SUPER BOWL 49 – New England vs Seattle

Posted: February 2, 2015 in All Things Power Spread

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The NFL doesn’t have the advanced PS Schemes of College but it’s starting to change. Even in this fractured, watered down version changes are a happenin’. Bill Belichick is the best of a conservative lot.

1ST QUARTER

New England starts by spreading wide, thus opening up the middle. They quickly go back to conventional 2 and 1 back sets, which is common for this fractured league. The drive slows and finally comes to a halt.

Seattle starts out conservative as they did versus Green Bay. Wilson under center where he’s less effective, then a weak shotgun draw on 3rd+2. Obvious call, easy stop.

Nice mix by New England on their second drive. Mix of sets and play calls, keeping the field a little more spread with short outs. Problem is that though Seattle doesn’t do anything particularly dynamic, scheme wise on Defense, they are very aggressive. This works really well near the goal line with less room to maneuver for the offense. After a 2nd down draw was stuffed, Brady threw a 3rd down interception in the end zone.  Good drive, but where is the No Huddle? Especially down close to the goal line?

Another conservative Set to start for Seattle. The Oneback that their OC(former Wisconsin QB Darrell Bevell) loves so much. This time, though, a nice play call on 1st Down with play action roll right by Wilson. Using his feet on the edge. Nice gain on 1st down and batter ram Lynch runs for the 1st again out of the Oneback set.

2ND QUARTER

Seattle trying a mix of 5 and 3 WR spreads, but New England a good game plan so far on Defense. Staying in their zones, making Wilson MAKE a play to beat them. Doesn’t happen this drive. Seattle will need to be more aggressive than this. Power Spread maybe?

Nice Slotback Screen to Edelman for 1st down. Keeping a good Spread mix and another first down on a short pass. Nice 1st Down play action out of a conventional set, but nice play by Seattle SS Chancellor to pick up TE Gronkowski deep down the seam. 3rd down and another nice scheme/call to Edelman on a crossing route underneath and another 1st down. Another nice drive. Too conservative on 1st down with a Woody Hayes power slam run. Nice quick slant out of the Spread on 2nd down and quick recognition by Brady to LSU WR LaFell. TOUCHDOWN NEW ENGLAND. 7-0.

Seattle too unimaginative and passive. New England stays strong in their zones. Once again Seattle doing a bad job early of using their athletic, charismatic QB. Too much Fear.

New England mixing it up, keeping it Spread, but still no Tempo. Seattle Defense really picks up the energy and gets a good rush on 3rd down. Trying to hang in until Pete Carroll wakes up and goes Power Spread on Offense.

On cue, Seattle finally starts mixing in some PS Schemes. At least they didn’t wait until the 4th Quarter this game. Sure enough, it works. After a short 3rd down completion for a 1st, Wilson fakes the Read Option, rolls right and hits Chris Matthews for a big gain downfield with 1on1 coverage. Nice throw+catch. More PS Read Option, using the QB as a running threat, and Lynch takes it in after 3 runs from the 11. TOUCHDOWN SEATTLE. 7-7.

Now the Up Tempo for New England as we approach the 2 minute warning. Surprise surprise it works. Not power spread, but with Brady, passing spread is usually good enough. Looking like the old Run-N-Shoot, Brady hits Amendola for 17 on a short crossing route. LaFell for a quick 7. RB Vereen used like a Scatback of great passing spreads of old, grabs another Brady dart for 5 and a 1st.  Edelman on a jet sweep for 7 – a little Power Spread – athletes in space as Edelman fakes out the slower defender. Brady hits scatback Vereen again – this time for 16 big yds. Vereen again for 5 and then 1on1 with TE Gronkowski spread to the far right sideline, 22 yds and a NEW ENGLAND TOUCHDOWN! 14-7.

A lot of that drive was predicated on the Up Tempo with a top QB and athletes in space. Makes sense, so why not the whole game?

Seattle goes to their 2 minute up tempo offense as well and another big surprise… IT WORKS! After a 19 yd run by Turbin, the Power Spread Read Option gains 17 as Wilson keeps and jukes top OLB Jamie Collins – again the same simple theme – athletes in space. Even the QB. Big pass completion to Lockette for 23+10 on a facemask penalty. Wilson 11 yard jumpball TD to Matthews again! TOUCHDOWN SEATTLE! 14-14.

HALFTIME

While the commentators talk Match-ups and 4th WR Matthews becoming a star,  I have 2 words – Power Spread. It’s very simple – it works. This isn’t about Talent. Both teams have plenty of that. All the scoring happened in the 2nd Quarter when one team went PS and the other Up Tempo.

