2014 NFL Playoffs: Breaking Down Cover 1 'Spy' for Seahawks vs. Colin Kaepernick

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 15, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers scrambles for six yards under pressure from linebacker Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter on December 8, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 19-17.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks face a tall task on Sunday, as they'll have to contain San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick while maintaining the integrity of their defense.

In the NFC Divisional Round against the New Orleans Saints, Seattle was able to slow down a prolific, Drew Brees-led offense for a majority of the game. The Saints only managed to put up 15 points, all of them coming in the fourth quarter.

This week, however, slowing down Kaepernick will be a completely different animal.

Bleacher Report's own Matt Bowen recently tweeted a picture of the All 22 film from the Seahawks' divisional-round win over the Saints. In the picture, the Seahawks are playing a Cover 1 defense on third down, taking away just about everything down the field from Brees.

The Seahawks are elite in man-to-man coverage, with players like Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell winning one-on-one battles on a frequent basis.

Seattle will have to switch up its game plan against San Francisco, but the basic concept remains the same. The Seahawks will need to lock up the 49ers' receivers in man-to-man coverage.

In their own divisional-round game, the 49ers beat the Carolina Panthers, but Kaepernick and the 49ers offense only put up 23 points.

On a third down in the red zone, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera called a Cover 1 with a middle linebacker "Spy" coverage on the mobile Kaepernick.

NFL Game Rewind

The 49ers lined up in a "Trips Right HB Wk" formation while the Panthers sent out their "Nickel" package to neutralize the fourth wide receiver.

NFL Game Rewind

With five Carolina defenders locked in man coverage and safety help lurking over the top, Kaepernick sees nothing open and scrambles to the right to avoid a four-man rush that is quickly closing in on his pocket.

NFL Game Rewind

Luke Kuechly, sitting in a "Spy" zone, mirrors Kaepernick and takes away the possibility of the quarterback scrambling for a touchdown.

NFL Game Rewind

At this point, Kaepernick has to throw the ball away, and he does, resulting in a field goal for San Francisco instead of a touchdown.

Seattle's defensive backfield is better than Carolina's defensive backfield, and the Seahawks should have no problem setting the tone in man-to-man coverage.

If the Seahawks are going to beat the 49ers, they'll need to employ the Cover 1 "Spy" defense at least a few times during the game.


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