Brock Huard on Seattle’s use of Percy Harvin & the bubble screen

Like everyone else, I spent Sunday’s game questioning the use of the screen game and the lack of Marshawn Lynch. This video, however, delivers some perspective. When you have 3 vs 2 on one side — and your extra guy is Percy Harvin — of course you use Harvin on the bubble screen there. It’s all about execution. The play call is fair and understandable. If it gets blocked up properly you could be looking at a touchdown.

A lot of people want to talk about Darrell Bevell. When you get these defensive looks, it’s totally understandable why he called what he did. Seattle just has to play better.

Combine this with all the close calls — the dropped passes, the missed sack on 3rd and 20. Seattle came this close (pinches fingers) to winning a big game. Returning to form isn’t so much about re-establishing the run (which will probably happen anyway) as it is finishing plays.


  1. Colin

    Now that we’ve had a few days to simmer, it’s time to put the overreaction to bed. We lost a game thanks to a few missed assignments, a few dropped passes and a few great plays by the Cowboys.

    Seeing the Rams play last night gives me some hope. They look simply awful right now. I know Seattle usually struggles with them but I fully expect them to soundly win in St. Louis on Sunday.

    • Rob Staton

      The Rams pass rush, their calling card, hasn’t been good enough this year. They really struggled in pass pro. And as much as I like Austin Davis, he shouldn’t be beating this defense even with all the injuries. Jeff Fisher will have the Rams ready, but Seattle needs to simply execute better to get to 4-2, unless something unforeseen happens that acts as an equaliser.

      • Colin

        Will he? We keep regarding Fisher as a really good coach. We keep saying “this is the year” for the Rams. It might be time to accept they aren’t as talented or as well coached as everyone keeps saying they are. With that said, I’m well aware a year ago at this time we were completely outcoached by them in St. Louis- that won’t happen again.

    • Rob Staton

      In fairness we’ve been out coached by them on the last two trips to St Louis and they’ve played a tight, albeit indisciplined, couple of games at Century Link. We’ve not had an easy win over Fisher’s Rams.

  2. chris

    if we want to run so many harvin screen plays it would help to have bigger more physical recievers to block for him.

    • Rob Staton

      Seattle’s receivers actually block as well as anyone in the league. For me the issue here was either a.) they had an off-day b.) Seattle were not prepared for this game sufficiently, and possible took Dallas for granted.

      • JeffC

        I hope it’s a and not b. If you get guys who are going thru the motions, and have lost that drive, then it spreads like a cancer. SF looks hungry. They want a title. Do our guys have the hunger? It didn’t look like it on Sunday.

        • Rob Staton

          I think a little bit of complacency crept in but only specifically to this week. They flew back from Washington on Tuesday. They probably thought they could handle the Cowboys at home. Even a slight downgrade in prep and getting certain messages across can lead to a bad result. The Cowboys on the other hand treated the game like it was the ultimate opportunity. I’m only speculating here but I suspect if they could plan last week again they would do a lot of things differently.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I’m thinking a lot of it was injury driven on defense. Having Wagner out and then returning hurt. Losing Maxwell. Other injuries played a factor. We were making stops on 1st and 2nd downs. But the Cowboys consistently made the 3rd down plays.

          Offensively, I still think we would be a lot better off running Harvin on some deep routes. Every team has keyed off Harvin and Lynch this year. If he gets the ball behind the line of scrimmage we should expect someone to tackle him immediately. The only way that won’t happen is if he avoids the tackle or the tackler gets blocked.

          • neil

            I agree completly. They need to put speed on the outside. Harvin on one side and Lockette on the other and run some deep patterns. This would clear out the underneath area so Baldwin, Miller, ans Willson are not always double covered.

    • seahawks509

      The blocking isn’t the problem, the problem is you don’t fear Harvin unless Lynch is a factor. In our two losses we have had no running game at all and have averaged around 14 or so rushing attempts. In our 3 wins this season we rushed on average 36 times. It’s not complicated, it’s actually pretty simple. Run the ball!

      • Rob Staton

        If teams don’t fear Harvin (I don’t think it’s that personally) then they’re right to feed him the ball, IMO.

  3. JeffC

    BTW the Brock and Salk segment, Brock shows why it’s a great show. He is awesome as an analyst. I know people hate Salk, but I met him at a café in Magnolia and he’s an incredibly bright, friendly, intelligent guy. Very interested in people’s opinions of their show, how they can improve it, etc.

