No-huddle offense gives hope to slumping Seahawks
In a move of necessity, the Seattle Seahawks might have discovered what their lagging offense needed.
Down by 20 points in the third quarter last week against Atlanta, the Seahawks had little choice but to go to a hurry-up offense. That meant few huddles, quick decisions and quicker snaps.
The results were startling. After 14 quarters of offensive slog to that point, the Seahawks scored 21 points in the final 25 minutes, falling just short in a 30-28 loss to the Falcons.
No huddle? No problem.
''I do know it gives us rhythm. I do know our guys play fast. I do know that our guys have less to think about - I mean, it's moving so fast that their focus is really dialed in,'' Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. ''They're running those specific plays quickly. They don't have a lot of time to think and all that kind of stuff.''
''What's wrong with the Seahawks offense?'' was a constant refrain heard for the first three weeks of the regular season. They were shut out in Pittsburgh and scored 30 combined points in three weeks. Seattle was hardly expected to be a scoring machine, but the lack of points wasn't sitting well with fans.
That all changed in the second half last week. Suddenly, Tarvaris Jackson threw with confidence and made quick decisions. He spread his passes around to seven different receivers in the second half alone and finished with 319 yards, the best passing day of his career.
Jackson described it on Thursday as ''going on the field knowing that we expected to score, instead of hoping to score,'' after three weeks of struggling just to make first downs. The confidence was needed, although no one is saying it'll automatically carry over when Seattle travels to play the New York Giants on Sunday.
''In the second half after we started running and throwing and moving the ball downfield, every time the defense got us the ball back we felt like we were going to score,'' Jackson said. ''And I know I wasn't the only one that felt like that. It was like no matter what the defense did we were going to find a way to score, so that's a confidence boost for us as an offense.''
There are plenty of advantages to running a no-huddle scheme, especially for a young Seattle offense that features two rookies on the offensive line and eight new starters from a season ago. Jackson's given more time at the line of scrimmage to identify defenses and where the rush might be coming from. If the offense doesn't make any substitutions, it also limits the personnel the defense can have on the field.
''It's about controlling the tempo. You get to call the plays you want to call, the formations you want to call, the way you want to do it and the time and all of that, the time it takes to get to the line of scrimmage and get them called,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''It's just about being on the attack. I think I've felt us being much more aggressive in the mode, but we're going in and we're not doing anything exclusive. We're not that far along yet.''
Seattle ran 13 no-huddle plays against the Falcons, all coming in the second half. Those 13 plays gained only 65 of the 234 yards the Seahawks rolled up in the second half. More important was Seattle's speed, a contrast to the pedestrian effort in the first half outside of one long pass to Sidney Rice.
The Seahawks flashed the no-huddle idea a week earlier in their 13-10 win over Arizona. The results weren't as productive, but again, the decision added some needed pace.
Seattle scored 10 of its 13 points against Arizona on drives where it ran at least some no-huddle plays.
''Defenses can do different things with the no-huddle, but they tend to kind of show what they're doing,'' Jackson said. ''You have more time at the line of scrimmage to make your checks and change the play and stuff like that.''
Whether Seattle goes without a huddle from the start remains unknown. The Seahawks' biggest struggles are in the second quarter, where they've been outscored 53-10. But the first quarter isn't much better, with just one field goal and six first downs total after four weeks.
''I'm sure it can work at the beginning of the game,'' Rice said. ''I believe it can as long as the players have the right attitude, the right mindset.''
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