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September 23, 2013 at 12:45 PM

How the Seahawks got their tight ends involved in the passing game

One of the most noticeable developments in Seattle’s 45-17 dismantling of Jacksonville on Sunday: The way the Seahawks got the tight ends involved.

It was so noticeable because for much of the day, Seattle’s three tight ends were wide open, free to roam in the Jacksonville secondary. In fact, it was so noticeable that even one of Seattle’s tight ends, fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson, picked up on it mid route.

“A few of my catches were off play actions, and I’m running by guys and they’re so focused on the run that I’m like, ‘Oh, this is going to be good.’” Willson said.

The total production from the tight ends the first two games: five catches for 64 yards and no touchdowns. But against a Jacksonville defense so eagerly focused on the run game – and so ill-equipped to compete with a team as deep and talented as Seattle – the Seahawks tight ends had a field day:

  • Veteran Zach Miller had two touchdown catches, the first two-touchdown game of his pro career.
  • Willson, who had yet to make a catch in the first two games while battling through an oblique injury, had five catches for 76 yards, including one catch-and-run where he shed two or three tacklers.
  • And Kellen Davis, who the Seahawks picked up after the first game when they realized having just two tight ends on the active roster wasn’t suitable, caught two passes for 31 yards. They were the first catches in Seattle.

The biggest benefactors of a solid run game might be the tight ends. When teams are stacking the box near the line of scrimmage, when they’re so geared on Marshawn Lynch, play action usually gives Seattle’s tight ends freedom in the middle of the field or deep down the seams.

That happened time and again on Sunday, when the three tight ends combined for nine catches, 112 yards and two touchdowns. Of those nine catches, eight went for either first downs or touchdowns.

“It was there all day,” Miller said.

Both of Miller’s two catches came off play action. So did the other pass Russell Wilson threw Miller’s way, which was slightly overthrown. Four of Luke Willson’s five catches came off play action, and one of Davis’ two catches came off play action.

“We’re just another weapon,” Willson said. “This offense has a lot of weapons, and I thought today it was pretty good for us to show the tight ends out there. If you game plan next week, who do you game plan for?”

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