Film Review: Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers, 1st Quarter (Preseason)

Harry How

Kyle Posey goes over every play of the first quarter of last night's preseason game between the Chargers and Seahawks with a fine-toothed comb to find out what was really going on.

This is the whole reason I wanted to join this staff: analysis. I wanted to give you something that offered more than the typical play by play, or the "Mathews gain of 2" because that doesn't explain how it happened. In order to not overload you, I'm going to break down last night's preseason game between the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks into quarters, starting with the 1st.

I'll give you the down and distance, what yard the ball is on, the play, what formations the offense and defense were in, and a short analysis of what happened during that play. I'm hoping this can carry on into the regular season, enjoy.

The offensive formations are denoted by [# of backs] [# of tight ends] and if applicable, shotgun.

The defensive formations are denoted by [# of DL] [# of LBs] and [# of DBs if more than 4]

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SD 14 Mathews up the middle for 4 yards 12 Base 43

Gates motions to a double TE set, Clary doesn't get a any sort of push on his man. Hardwick seals his man as Mathews runs for a hard earned 4 yards.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd and 6 SD 19 Rivers complete to Royal for a gain of 7 12 gun 425-Nickel

Twins WRs to the top of  the screen, Gates & Phillips to the bottom,  Gates comes in motion presnap. Rivers has a clean pocket, makes an errant throw to Royal over the middle. Royal bails him out with a nice catch. Zone coverage, Royal found the soft spot over the middle.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SD25 Ronnie Brown over RG for 3 yards 11 425-Nickel

Royal motions presnap, man on man blocking here. It's a handoff off of Clary, Fluker drives his man about 3.5 yards downfield, he's a nasty run blocker. Clary can't get a push however, and it's a 3 yard gain.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd & 7 SD 28 Rivers complete to Phillips for gain of 14 21 gun Base 43

Seattle shows presnap blitz. Chargers come out in a bunch formation that includes McClain, Royal, & Phillips, who knew. Seattle brings 5, and Mathews does a good job of picking up the blitz. Rivers finds Phillips wide open about 12 yards down the field. Beautiful route combo. Rivers was a little late seeing it, though.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SD 42 Rivers completes to Gates for 20 yards 12 gun Base 43

Even though they are in 12 personnel, the Chargers come out with a 5 WR look, this is how you create mismatches. Rivers has all day to throw(weird, I know) and finds Gates deep over the middle for 20 yards. These deep crossing routes need this type of good protection. Rivers did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 42 Eddie Royal runs for a gain of 2 11 425-Nickel

Royal comes in motion presnap, and takes the endaround. The backside DE doesn't bite on the fake hand off, and Royal does a good job of getting up field and getting what he can.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2&8 SEA 40 Ryan Mathews runs right for 6 yards 21 Base 43

Twins to the top of the screen, that's 7 plays now all in a different formation, kudos. In an "offset I" look it's a power play over the RG(it's evident that the right side is where they believe they can run.) Rinehart pulls, but misses his man, Hardwick seals his man just enough, and Clary and Fluker have an impressive double team as they push the DT 4 yards down the field, and Mathews falls forward. 2 run plays where Fluker has looked really good.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd & 2 SEA  31 Rivers completes to Floyd for 1 yard 11 gun 425-Nickel

Come out in trips to the right, Fluker gets beat off the ball, bad. Causes Rivers to drop his eyes(old bad habits still there) and miss Floyd on a shallow crossing route. Luckily, Floyd bails out Rivers and makes a diving catch for the 1st down. Floyd has to get more depth on this route, you can't run a 1 yard route.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
4th & inches SEA 29 Mathews runs up the middle for 9 yards 22 46-Goaline

The right side did a good job of getting a push, but just in case they didn't Mathews goes airborne and picks up a few yards after he lands just for good measure. Another run right behind Clary/Fluker.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 20 Rivers completes to Allen for 4 yards 11 425-Nickel

