Yes, there is always plenty of chatter about our perennial Super Bowl hopefuls. But I also find that there is always some angle to Seahawks coverage that just doesn’t seem to get enough airplay. This column is dedicated to that “elephant in the locker room.”
What happened to Nick Bosa?
I’ve written in the past about the ways in which Seattle’s defense has characteristically made opposing offensive players disappear. This season aside, Carroll-designed Ds have rarely allowed career days for superstar QBs, for instance, and Seattle has a particular knack for making Jimmy Graham vanish when he’s on the opposite side of the line.
Heck, even this year, when Seattle is yielding yards by the hundreds, the only opposing offensive star who has played like one has been the Saints’ Alvin Kamara.
But I’m starting to think that Bill Belichick has the market cornered on journalistic opinion about “scheming” to “take away” opposing playmakers. Ol’ Bill is the best in the game at that, sure; it’s no secret, and it might even be indisputable.
Yet I’m also starting to suspect that Pete Carroll and Co. are getting far less attention in this department than they deserve.
Hence my question about Mr. Bosa.
In any given week this season, you have been likely to see San Fran’s disruptive rookie featured in Sports Center highlight reels, with multiple-sack stats and generally blowing up offensive plays. Against Seattle, however, Bosa registered just 3 solo tackles, zero sacks, and 1 tackle for a loss.
Granted, Bosa also generally disappeared in the Cardinals games that Frisco sandwiched around their lone loss to Seattle… and Dee Ford has been out of the lineup, which allows more frequent double-teams on Bosa.
But nonetheless, Bosa’s silence (unremarked upon by broadcasters, by the way) did lead me to sit up and take notice.
The same has generally been true all season long.
For instance, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett: 3 solo tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks (as I recall, on consecutive plays… then crickets).
The Rams’ Aaron Donald: 2 solo tackles, zero sacks, 1 tackle for a loss.
Do you see what I mean? Have you been noticing?
I could go on. But let’s just give credit where credit is due. First, Russell Wilson is truly having an MVP year. As Jake Heaps has pointed out at MyNorthwest.com, one big change in his game this year is that he is escaping backward under pressure less frequently—and his increasing ability to find ways to step up in the pocket and make plays has cut down on sacks and fumbles. Schottenheimer’s playcalling helps tremendously as well, as it has allowed Wilson to set the pocket in places other than simple 3- or 5-step dropbacks. And the ball is tending to come out quickly.
But the offensive line is also playing better than any under Pete Carroll, I’d say.
So I don’t think the Bosa-Donald-Garrett effect has been any fluke. I think it’s been by design… and it’s one reason for being very hopeful down the stretch!