    Also love Dave Wyman. Very funny, dry sense of humor, but also provides great analysis with Danny and Jim Moore. A lot of people don’t like Moore but he’s grown on me like the taste of coffee.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m a huge fan of Salk and Jim Moore.

    • Chris

      Salk is my favorite guy in local sports talk.

      I find Brock a bit boring and repetitive. Good guy though. He’s pretty much just the straight man for Salk tho.

      • CC

        I think Hugh Millen does a really good job of breaking down the game – and he was the winning QB in the Sooner Schooner game – Orange Bowl 1984 I believe!

  4. Micah

    I get the numbers in that set, but why not also run a flood to the 3 wr side or choice route by harvin in the slot since the safety is on him. He could run a corner or post based on the safety. But it looks like the corners are squatting in that screen shot.

    • John_S

      I don’t have confidence in the Oline to block well enough for RW to get the ball out on a flood or choice route. I’m pretty sure if they did run that play there would be too much pressure and RW would have to flush out of the pocket.

  5. mj

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned, is that RW is flat out terrible at throwing bubble screens. I’ve never seen Harvin get a good pass on those plays and any wasted step or jump to adjust to a poorly thrown ball will kill those types of plays. To RWs defense, he never did that in college unlike a Nick Files w/o lived off those plays.

  6. roland jose

    The cowboys are one of the worse teams at stopping the run, no matter how many men they put in the box, its common sense to run first to see if it works, if it does why stop. we are built to run the ball and work off play action, not pass first, i think those plays to harvin are great when sprinkled in, we also should use him for more than just sweeps and bubble screens he is a very versatile player. this is the second time we lost due to not feeding the beast, thats who we are, running the ball creats alot of positive things, controls the clock, keeps their offense off the field, gives the defense its needed rest, tires their defense due to length of time on the field, puts pressure on their offense to score points, opens the passing game for big plays to harvin and company, puts us in more managable downs instead of 3rd and long, its nice to experiment, and thats great, but at what cost? all in all we looked tired from the skins game due to a short week and injuries that are taking its tole, another big problem is the pass rush, we need to pressure the qb more, the legion of boom is great, but we didnt win the superbowl last year without the pass rush, we lost to atlanta the year before due to no pressure. Penalties are also killing us!
    sorry for the length of this post,
    thanks for your time!:)

  7. Dumbquestions

    Soothing. I like Brock.

  8. CD

    Combine this with all the close calls — the dropped passes, the missed sack on 3rd and 20. Seattle came this close (pinches fingers) to winning a big game.

    I want to believe the above, but imo we were only close on paper. Sure you might say that’s all that counts, but both the Cowboy’s and Chargers took it to us, we were on our back foot all day. Just frustrating to see other teams use the RB or TE with little dump plays, pull the DL up field and dump it over the top, you have to ask why we can’t do the same. The offense has struggled outside of a handful of drives this year, we made Dallas look like a top 5 D. To me we haven’t had this bad of an offense stretch since the beginning of 2012 when Wilson was being limited by the scheme/coaches due to being a rookie. The D doesn’t fill me with confidence that they can get off the field when they need too (like 2012), mostly down to a lack of pass rush or picking up the RB coming out on a pass play. My only saving grace is that we saw a few stinkers last year, even one late in the year vs.AZ and they still pulled it off. Palmer with 4 int’s and we still lost that game, only scoring 10 points.

    • roland jose

      we need someone who can put pressure up the middle, via blitz or stunt, up the middle always seems to be open when we rush the passer, last year we didnt have that issue. we only like to rush the front 4, but if we can sprinkle in a linebacker or db every once in a while, i think that will help. dominating time of possession which those teams did to us put us under alot of pressure to score points and we got too one dementional, which makes it easier for a defense to defend cause they know what to expect. our defensive scheme is about not giving up the big play so underneath is where we can be exploited, having quich small backs or recievers are perfect for that situation. Ya we should try those types of dump offs, but RW is short and mey not be able to throw those quick hitters due to not being able to see them. Our runing backs do go out for pass plays, but whats great about it is that they r wide open when we do throw it to them and its mostly for a big gain or TD, our backs are versitile, we just dont do it all the time. We just put out a stinker this time, lets all relax and let them figure it out, we r a great team no doubt, we got outplayed, cause we stunk that day, if we stay true to who we are we will win like last year, we like the niners(new recievers) have some interesting new toys (harvin) on offense and integrating them in correctly takes some work when we figure it out we are gonna be even more dangeruss, but not at the cost of forgetting what makes us great.