10 plays in and finally see the first repeat formation. It's trips to the bottom of the screen and it's a combo route where Allen runs a slant and Gates curls up right behind him. Rivers hits Allen, but is about a second late so he's unable to get anything after the catch. Line does another good job as Rivers has a clean  pocket, Brown is helping out Fluker.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd & 6 SEA 16 Rivers incomplete deep to Floyd 11 gun 425-Nickel

Brown motions out of the backfield, creating a 5 WR look, again, creating mismatches. Fluker lets his man get into his chest, and gets bullrushed. The rest of the line controls their man. Rivers throws a fade out of bounds intended for Floyd. He had Gates wide open over the middle of the field for an easy first down. It looked like Rivers made his mind up where he was going before the play started.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd & 6 SEA 16 Rivers runs right for 5 yards 11 gun 425-Nickel

Seems to be the preferred formation. Allen motions to the top of the screen so it's 2 WR's on each side, Allen stacks himself behind Floyd. Floyd was open early, but wouldn't have gotten the first down. The OL does another good job of keeping the pocket clean. Rivers sees man coverage and makes the smart decision and runs it. Let's be clear, Rivers doesn't run under a 5.7 40.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
4th & inches SEA 10 Novak 28 yard field goal is good

This is what I'll never understand. 4th and inches, you kick the ball. It's simple math, the odds are greatly in your favor. Especially after you've proven you can go right and get what you want.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
Chargers 3-0

13 play drive that feels empty. Lot of diverse looks, Rivers seems a bit slow with his reads, and the line really surprised.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 20 Russell Wilson complete to Kearse for 19 yards 11 425-Nickel

Zone Blitz, with Weddle. It's a play action pass, The defensive backs do a good job of covering everything deep, however, Te'o and Butler both bite on the run fake and take themselves out of position. Butler is late recovering and gives up the deep reception over the middle.(Kearse gets up talking trash to his former UW teammate.)

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 39 Wilson incomplete 11 gun Base 43

Seattle spreads it out with a 5 WR look. SD brings 5(3 DL + Freeney/JJ) and plays man coverage behind them, great coverage, by everyone, Wilson has no where to go, and throws it out of bounds. MEANWHILE, my god, Freeney catches the RT on his heels and bullrushes him back into the QB a solid 4 yards. He looks fresh.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd & 10 SEA 39 Micheal runs left gain of 1 12 Base 34

Seattle tries to run outside zone off of LT. JJ shows his worth as he does a textbook job of setting the edge, beating his man, and making the tackle for the loss.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd & 9 SEA 39 Wilson incomplete 11 gun 416-Dime

This is beautiful. Take Te'o out, bring in an extra DB, drop Weddle down as a LB. WHO IS THIS JOHN PAGANO YOU SPEAK OF? It's press man on the outside with Both safeties helping over the top. The Chargers show pressure but only bring 4, Weddle is in the TE's hip pocket, Wilson throws high and the ball is incomplete. English comes in for JJ on this play, and does a good job of getting pressure, he was actually the only DL to get pressure.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
4th & 9 SEA 39 Punt for Touchback

Keenan Allen 1st team punt returner?

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
Change of Possession

After giving up a big play the defense locks in. Really good coverage on this drive after the 1st play. Weddle blitzed, played in the box, and played man coverage. Amazing. Freeney shut a lot of people up off of one play and JJ proved that you do need his type around.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SD 20 Whittaker runs up the middle for no gain 21 Base 43

Hey guys, Clipboard Jesus is in the game! 2nd team O, they run a delayed draw up the middle. Everyone blocks there assignment except Max Starks. Starks had the DT here and he blocked no one. Molk/Schilling/Troutman all do just enough to where Fozzy could have gotten a pretty solid gain.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd & 10 SD 20 Whitehurst incomplete deep 11 Base 43

Seattle brings pressure and the line surprisingly picks it up, Whitehurst gets rid of it quick and is on the wrong page with his WR as he throws the deep ball and his WR runs a curl route. That WR was Robert Meachem. He had Ladarius Green by himself over the middle of the field, he has to see that.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd & 10 SD 20 Whitehurst runs for 3 yards 11 gun 425-Nickel

