Seahawks film room: breaking down two Christine Michael runs from Sunday win over the 49ers, and why he is so valuable to the Seahawks right now.
We’ve been waiting a long time for Christine Michael to finally have his breakout game. In Sunday’s win over San Francisco, it finally happened. He had 106 yards and two touchdowns before being pulled at the start of the fourth quarter because the game had become a blowout.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons Christine Michael finally had his breakout game:
The Big Touchdown
It was clear that Christine Michael was in for a big game from his very first carry. He got the ball on a zone-stretch play to the left, and took it 41 yards for a touchdown. Michael showed off his speed, agility and vision here, but he didn’t have to make anyone miss in order to make this play happen.
There a lot to like here from the offensive line. Mark Glowinski and Bradley Sowell do their jobs on the play side. (Sowell’s technique is poor, but he gets the job done.)
This is textbook from Justin Britt. He engages the nose tackle initially, but doesn’t get hung up at the line. Britt slowed up the NT enough for Webb to get in a cut block, and then moved up to cut the linebacker.
Those two block took two key defenders out of the play. It was also timed well. In Britt has been late in disengaging the NT, Webb’s cut block would have led to a clipping penalty. Instead, it was timed perfectly and the pair cut off all backside pursuit.
When the offensive line is doing these things correctly, Seattle’s running game is very tough to stop. This is especially true with a running back that is as talented as Christine Michael.
The Little Things
Christine Michael’s big day shouldn’t just be remembered or his big runs one well-blocked plays. His impact could be felt throughout the game because of some of the little things he repeatedly did correctly.
The blocking on this next play is interesting because is doesn’t use zone concepts. This is pure straight-ahead man-blocking. The play is designed for Michael to quickly get up into the B gap between Sowell and Glowinski.
By the time CMike gets the ball, this play is already in trouble. The hole is there, but it is closing quickly. Sowell has allowed the DE to get under him and has lost leverage. The defenders eyes are in the backfield, ready to shed Sowell’s block and stop Michael right at the line of scrimmage.
Michael reads the situation well, and see both space and a WR setting up a block outside. Wisely, he breaks this run outside.
This is where Michael really shows off his vision as a ballcarrier. When Michael bounced this outside, the defensive back came up to re-set the edge. Michael cuts back upfield through the C gap (solid line), and gets past the 30 before finally being taken down.
If Michael had kept going wide (dashed line), he likely would have been stopped around the 35 yard line. There’s also a chance he’s break that tackle and get a huge gain.
In the past, he’d have taken that option. He’d risk getting no gain for the chance at a big play.
At this point in the drive, the Seahawks didn’t need a big play, and couldn’t use another play for no gain. Michael took the sure yards, and set the team up with a very manageable third-and-short.
I picked this play to diagram because it shows Michael’s growth as a player. He made a decision to help the team instead of going after a possible stat-padding big play.
The combination of Michael’s incredible physical talents and newfound smart decision making has made him an incredibly valuable piece of Seattle’s offense.