      • Rob Staton

        Seattle is crying out for a decent interior rusher.

        • roland jose

          yup, the game is won in the trenches!, is warren sapp available?

          • Kelly Orr

            Praying that we can some how finagle some extra cap space and pick up Suh. He’s from Oregon so I can’t see why coming back to the PNW wouldn’t have some allure for him. I think his attitude would fit in well with this defense as well.

            • Rob Staton

              I think he’s already being lined up for the Jets/Giants. Seattle have Wilson, Wagner, Wright, Avril, Maxwell, Carpenter and potentially others to consider paying. Unless he’s up for a one year prove it deal ala Bennett/Avril, hard to see him landing in SEA.

            • roland jose

              as long as he doesnt add to the already growing problems we have with penalties, im for it.

  9. LooseSasquatch

    I’m sorry, I understand they want to give Harvin the ball and/or take advantage of the ‘numbers game’ but I just don’t understand why Bevell keeps out-thinking himself here. It seems like he does it a few times every year as a play-caller, and he’s already done it twice this year (against SD and Dallas).

    Dallas came into the game with the LAST PLACE rush defense. Why, oh why, oh why, oh why wouldn’t the plan be to load up on heavy sets or read-option them to death with running plays until Dallas stopped it? Incidentally, this is exactly what they did to us, and we have the BEST rush defense (or did anyway, statistically) in the league going into the game.

    They debuted the extra OT run packages against the Saints in the playoffs last season, why wouldn’t they use that look here? Instead, nearly all of our running plays were out of shotgun with no inline TE blocking. I’m sorry, if you’re good at something, and the team you’re playing has demonstrated to not be good at stopping that thing, why in the hell would you willingly play against your strengths? I don’t care if Dallas thought we were going to pound the ball and they wanted to ‘trick them’. Just pound the rock!

    At this point, teams have figured out that our pass protection is shit for longer than 2 seconds and they’re looking to stop all the short breaking routes/screen passes/drags, etc. Dallas has one of the worst safety duos in the league and we hardly even attempted any deep balls and never once tried to get Harvin the ball even 10 yards downfield.

    We need to go back to what worked last year: running the ball down the other team’s throat and forcing them to pull back on their pass rush and bring an extra safety up and then run rollout play-action passes for single coverage deep. We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel until that wheel consistently stops working, which it hasn’t we just decided to stop it because other teams might know that’s what we’re going to do, it’s ludicrous!

    • Colin

      We had the ball for 17 minutes in SD and scored 21 points. Bevell was not the problem.

      • Colin

        Oh, and our inline TE is injured right now… so yeah.

      • LooseSasquatch

        Yes, but we lost that game because our defense was gassed and we only had the ball for 17 mins. Our TOP should’ve been more and if we’d pounded the rock like we usually do and had a series of long drives like our offense usually produces, the outcome might have been different. It’s great that our Offense could score in 40 seconds against San Diego, but we needed to churn and keep Rivers off the field and give our defense a rest just as much as we needed to score.

        Bottom line, the Cowboys came into our house determined to beat us at our own game, and Bevell (or whoever on the coaching staff) decided that we would play something else. I’m sorry, but in football it comes down to making the other team stop what you’re going to do, and we didn’t even try. . .

    • AlaskaHawk

      I agree with Loose. We need to find our running game. We do have other backup linemen that could be used as an extra tight end or blocker. And if they are hurt then start pulling them from other teams practice squads.

      • roland jose

        We dont have a problem with our running game, we just didnt run the ball, we abandoned it. Beast mode averaged 5 or more yards when he did run during that game.

    • roland jose

      We need another TE like Miller, is brent jones or mark bavaro still available? two way TE’s like miller are hard to find!

  10. CC

    The Rams always scare me – even when they are playing poorly against everyone else, they seem to reek havoc on our offensive line and just pummel RW! Last year our line was hurt, same thing this year. Let’s hope Russell gets out of there alive!

  11. glor

    Cowboys have used a log of high picks on that o-line, and it showed.. the hawks have missed badly over the last few years in the draft in these areas… our depth is pretty much gone across the board also..

    • Rob Staton

      Cowboys high picks on the OL:

      Tyron Smith LT (Top 10 pick)
      Zack Martin G (Mid first round pick)
      Travis Frederick C (Late first round pick)

      Seattle high picks on the OL:

      Russell Okung LT (Top ten pick)
      James Carpenter G (late first round pick)
      Max Unger C (Early second round pick)

      The investment is similar to be fair.