The NFL will continue to experiment very slowly, but there is no doubt that when Seattle gets Wilson in the Shotgun, spreads the field and threatens improvisation it becomes very difficult for a solid New England Defense, which had a good game plan coming in. They did well in their zones and mixed coverages when Seattle goes conservative with Wilson.

As for New England’s Offense, they are doing the right thing, but just need more up tempo. Get a real aggressive rhythm going with Brady to counteract an aggressive, but scheme hampered, Seattle D. Power Spread is aggressive and expansive at all times. The No Fear Zone. Easier said than done when the correct philosophy and scheme is not in place.

Will New England get more aggressive now with their schemes? More up tempo spread on O. More Zone Blitzing on D. Will Seattle keep their PS Schemes and aggression from the 2nd Quarter?

3RD QUARTER

To Seattle’s credit they keep going Power Spread to start the 2nd Half. Read Option 15 run Lynch . RO play action and another big pass 45 yds to Matthews. Commentators having a hey day with this one. The 4th WR….what the…?? TEAM fellows. 1st Down run out of the Oneback for Lynch for 7 yds. Using old NFL sets as a change up can actually work well. But Multiple offenses take a delicate balance or it starts getting over complicated and fractured. Two straight runs out of the shotgun that looked more like straight hand offs than read options. This is too easy as the Pats D gets aggressive. Holds Seattle to a FG. 17-14.

Surprisingly conservative by Belichick to start his half. What a turn of events. Seattle the aggressors on Offense, not Brady and the Pats. Belichik said at Halftime that it’s all about the players making plays so maybe he’s decided to see if his players can do it without any help from the Coaching Staff..?? One first down on a short pass to Gronkowski thanks to the expertise of Brady, but more 2-Back Pro Sets yield very little. A second 3rd Down results in an interception. The Seattle D plays a hybrid 4-3 Cover 1, not big on blitzing or pre-snap movement, nor is it scheme heavy, but the talent and technique is strong. New England making this too easy. Seattle’s D is vulnerable, but NE has to be more aggressive than this.

More Power Spread from Seattle. Good stuff. Matthews another catch for 9. Wilson runs for 15 + defensive holding. Lynch run for 14. 2nd+goal play action out of a 2-Back set, roll right Baldwin in the flat SEATTLE TOUCHDOWN! 24-14. Nice call by Bevell using an old set as a tricky change up. Simple Aggressive Variety. Nice.

Still no Up Tempo. Wow. Completion to Edelman, but holding on New England. 2nd+20 11 yd pass Edelman, but aggressive zone D by Seattle on 3rd down incomplete. This isn’t going to work for New England.

Seattle back to Pro Sets, but nice play action calls by Bevell. Mixing up tendency. 25 yds Wilson to Lockette. On 3rd+2 a nice call, down sideline 1on1 coverage that could break this game wide open, but BARELY INCOMPLETE. Nice coverage by NE. Belichik letting players play.

New England still in the Huddle down 10 and Seattle showing no signs of letting up. Brady hits Develin for 6 bringing up a 3rd+1 and the end of the 3rd Quarter.

4TH QUARTER

HORRIBLE CALL. Old USC I Formation Power Off Tackle that former USC coach Pete Carroll would love, but Seattle knew it was coming and sold out for the run. Easy stop. No rhythm at all for NE. I’ve had my eye on OC Josh McDaniel for a long time. He’s good. I don’t think this is all on him.

It was bound to happen. Seattle gets conservative again. Not sure now is the time to run out the clock. Then again Green Bay tried to do it starting the 2nd Half of the Championship Game, so who knows..?

After a 3&Out by Seattle, New England gets the ball right back. Still huddling.. unbelievable. Brady sacked, then a quick screen for 4 yds to LaFell. 3rd+14 deep middle cross for 21 yds to Edeleman. This is all Brady. Now time to keep it spread and go! Vereen for 9, then Uneccesary Roughness on FS Earl Thomas of Seattle. Not the kind of aggression I’m talking about. Aggressive Mind.  This takes the ball all the way to the Seattle 27. 3rd+8 Edelman 21 yds again. It’s the Brady/Edelman show. 2nd+Goal TD to Amendola in the back of the endzone. NEW ENGLAND TOUCHDOWN.21-24. A lot of this is Brady. QB league, right? But what if Seattle mixed up their Defensive schemes both pre and post snap? With that kind of talent and teamwork – would be very tough to ever score by running a conventional pass spread with ANY QB at the helm.