Whitehurst stands in the pocket for 5 seconds(I counted) before deciding to run. It was a clean pocket,so another win for the OL, it seemed maybe Depalma came open late, but he had nowhere to go.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
15 yard penalty late hit on Antoine Winfield
Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SD 39 Whittaker runs right for gain of 2 21 Base 43

I formation, Gronk motions to the strong side of the formation, it's an outside ZONE play with pretty poor blocking all-around. Molk gets destroyed at the line, lets the DT cross his face and get up field. The RT Harris ends up 3 yards in the backfield and Phillips gets beat by his man, too. Fozzy ran hard here for a gain of 2.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd and 8 SD 41 21 Base 43

Very conservative formations so far with Whitehurst. Phillips motions pre-snap to flip the strong side of the formation to the left side. The Chargers run power right to the weakside with Troutman pulling. Troutman does a good job of letting his man crash down, Gronk gets his hat on the DE, IF Harris is able to seal his man, it's a big play, he doesn't, and he makes the tackle. Whittaker still running like he wants to make the 53.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
Troutman blocks a little too well, and is called for a hold
Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd and 18 SD 31 Brown up the middle for 1 yard 11 gun 43 under

Draw play, Molk's man swim moves him and blows up the play. No other OL really got to the 2nd level, this play had no shot.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd and 17 SD32 Whitehurst incomplete short 11 gun 416-Dime

I can only imagine Coach Joe D's face after watching this. Harris, Schilling, and Starks each get beat by their men(within about 1.5 seconds) and Whitehurst ends up throwing it off a helmet for an incomplete pass. Punt Team

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
4th and 17 SD 32 Scrifes punt to the 24

Let's just pray that nothing happens to our 1st string, anything. The depth drop off is pretty amazing when you compare it to Seattle's. It's clear that Dunlap is superior to Starks. Also, that the staff doesn't have much confidence in Whitehurst.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
10 yard penalty on Seattle

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st and 10 SEA 14 Micheal runs left for gain of 3 21 43 over

Seattle comes out in twins look, and tries to run an isolation play up the middle. Cam beats the center, Butler crashes down, and Weddle is somehow in the box with the assist. Cam makes this play, already can tell he's stronger at the point of attack, a good sign.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd and 7 SEA 17 Wilson runs left for gain of 1 12 43 under

Seattle uses PA, Weddle & Stuckey cover everything up deep nicely, Freeney comes in late but Wilson eludes him. Liuget then has a chance behind the line and Wilson gives him a stutter step and gets outside of him. Tough not to get the sack there after great coverage, but you can't teach what he just did.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
3rd and 6 SEA 18 Wilson runs left for 8 yards 11 gun 416-Dime

Not much of Te'o in coverage, Weddle the dime LB again. Butler comes up the "B" gap on a delayed blitz, Butler helps collapse the pocket, and English again creates pressure. However, no spy on the QB and Wilson again runs for a 1st down. Have to get off the field on these, someone has to make a play.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 26 Micheal runs left for 8 yards 20 425-Nickel

Simple off tackle play to the left, Seattle's OL pushes Liuget and Reyes back about 5 yards and the fullback cleans up Te'o. Never should this happen in the NFL. Impressive job by Seattle.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
2nd and 2 SEA 34 Micheal runs left for 2 yards 21 Base 34

Seattle runs right but it's a designed cutback play where they get their running back 1 on 1 with a corner. If Wright doesn't make this tackle it might be a touchdown. Wright is off balance, but still makes the tackle, solid.

Down Yard Play O-Form D-Form
1st & 10 SEA 36 12 Base 34

Wilson throws a quick out completed to Golden Tate. They run a quick play action so not enough for the pass rush. Wright is in coverage in the slot, playing about 7 yards off, and it's easy pitch and catch. However, Wright showed a tremendous ability to break on the ball, and the gain was only for 3 yards. Willing to give those up all day.

Those are my notes. Obviously, things changed quite a bit in the quarters that followed, but it was still very interesting. What did you see in the 1st quarter from the Chargers that you liked?

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