I’m not going to detail the “innacurate reception” as I’m sure that’s been done to death and frankly I’m tired of seeing it, so I’m going to be analyzing another play that popped out to me. Overall, there’s nothing special going on on either side of the ball, the Seahawks are playing a vanilla formation and the Packers counter with a vanilla formation. No crazy pre-snap motions, no crazy hand-offs or reverses, no psycho package or amoeba defenses or exotic blitz packages. So what’s so surprising? AJ Hawk makes the play.
The situation: It’s still the 1st quarter with the score still tied at 0 a piece. The Seattle Seahawks have been playing a very conservative game plan by establishing a solid running game with running back Marshawn Lynch and trying to keep quarterback in 3rd and short passing situations. Unfortunately, the Packers defense is also well aware of the Seahawks game plan and has done a remarkably good job holding Lynch in place. This play occurs on 2nd and 8, after Lynch rushes for a 2-yard gain.
The formation: The Seahawks line up in a 1-3-1 set (1WR-3TE-1RB) with WR Golden Tate (I believe) out wide left (he’s outside the screen cap), Tight ends Zach Miller, Ben Obomanu and Anthony McCoy are lined up inline of the right tackle with RB Lynch aligned about 5 yards behind the center. The Packers respond with their nickel package with NT BJ Raji (90) and DE Jerel Worthy (99) being the only two down linemen, the standard 4 linebackers of OLB Clay Matthews (52), ILB AJ Hawk (50), ILB DJ Smith (51) and OLB Erik Walden (93) with the secondary being composed of CB Sam Shields (37, also outside the screen cap), CB Tramon Williams (38), CB Charles Woodson (21, playing the nickel cornerback position), SS Jeron McMillian (22) and FS Morgan Burnett (43).
Pre-snap: The Seahawks motion TE Miller (86) to inline to the left tackle, and is followed by CB Woodson.
Snap: Wilson and Lynch perform perhaps the poorest play action pass ever seen in the NFL (seriously, Lynch doesn’t even bother to come up to Wilson and immediately runs a flare route, leaving Wilson “handing off” the ball with no one within 2 yards of him). I’ve labeled the defensive assignments by color: red arrows indicate pass rush, blue arrows indicate man coverage and green arrows indicate zone coverage.