Seahawks: Improved offense more than just improved blocking


Crediting the Seattle Seahawks improved blocking for Seattle’s offensive improvement is ignoring that Russell Wilson’s play has dramatically improved as well. 

The Seattle Seahawks are in the middle of an epic run offensively. They’re blowing out teams, and quarterback Russell Wilson is breaking all kinds of records in the process. It is incredible to think about when you remember how inept the offense was early in the season.

This run is even more impressive when you realize that it be being done without talented players like Jimmy Graham, Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls and Paul Richardson.

Much of the improvement in Seattle’s offense has been credited to the improved blocking by the offensive line. That is a large part of it. They are playing tremendously better right now.

A truly rare sight early in the season was completely clean pocket. Now, Wilson is  seeing them regularly.

But let’s not overstate the offensive line’s improvement either. It isn’t like they’ve suddenly become All-Pros. There are still a group that can be beaten by a three-man rush on occasion.

To give the line all the credit for the offensive improvement would be missing one of the catalysts for turnaround. Quarterback Russell Wilson deserve equal billing if we’re handing out credit for the team’s improve execution.

Before we get too far into this, I need to clarify something. Seattle’s blocking is vastly improved. It is. Don’t take any of the screenshots below as evidence to the contrary.

The point here is that it isn’t perfect by any means either. There are still missed blocks and protection breakdowns. The improvement by the line only accounts for some of Seattle’s offensive turnaround.

For example, here is a play from early in the first quarter. J.R. Sweezy is beat, allowing pressure right up the middle. It doesn’t matter though, as Wilson gets the ball out so quickly that the defender isn’t able to get pressure.

Earlier this season, Wilson would have pulled the ball down and tried to leave the pocket. That would have negated Kearse’s well-run route. Instead Wilson delivered the ball on time, and the missed block turned out to be meaningless.

Wilson is simply playing better in all aspects of game. Take a look at this shot from Doug Baldwin’s first-quarter TD.

The ball is already well out of Wilson’s hand at that point, and Baldwin is just making his cut. The result of the play was a very easy TD reception.

Wilson made that throw with excellent anticipation. That hasn’t always been his forte this season. Too often he needed to see a WR break open before he’d deliver the football.

It should also be noted that the line gave Wilson the time he needed even though the Browns brought 7 and the Seahawks only had 6 blockers. This is a play that wouldn’t have happened early in the season for that reason as well.

And that brings us to the biggest miss of the game for Seattle’s offense. Tyler Lockett was a full five yards behind the defense, but Wilson’s throw was significantly short and allowed a defender to get back and break it up.

Unfortunately, the middle linebacker had come unblocked on a delayed blitz. Wilson wasn’t able to step into his throw, which is what caused the pass to come up short.

The linemen did there job there. That miss is on Wilson. He needs to show the anticipation he showed on the Baldwin TD and get the ball out half-second faster.

It is splitting hairs to criticize Wilson too much here. He played amazingly well in this game, and in every game for the last 5 weeks.

Plus, including that play was just to demonstrate that the blocking isn’t the difference maker. Wilson is. As he goes, so goes the Seattle offense.

Russell Wilson doesn’t need great blocking to be successful. He doesn’t even need good blocking. Wilson can get by with only decent blocking.

He wasn’t getting that early in the season, and now he is. He is even getting good blocking on occasion, and great results happen when he does.