Thursday, January 3, 2013
Optional reading for Seahawks-Redskins
By Mike Sando
Lee Singer of ESPN Stats & Information put together the following preview for the Seattle Seahawks' and Washington Redskins' wild-card playoff game:
When the Seahawks and Redskins meet Sunday, two of the most rush-heavy offenses in the NFL will square off. But what's most interesting about these rushing attacks isn't the volume of rushes. It's the wrinkle both offenses feature -- the read option.
The Seahawks and Redskins are two of five teams to run at least 30 option plays this season. While Robert Griffin III and the Redskins have featured it all season, running at least five option plays in all but three games, the Seahawks have only recently opened up this portion of their playbook for Russell Wilson.
Nearly 30 percent of the Seahawks’ rushes in the past five weeks have used a variation of the option. That figure leads the NFL during that time. Seattle is averaging a whopping 7.3 yards per rush on these plays. This has represented a big change for the Seahawks. They used the option only five times –- or on 1.4 percent of their rushing plays -– in their first 11 games.
The addition of the option has contributed to Seattle averaging a 211.8 rushing yards per game and 38.6 points per game during its five-game win streak, both of which lead the league in that span.
While both the Seahawks and Redskins have had success with the option, they've relied on different schemes to do it. The Seahawks like to spread the field and run the zone-read almost exclusively out of the shotgun, while the Redskins run the play primarily out of the pistol formation with their base personnel.
Forty of the Seahawks’ 55 option rushes this season have come with three or more wide receivers on the field, the highest percentage in the league (minimum 30 plays). The Redskins have run just 48 percent of their option plays with three or more wideouts.
All but one of the Seahawks’ option rushes have come out of the shotgun. A league-high 82 percent of the Redskins' options have come out the pistol. The Redskins have run an NFL-high 25 percent of all of their non-option plays out of the pistol. This serves to disguise the tactic, keeping defenses off balance.
Update: I fixed the chart to show 128 carries for Washington.