Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskin will face their toughest defensive challenge of the season.
The Seattle Seahawks rank No. 6 against the pass, No. 10 against the run and finished No. 1 in least points allowed per game (15.3). Without question will RG3's dual-threat dynamics cause some problems for Seattle, but this defense has shut down the best pro football has to offer as well.
The likes of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady saw limited success against a defense that continued to gain confidence. The end result for Seattle was an 11-5 season and entering January with a five-game winning streak.
Despite Washington hosting with a six-game win streak, the Redskins offense can be held in check. And although the Seahawks run a 4-3, the 3-4 front of the Pittsburgh Steelers exploited RG3. In short, we can expect the Seahawks to utilize a similar scheme with their defensive front.
Against Pittsburgh, Washington managed a mere 12 points and totaled only 255 yards. It was, by a wide margin, the Redskins' worst offensive performance of the regular season.
Now yes, the Steelers certainly underachieved this year, but Pittsburgh remained stellar on defense. After all, restricting Griffin to only eight rushing yards on six carriers and a 47.0 completion percentage speaks volumes.
He was only sacked one time, but what the Steelers reveal is man coverage, blitzing and contain. This is what the Seahawks are just as disciplined at in terms of general defense.
Here, we see Pittsburgh playing off with man coverage. The inside blitz forces Griffin to take what the Steelers provide, which results in an incomplete pass.
Even if this was a designed run or RG3 tried to take off, Pittsburgh had him blanketed. You can see the edge rushers simply holding their ground and keeping contain. Factor in the unblocked blitzer and bracketed zone over the middle, Griffin doesn't have a choice.
Then again, we've also seen him take some solid hits this season as well. So, it's reasonable to expect Seattle not missing any provided opportunities.
On this play, Pittsburgh once again puts six in the box.
At the snap, there's a read-option fake and RG3 wisely remains patient in the pocket. By the same token, however, the Steelers are just as comfortable in bracketing in coverage with a linebacker spy and containing the edges.
After faking pumping to the receiver between the three defenders, where the window is mightily small, Griffin still keeps his eyes downfield. There's also nowhere to go because of Pittsburgh's disciplined front at holding contain.
Now the play has finally broken and Pittsburgh's contain doesn't last either. The bracketing cover defender at the top, though, ends up playing up to the ball as RG3 gets outside. Unfortunately, every receiver is shielded and Griffin is forced to throw the ball away.
It's simple defense, period.
Play contain on the edges, utilize a linebacker spy and blanket in coverage with man under and a zoning safety. Against the run, have the inside 'backers and defensive tackles take anything toward the interior.
The defensive ends can go straight for the quarterback and the outside 'backers fill where needed. Worst-case scenario is to roll down a safety and play Cover 1 with man-to-man on the outside.
Regardless of the play calls, Seattle possesses the personnel to mix up its coverage and get physical when needed. No defense ranks among the best across the board without playing disciplined.
The Seahawks perform that consistently and don't expect any drastic assignment changes on Sunday.
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