The Dallas Cowboys head to Seattle this Sunday to take on the 0-2 Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks are off to a slow start in the early stages of the 2018 season, while the Cowboys are looking to pick up where they left off in week two. Today we will take a look at how the Seattle Seahawks offense matched up against the Chicago Bears in week two and the Denver Broncos in week one, and how the Cowboys can successfully defend the Russell Wilson-led offense.
This offense goes where Russell Wilson takes them
Through the first two weeks of the season, Russell Wilson has struggled to get much going offensively. Wilson has combined for 524 yards, 59.4 completion percentage, five touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 89.3. While the numbers don’t look bad, Wilson has yet to look like the MVP-caliber of player we’re used to seeing running the Seahawks offense. Wilson’s struggles are not his fault as the offensive line has been atrocious, and his supporting cast has been less than ideal.
Play 1 - Wilson is at his best when the play breaks down
Some of Russell Wilson’s best plays come when his first read isn’t open, and he has to start improvising. Wilson can use subtle movements with his feet to avoid pressure without bailing out of the pocket, that is exactly what he does here, to find Brandon Marshall in the back of the endzone for six points.
Play 2 - Wilson has struggled seeing the field, and staring down WR’s
Through two weeks, Wilson has thrown three interceptions. Two of the three have come from defenders reading Wilson’s eyes and breaking on the ball. If Wilson continues this pattern into week three, the Cowboys cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers should get thrown a ball or two on Sunday. They cannot miss those opportunities to take the ball away from the Seattle offense.
Will Dissly should be treated as Russell Wilson’s #1 receiver with Doug Baldwin out
Rookie fourth-round pick Will Dissly has been a pleasant surprise for the Seahawks in his rookie year. Dissly currently leads the team in receiving yards, is tied for the lead in touchdowns (two), and is third on the team in receptions with six. Dissly makes plays in all three levels of the field, and is a very good blocker, both inline and in space. The Cowboys should look to defend Dissly the same way the defended Evan Engram last Sunday night.
Play 1 - TE blocking and receiving threat
DeMarcus Lawrence will likely see a heavy dose of chips from the tight ends and running backs on Sunday. Here, Dissly shows just that. Dissly chips Khalil Mack off the snap which knocks Mack completely off balance, the play doesn’t stop there for the former Washington Husky. Dissly runs a nice “7-route” and creates a decent amount of separation working against the CB. If Wilson can lead Dissly more upfield and towards to pylon, the Seahawks would have had a chance at a huge play.
Tyler Lockett is no slouch either
Tyler Lockett is also a go-to weapon in the Seahawks offense. The 2015 third-round pick has yet to really get going as a receiver in Seattle, but with a hot start to 2018, Lockett looks to be the WR1 in Seattle’s offense (with an injured Doug Baldwin unable to go). Lockett is known for his speed and big-play ability down the field, and that’s exactly how he’s been used by Brian Schottenheimer through two weeks. The Cowboys defensive back’s will have to protect the back end of the secondary, with Tyler Lockett looking to take the top off the defense multiple times this Sunday.
Play 1 - Lockett stretching the field
Here you’ll see Tyler Lockett lined up at the top of the screen. He puts a nasty double move on the Chicago cornerback, and has him burned for an easy six points. Unfortunately, for the Seahawks, the blitzing corner put enough pressure on Wilson to have him drop his eyes and leave the pocket. Wilson tries to reset and get the ball to Lockett, but the throw is far too late, and far out of bounds. The Dallas’ cornerbacks will have to be aware of Lockett’s speed and not bite on the double moves, as well as not letting Lockett get behind the safeties. With Xavier Woods possibly back in the lineup, he will have a tough matchup coming back protecting the back end of the defense.
Play 2- Lockett’s speed is a constant problem for opposing defenses
Beautiful route from Tyler Lockett here that is set up because of his speed. As you’ll see, Lockett lines up in the slot and looks to be threatening the seam with a “go-route”, both the cornerback and safety are playing this route to expect to go route, Lockett uses a beautiful head/eye fake to the sideline, to get the CB and safety to play the sideline, instead, he sticks his foot in the ground and breaks it back to the middle of the field for an easy touchdown.
Seattle's OL, and running game, can make them one-dimensional
The Seahawks offensive line play and running game has been less than ideal to complement Russell Wilson. Both units have struggled to play with any consistency to start the year. The Seahawks used their 2018 first-round pick on Rashaad Penny, a running back out of San Diego State, but their best running back threat is 2017 seventh-round pick, Chris Carson. Carson is a do-it-all runner, who can also catch the ball out of the backfield, and is a much better option as a blocker than Penny. Of course, any running back is going to struggle running the football behind an offensive line as bad as Seattle’s. Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, DJ Fluker, and Germain Ifedi is probably the worst offensive line in the NFL. To make matters worse for the Seahawks, they will be without Pocic, and Britt is likely going to be playing through an injury.
Play 1 - Mack gets credit for Germain Ifedi’s sack
This is just atrocious technique from a former first-round offensive tackle. Ifedi soft sets all the way back into Russell Wilson’s lap, which makes this an easy sack for Khalil Mack. DeMarcus Lawrence will be lined up across from Germain Ifedi for a majority of the game, and if he doesn’t clean up his game fast, Lawrence could be in for a career day.
Play 2 - Pocket closes on Wilson on the goalline
Here’s another example of poor technique from Ifedi, but Ethan Pocic also allows the pocket to crumble from the interior. While the Cowboys could be without Maliek Collins this weekend, any interior defensive lineman the Cowboys throw out there should find success working against the Seahawks backup left guard. The Seahawks offensive line has been bad at pass blocking so far through two weeks, but they may struggle even more when asked to run block.
Play 3 - Chris Carson is very talented
Spending a first-round pick on a running back was a bad decision for the Seahawks even if running back was their biggest weakness, but why do that when you have a guy like Chris Carson on your roster? We may never know. Carson is a electric runner that can burst through holes (when he has one), and make you miss in the open field. He’s also solid on third down picking up blitz’s and catching the ball out of the backfield. While Rashaad Penny on paper may look like the better runner, Carson has so far been the much better running back on tape.
The Cowboys defense has played excellent football through two weeks, and they have another favorable matchup on Sunday. If the Cowboys can keep Russell Wilson in the pocket, and limit Tyler Lockett’s big play ability, they have another good shot at holding an opposing offense under 20 points, and having a party at the quarterback. It should be a big day for the Hot Boyz and Co.