave up what he was going to do – or at least I felt he was going to do that,” Griffin said. “He was tight to the numbers. You’ll see prior to the play I was telling Ted(ric) that he was running that route. I was telling Ted, ‘He’s coming this side, he’s coming this side. Right to you, right to you.’”
Following the snap, Griffin opened his hips and gave up some cushion as Landry sprinted towards the goal line.
“I broke as soon as he broke and went inside,” Griffin said. “I told myself to undercut (the pass) and try to go get it myself.”
Both Griffin and Landry both got a piece of the football. Thompson, who was responsible for protecting the post on that particular play, was there to make the opportunistic interception for the second-straight week.
“It popped into the air, and Ted, knowing it was coming to him already, he knew just to be there in the area,” Griffin said.
Griffin’s confidence has gotten to the point where he’s excelling at diagnosing plays pre-snap. His weekly film study proved to be especially worthwhile against Cleveland.
“I’ve been going with my gut feeling this whole year, and my gut’s been right,” Griffin said. “With that team, it was pretty simple. I thought they were going to change it up on us, but they didn’t. I think I was calling out plays really that whole game. Their tendencies were the same.”
2. Russell Wilson’s dime to Jaron Brown to beat the blitz
The play: Wilson hit Brown in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown despite getting blasted by a free rusher up the middle.
The impact: Even though Seattle didn’t get the 2-point conversion, the score still cut Cleveland’s lead to 20-18 as the Seahawks closed the first half on a 12-0 run.
The analysis: Wilson recognized that pressure was coming and made a check to Brown prior to the snap.
“I knew I was going to get hit at some point,” Wilson said. “I just had to hang in there and give Jaron a good ball and see if he could go up and get it, and sure enough he did. He got both feet in (bounds). It was a sweet catch.”
Cleveland only ended up bringing a five-man pressure, but the linebacker was able to get through clean on the blitz. Seattle had trips to the right with Brown on the inside.
The Browns ran Cover 0, meaning there was no safety help over the top, which helped Wilson go through his reads quickly and identify Brown as the open man.
“There are three guys over there, and so I’m processing it quickly as they’re bearing down on me,” Wilson said.
Added Brown: “Once he recognized it was Cover 0, he made a check and adjusted the route.”
To add some extra flare to the play, Brown hurdled a camera man after he touched both feet in the end zone.
“I saw him at the last second. I didn’t want to hurt nobody.”
3. Jaron Brown scores his second touchdown of the game
The Play: Wilson saw Brown late but was able to deliver a 6-yard dart to the end zone for their second touchdown connection of the game.
The Impact: Brown’s second touchdown capped Seattle’s 19-0 run and gave the Seahawks its first lead of the game, 25-20.
The Analysis: Brown motioned from right to left pre-snap. He ran a hook route but then moved inside the Browns zone defense towards the middle of the end zone.
“I always try to see (Wilson’s) eyes,” Brown said. “I knew that he would see me eventually. I was clapping my hands and then he found me.”
Just as Brown came open, Wilson took his eyes away from the receiver in order to survey where the pressure was coming. Wilson was able to reestablish his footing, spot Brown and fire a missile into the end zone. The best part of the pass was that Wilson threw it away from the oncoming defender. Brown did well to make the full-extension grab.
“That’s just IQ by him – to put it somewhere where I can get it and nobody else can,” Brown said.
Added Wilson: “He did a good job of establishing himself and moving again. Sure enough he made a sweet catch. He’s been playing great football for us.”
Wilson said the play reminded him of the 5-yard touchdown he threw to Brown last season against the Raiders in London.