Seattle tries to pass on 1st Down. Not as conservative, but still, no Power Spread now after it worked so well to get them the lead…baffling. Wilson in shotgun, straight pocket pass for 3rd down, misses an out&up to an open man. ugh. Get Wilson in Space! Even with the lead. Always aggressive.

New England sticks to the slow huddle. Brady an expert at the short pass spread. Seattle DC, Dan Quinn, concentrating more on match-up football rather than scheme. Fast talent and great technique isn’t the end. Should be the beginning. Not with Seattle. Down the field goes Brady & Co… pass to Vereen for 8, Vereen for 5, Edelman for 9, Vereen for 6 called back(PI NE), Gronkowski crossing route for 20, Vereen for 0, Gronkowski for 13. From Seattle 19, Vereen shotgun draw for 7. Finally pass to LaFell for 7 then Edelman 3 yds and a NEW ENGLAND TOUCHDOWN! 28-24.

Seattle needs a Touchdown with a little over 2 minutes left in the game.

STILL NEED TO USE WILSON’S FEET as well as his arm. Can’t be a pure passing spread like Brady. First play then send the RB Lynch on another out&up and this time Wilson hits his man for a huge gain! After 2m warning at NE 49 Wilson stays in the pocket for 2 Incs, then a big completion to Lockette for 11 and a 1st down. Then the craziest play of the game – 1on1 coverage downfield to Seattle WR Jermaine Kearse makes a juggling catch while on the ground off a deflection by the DB!! The ball hit his legs then bounced up to his arms without hitting the ground. All the way to the NE 5! Kearse played college ball at the University of Washington!

1st+Goal at the NE 5. A 2-Back power run by Lynch for 4 yds down to the 1. 2nd+Goal with time running down and Wilson drops straight back in a pure timing route – all quick slants from what I can tell – he goes to the right slot back. INTERCEPTION BY NEW ENGLAND! MALCOM BUTLER! UNBELIEVABLE. GAME SET MATCH.

Chris Collinsworth is screaming how bad a call this was. The funny thing is, though it was an aggressive call, it wasn’t necessary. Power Spread guys. Russell Wilson likes to thank God, which is great, but it’s not that deep. Just get in the Shotgun read option set or the Pistol and if you do pass it, play action roll, using Wilson’s feet – WHICH SEATTLE DID BRILLIANTLY IN THE 3RD QUARTER. Keep it simple – do what works. But like I said, with these “Multiple” offenses of this fractured league – it’s a very thin line between triumph and tragedy. You saw it every week this year.

NEW ENGLAND 28  SEATTLE 24

Well… it’s the NFL. It is what it is. This is why I call it the fractured league. Changes are happening. More are coming. I don’t always agree with Collinsworth, but that was a crazy call. The timing routes aren’t even Wilson’s best type of pass plays. Honestly with all the momentum on Seattle’s side and dejection on the NE side, I say pound Lynch again. Though a play action roll would have been a great call. With NE keying Lynch, Wilson may have waltzed in or had a short dump pass in the flat for a Touchdown. I like Bevell’s aggressive thoughts, but it’s not about 1 PLAY. Where was that aggression all game? It was there the 2nd and 3rd Quarter, but what about the 1st Quarter or when Seattle was up by 10? The problem wasn’t that ONE PLAY, but the non aggression by Seattle in the 1st and 4th Quarters.

Non-aggression creates crazy aggression at crucial times in a game. I’ve seen it all year in this Fractured League. Regardless, this game shouldn’t have been close. Seattle was near unstoppable and NE couldn’t stop a dual threat QB. Keep it going.

As for New England, well, what can one say? They have done it for years. Belichik is the best of a conservative lot of coaches who have a lot of pressure to produce. The National Fear League or No Fun League – take your pick. Though I must admit, this was a pretty fun game, because at least both of these teams have some real aggression going on from time to time.

I think it’s very tough for coaches in this league. Big money leads to stagnant thoughts which limits real ideas and change.  Power Spread is winning at all levels. It’s progressive. What to do….? Try power spread – just not too much. Sometimes big comebacks. Sometimes blown chances. Great one week. Bad the next. It’s how it’s been and how it will be for the next few years in the NFL. Even the great New England had a bad start and some baffling moments in this game. But they are on top again. Credit to Belichik and that organization.

Will Belichik change with the rest of football? Will he lead the way? Will it be Chip Kelly. Someone else? Urban Meyer to the NFL? Who knows. It’s hard to predict this fractured league. But Power Spread is coming and it’s coming fast. 🙂

~PS

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