This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks square off in what should be a high-scoring contest. Much of that is credited to the leading MVP candidate across the NFL with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. He’s already thrown for over 2,100 yards with 26 touchdowns. Add in the rushing ability from Wilson and his ability to evade defenders in the pocket and it’s no question he’s one of the top players in the league.
The Bills will have their hands full on defense with having to defend Wilson. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-man show in Seattle.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is one of the best wide receiver combinations in the league. Metcalf ahas 680 receiving yards (fourth most in the NFL) with seven touchdowns on 36 receptions. As for Lockett, he’s in the top-10 with 49 receptions. The Bills secondary will have to be at their best when matching up against the talented combo.
The Bills have to prepare for the rushing attack of the Seahawks and that’s what I really want to focus on today. Starting running back Chris Carson is missing consecutive games due to a foot injury. Normally, this would open the door for Carlos Hyde but he’s also missed time due to a hamstring injury. Much like last week against the San Francisco 49ers, this has opened the door for Deejay Dallas to be the starting running back for the Seattle Seahawks. With Carson and Hyde out for this week against the Bills, plenty of touches will be given to Dallas. Let’s jump into some film to see what he brings to the table for the Seahawks!
Great blocks on the outside provide an opening
Even though he doesn’t have an elite skillset, Deejay Dallas does a nice job following his blockers on most of his runs. There’s been occurrences during his limited workload where he’s immediately met by defenders. Fortunately for him, there’s plenty of zone-reads and RPO concepts built into the Seahawks offense. Aside from that, most teams should have a player designated to spy Wilson.
Bouncing runs to the outside is not uncommon for a running back. Some of the most talented backs in the league do it on a handful of carries every game. The same goes for Dallas. When he gets some blocks on the outside, it works out pretty well for him. As you can see from the play above, Wilson gives the ball to Dallas and immediately, Dallas is looking at running through the B-gap. The hole is clogged and he gives a slight cut to the outside and this gives him plenty of space.
Fortunately, he gets a terrific block from Duane Brown (LT #76) and Metcalf (WR #14). Brown launches the defensive end into the dirt and Metcalf has complete control on the cornerback near the sideline. Dallas does the rest of the work by avoiding the linebacker with his right hand and then he gets upfield for positive yardage. These runs can happen from Dallas and if the Bills struggle with containing the outside like they’ve shown this season, it’ll be a good day for the rookie running back. Keep in mind, the Bills are allowing 134.5 rushing yards per game.
In the same game against the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas was given plenty of work in the red-zone. The play above is a simple toss play where Dallas explodes towards the sideline and gives a great effort at trying to score the touchdown. In the process of this run, he does a nice job avoiding another linebacker who took a poor angle to tackle him. This play went under review and officials ended up marking him down at the one-yard line. With that being said, check out Brown get out into space and block the cornerback. For Bills fans, you have to be worried about how the linebacker play will be for Buffalo, especially since Matt Milano is out for the game.
Red-zone work leads to touchdown
With only three carries inside the five-yard line, it’s hard to believe that Dallas is easily considered the “red-zone” guy. However, he caught a touchdown pass on third and goal last week. With that being said, he also out-snapped Travis Homer 54 snaps to seven snaps. It’s clear that the Seahawks like Dallas so it won’t be surprising to see him in the backfield whenever they’re in the red-zone.
Using the play above as an example, it’s a simple inside zone run where the Seahawks try to pound the ball up the middle. Fortunately, it works for them. After the exchange, Dallas shows the vision of just finding the first opening he sees and then to follow it up with bursting through the line-of-scrimmage (LOS) for the touchdown. This might not have the biggest impact to most fans but if it’s going to impact the score of the game, it should be deemed important.
Becoming the check down guy
So far this season, Dallas has 9 receptions on 10 targets for 50 yards and a score. If those stats aren’t telling, then go watch the tape. It’s clear that Dallas isn’t going to be utilized much as a pass-catcher due to his rout running ability. Instead, he’s becoming the check down guy for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. So far this season, he’s been most effective during second and 8-10 yards with four receptions on four targets and 28 yards.
Watching the play above, it’s evident that Russell Wilson checked down to Dallas on this play. This is a simple play but it helps keep the offense on the field. It also showcases the hand-eye coordination from Dallas to catch the ball with one hand and then work his way upfield for positive yardage. Much like Dallas done in the three games that he’s played so far this season, he spills out from the backfield and in front of the linebackers. He sits right in front of Wilson and as the quarterback goes through his progressions and there’s nothing left open, he dumps it down to Dallas. After five receptions last week from the running back, he could be busy again this weekend.