    • roland jose

      They are doing what they did in the glory years, they are getting huge lineman and rinning it down ur throat and using playaction, simlpe formula that always works, with some new school wrinkles to keep it interesting. Romo looks great cause he is not counted apon to throw the ball all the time quality versus quantity, its how we play and should continue to play. In the draft we are always at the end of the first round, so getting that kind of tallent is not easy, when you are a losing team, like they are and the rams, its easier to draft the kind of talent that those 2 teams have, to see them start to have some success due to the high draft pics every year is eventually expected, although it seems the rams havent hit yet maybe due to not having a QB, but as soon as they do, lookout!, they r gonna be young and dangerous you can see it.

  12. franks

    I love reading your thoughts on the game every week Rob but this time it sounds like you’re making excuses for Bevel. 3 on 2 is a good matchup, I get it, but when it hasn’t been working you don’t keep going to it. By the way, 3 on 2 is a good matchup when you’re throwing the ball. Bevel to me is a stubborn o.c. who doesn’t adjust to the reality of what’s going in this game when it doesn’t unfold as expected. I think the other side of the coin is that since he’s always taken the stubborn approach, he doesn’t have experience making adjustments and doesn’t know how to make them on a professional level. A lot of conjecture here from a casual fan, sure, but I can only go off of what I see and I’ve seen Bevell settle on his gameplan time and again and stick to it no matter what. There’s a reason it’s called a “plan”, and the reason is that of course you’ll do something else if it doesn’t work. Bevell isn’t working, he doen’t make our team better and I can’t wait to see him in NY or Jacksonville.

    • Rob Staton

      Not making excuses, just offering some balance. Bevell gets criticism when things don’t go right, but sometimes it’s at least worth entertaining what he was thinking. And personally I don’t think he gets anywhere near enough credit when things go right. And during his three years in Seattle, there’s been a lot more positive games than negative. He’s a Super Bowl winning OC. The Seahawks could do a lot worse. See: St. Louis’ offensive coordinator for example.

      • roland jose

        well put, he does deserve alot of credit, its fun to see what he comes up with in the gameplan every week, but it needs to feed off the run, thats how we are built. we are the best running team in the NFL, you dont go into a gun fight just thinking you can win with your 22 caliber pistol. Bevell is still figuring out how to best use harvin and company, but it needs to be tempered with our major strengths. We lost those two games on not using our strenght, and time of possession has a big effect on what offensive plays are run due to not having time and the pressure to score, it puts pressure on the OC to score, we become more one dementional, which makes it easier for the defense to defend. Running the ball puts time on our side allows us to mix it up and keep the defense on their toes. Bevell is our OC and i love it no question, we just need to not stray away form what our strength is, its early in the season so, we will figure it out!:)

        • roland jose

          Defense needs to find ways to pressure the QB up the middle, the LOB is great, but We win games up front, we won the SB with finally having a pass rush.

          • JeffC

            Supposedly we have one of the smallest dlines in the NFL. I wonder if that is the lack of push they are getting. Hugh Millen thinks it’s the loss of Red Bryant, who held the point better than anyone without racking up gaudy stats.

            • Rob Staton

              Clinton McDonald is a bigger loss IMO. He provided the interior rush (and production) they just aren’t getting now. He collapsed the pocket and made QB’s uncomfortable. Nobody’s doing that now.

              • roland jose

                Great call, miss that guy on the defensive front! good situational pass rusher and depth in terms of experience in the league, he is in his prime, as for our backups they are a little too green or injured, not enough playing time due to injuries, or being rookies. Maybe Schnider and Co. can find us another gem like McDonald, at some point, they seem to be great at that, what do we have to lose.

  13. Jeremy

    Rob, was wondering if you were gonna do an article on the Jarryd Hayne rumor. Maybe just your take on it.

    • Rob Staton

      It reminds me of Dwayne Chambers, an Olympic 100m sprinter from Britain, who was banned from competing due to PED’s and therefore turned his attention to Football. He was a stunning athlete. Big, fast. And yet without that upbringing in the game — without that technical coaching and natural progression — he was truly hopeless when he started competing in NFL Europe. Rugby League is not like American Football. It’s a completely different game. And while I admire his decision and hope he makes it work… it’s such a major long shot. He’ll have to be some explosive kick returner to warrant the kind of time it’ll take to work on a guy who is already 26.

      • roland jose

        LOL!, the raiders should sign him!

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