All 22 Breakdown of NFC Championship 49ers vs Seahawks Part 1
In what has become the premiere rivalry in the NFL, the Seahawks outlasted the 49ers 23 to 17 in a classic NFC Championship game. Featuring big hits, clutch plays and some downright hatred between the two sides Sunday’s game was everything a football fan could hope and more. Using All 22 film lets breakdown how the Seahawks prevailed over their rivals in a game that will be remembered in the Northwest for years to come.
In a dream NFL Championship weekend, the majority of the media coverage was focued on the Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady showdown instead of the 49ers Seahawks battle for the NFC crown. And while that might have been justified after the careers those two quarterbacks have had, football junkies knew Sunday night’s NFC Championship was the best matchup of the entire 2013 NFL season.
It had everything a fan could ever want; the two most talented rosters in the NFL (primarily due to the fact Wilson and Kaepernick made slightly over 2 million combined in 2013), offensive and defensive identities based around physically dominating their opponent, a true hatred for one another and a chance to break a 1-1 spilt between these teams this season.
With that said let’s look at how the inability for the 49ers to establish a running game, the Seahawks adjustment from a zone to man blocking scheme after halftime and Richard Sherman presence added up to a 23 to 17 win for Seattle.
Inability to Establish the Rushing Attack: With a behemoth offensive line and head coach that openly professes his love for a fullback, it’s safe to say the 49ers offense is built upon running the football. On Sunday, the 49ers failed miserably to do that as Frank Gore and Co. managed 31 yards on 16 carries and the 49ers offense became reliant on Colin Kaepernick’s scrambles, an effective but unsustainable option.
Let’s look at how the Seahawks overwhelmed the 49ers rushing game by stacking the box, effectively taking away the 49ers power running game.
Game Situation: 3rd Quarter, 14:55, 1st and 10 at the SF 21, Seahawks 3, 49ers 10
Offensive Personnel: 2 WR (Michael Crabtree) 3 TE (Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek) 1 RB (Frank Gore)
Formation: Power I
Offensive Concept: 97 G Rub (Power left)
Defensive Scheme: Cover 3
Summary: With a stacked box, the Seahawks were able to stuff an off tackle power play very similar to the 51 yard run that doomed them in the Week 14 meeting in San Francisco. When Vernon Davis slid across the formation on a fake flat route, the Seahawks gained a 5 to 4 numerical advantage on the play side overwhelming the 49ers with sheer numbers. Add in great pursuit by DT Red Bryant and DE Anthony Bennett beating LT Joe Staley badly at the point of attack and Frank Gore had no other options but to fall down for a 1 yard loss.
Looking at the blocking you can imagine if Staley was able to seal Bennett inside and Gore was able to outrun the backside pursuit of Bryant and this could have been a big gain for the 49ers. But the Seahawks and their aggressive style blew this play and the majority of the 49ers traditionally rushing attack up before they could materialize, forcing Colin Kaepernick to carry the majority of the offensive burden.
A Tales of Two Halves: Similar to the 49ers, the Seahawks’ offense is focused around establishing the run game. While their zone blocking scheme can be downright devastating once its gets rolling, it requires a lot of discipline and technique out of their offensive linemen. An often overlooked but critical aspect of a successful zone run is the eliminating backside pursuit with cut blocks from the weak side guards and tackles.
Let’s look at how the Seattle was unable to close the weak side gaps allowing the 49ers down linemen and linebackers to shoot into the backfield and prevent Marshawn Lynch from cutting up field.
Game Situation: 2nd Quarter, 3:22, 1st and 10 at the SEA 47, Seahawks 3, 49ers 10
Offensive Personnel: 1 WR (Golden Tate) 2 TE (Zach Miller, Alvin Bailey) 2 RB (Marshawn Lynch, Michael Robinson)
Formation: 2 TE Weak
Offensive Concept: Zone Run Right
Defensive Scheme: Cover 3
Summary: Even before the snap, the 49ers, particularly Justin Smith, are preparing for a zone read left. Whether he knew the play was coming or the formation tipped him off, Smith’s subtle movement to get inside leverage on Russell Okung’s prevented the cut block and allowed the Cowboy into the backfield. With a defender in his face as he received the football, Lynch was unable to hit the nice crease created off tackle and was brought down for a 1 yard gain.