Entering this game, there was a lot of anticipation for the Seattle Seahawks. Not only were they wearing the retro uniforms that Seahawk fans have been clamoring for, but they were playing with something to prove. An opportunity to fix their offensive woes against the NFL's best defense, Cleveland Browns. A team that had put an end to the winning streak of the San Francisco 49ers. A team that has continually overcome injuries to key players such as QB Deshaun Watson and HB Nick Chubb.
Watching the first quarter, you could sense the urgency Seattle was playing with. Starting off hot, hitting on all cylinders offensively, and creating turnovers defensively, you couldn't have drawn up a better start to this game. Yet, the tide turned. Being held scoreless in quarters two and three with a restless crowd growing more and more frustrated per offensive possession, the defense needed to make a play.
In dramatic fashion, one key play late in the game helped propel this Seattle Seahawks offense to the end zone in what would end up being the game-winning score.
Turning point in Seattle Seahawks Week 8 victory
For the first time since Week 1, it felt as if the Seattle Seahawks were having a hard time stopping the run. Entering this matchup as a top 6 rush defense, the Browns were able to scheme up running lanes for Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford. Most notably, having TE David Njoku serve as the WAM blocker on shotgun runs. Meaning, that he would start on the right behind the guard and then pull left once the ball was snapped or vice versa.
Giving Seattle trouble up front opened the door for Cleveland to close this game out after forcing a Seahawks punt in the 4th quarter with just over 6 minutes remaining. Just when it seemed like Seattle was going to get the ball back on a third down stop, CB Tariq Woolen was flagged for illegal use of hands. Penalties plagued the Seahawks in this game. But, with just over 3 minutes left in the game, Seattle still had two timeouts and another chance to get the ball back.
Essentially, with the game on the line, it was make or break for this Seahawks defense on 3rd and 3. A down and distance that typically calls for man coverage all throughout. You sometimes see defensive coordinators send pressure to force the quarterback into a quick decision. In this case, Seattle called a zone blitz. The intention of this play is for P.J. Walker to take the bait and throw it into the blitzing area. By doing that, you force the defense to scramble to recover from the blitzing man.
At the start of this play, Seattle is in nickel defense, meaning they are rushing four with two linebackers in the middle, two safeties over the top, and three defensive backs, corners playing the outside and typically, your nickel cornerback on the inside. In this case, Jamal Adams is serving as the nickel back, which he often does when blitzing. At the snap, you see Jamal Adams blitz, and Bobby Wagner drifts into his area to make up for the space by taking away Elijah Moore.
Cleveland is running quick slants with TE David Njoku running a flat route on the left side. When reviewing the tape, Walker is going to want this throwback as Njoku appears to be wide open in the flat. But, because he recognizes the blitz at the line of scrimmage, he seems to have made a predetermined decision before the ball was even snapped. Noticing the zone coverage at the line of scrimmage, he wants to get the ball to Amari Cooper, who is going to have inside leverage on Devon Witherspoon.
You will notice when the ball is snapped, Walker immediately turns to Cooper and you can see Quandre Diggs enter the picture as he reads the quarterback's eyes. The throw of course gets deflected into the air off Jamal Adams' helmet and is cleaned up by Julian Love, giving the Seahawks great field possession. The Lionel Messi-like play ended up helping Seattle snatch this victory, putting them in first place in the NFC West.