The Seahawks’ decision to run a fake field goal in Sunday’s comeback win in the NFC Championship Game was all predicated on a tendency they had seen on tape from Green Bay’s Brad Jones.
Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com reports that Seattle decided it would run a fake field goal when it studied tape of Green Bay’s field goal block team and noticed that Jones always rushed straight inside from his edge position, leaving a huge opening to the outside. The Seahawks’ plan was so dependent on Jones’s tendencies that Seattle was going to scrap the fake field goal entirely if the Jones hadn’t been on the field.
Sure enough, the play went exactly as Seattle hoped: Jones lined up on the edge on the left and crashed inside as soon as the ball was snapped, leaving room for holder Jon Ryan to roll to the outside. When Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk ran toward Ryan to prevent him from running, Ryan threw the ball over Hawk’s head and into the hands of Garry Gilliam for a 19-yard touchdown. Gilliam said afterward that the intended receiver on the play was going to be either himself or Luke Wilson, depending on which side of the field Jones lined up on.
“I broke the huddle like, Please be on my side, please be on my side,” Gilliam said. “And then [Jones] was.”
It doesn’t speak well for the Packers’ coaching staff that the Seahawks’ coaching staff was able to identify such a clear flaw in the Packers’ special teams, and exploit it at such a key time. On a day when the Packers’ coaches are taking serious heat for a lot of bad decisions, that fake field goal stands out as a play on which the Packers were out-coached.