Bumpus: Seahawks had a surprise on offense that’s a great sign
The Seahawks’ Week 17 matchup with the New York Jets wasn’t set up to be an offensive showcase for Seattle.
It was the first game for Seattle since starting tight end Will Dissly was placed on injured reserve, wide receiver Tyler Lockett was returning less than 2 1/2 weeks after surgery to repair a fracture in his hand, and wideout DK Metcalf and running back Kenneth Walker III each were facing daunting tasks against a Jets defense that features Pro Bowlers in cornerback Sauce Gardner, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The fact that the Seahawks started fast with 17 points in the first half of the 23-6 win was a surprise, as was the way the offense was able to flourish on a day it was expected to struggle.
Former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus said that the Hawks used a tactic he didn’t expect to see much in order to get the better of the Jets’ defense: ’13 personnel,’ a formation that uses one running back (representing the 1 in the 13) and three tight ends (the 3).
“Man, I was looking at this offense, I go, ‘Will Dissly’s not going to be in there, Tyler Lockett is going to be banged up – what’s this going to look like?’ And I say going into the game we’re probably not going to see that much 13 personnel – we saw a lot of 13 personnel, actually,” Bumpus said during Tuesday’s edition of Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports. “They stayed committed to what they wanted to do. They also brought in (offensive tackle) Jake Curhan as an eligible receiver, as well, to beef up that offensive line. But this is what surprised me: tight ends had nine targets in this game.”
Not only that, but tight ends had both of Seattle’s touchdowns – first was a 12-yard pass from quarterback Geno Smith to Colby Parkinson on the opening drive of the game, and second was a 7-yard strike from Smith to Tyler Mabry in the second quarter.
Tyler Mabry's first catch of his career results in a touchdown.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 1, 2023
Tight ends ended up with only two less targets than all of Seattle’s wide receivers in the game, while running backs received six of Smith’s targets. That helped the Seahawks on a day when Lockett (two receptions, 15 yards) sustained a leg contusion in addition to his hand issue, and Metcalf (one reception, 3 yards) was bottled up by the Jets’ secondary. And believe it or not, but that’s also a great sign for the Seattle offense as the Hawks hope to win Sunday against the Rams and clinch a playoff berth.
“I just look at those numbers and (see) that ball was spread out,” Bumpus said. “We saw more 13 (personnel) than I thought we’re gonna see, the tight ends got involved, Parkinson scores his first touchdown, you got big plays by DeeJay Dallas and Ken Walker on offense. I looked at the offense and I go, ‘This is what it needs to be.’ They’re spreading the ball around, and DK and Tyler Lockett have three receptions between the two of them, but imagine once they get involved in this offense (again). I liked what I saw.”
The fact that the Seahawks (8-8 record) were able to do that against a tough Jets defense should provide optimism if Seattle makes the postseason and has to face more tough defensive teams. That was pointed out by Stacy Rost, Bump’s co-host, who made her case by highlighting the Green Bay Packers’ 41-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday that allowed Green Bay to remain a team that controls its playoff destiny ahead of Seattle.
“Being able to spread the ball around and find a way to win against a good defense – I don’t want to sell the Jets short here – is really important,” Rost said. “You think of the Packers and Vikings taking each other on. Now, the Vikings, for all the criticism they’ve gotten fairly for being kind of lucky and for not being especially dominant with their wins, are a good team. Justin Jefferson is playing like an MVP – it’ll never go to a wide receiver, but he’s having a phenomenal year. (So) the Packers shut down (the Vikings’) top receiving weapon and they couldn’t get anything done. Meanwhile the Seahawks had their top two receiving weapons, one was shut down pretty much and the other was playing hurt with like one hand, one leg, and they still found a way to put 23 points on the board.”
You can listen to the full conversation from the Four-Down Territory segment of Bump and Stacy in the podcast below.