The Seahawks rushed for 153 yards against the Chargers on Sunday. How did they do it? Not how you might think. They ran the ball 33 times. This included 22 times from their regular (base) personnel featuring two running backs, two receivers and a tight end. Nineteen of those 22 plays were from the I-formation. The other three were from split backs (overwhelmingly a passing formation for this team).
Seattle used its regular personnel 36 times, a season high in number of plays and by percentage of plays. This would imply that Seattle just lined up and pounded the ball. Not entirely. Those base-personnel runs averaged 2.9 yards per carry. The team ran three times for eight yards from its one-back, two-receiver, two-tight offense.
Seattle did its damage on the ground through a handful of carries from three- and four-receiver sets that forced San Diego out of its base defense. Seattle carried three times for 25 yards from its two-back, three-receiver offense. There were two carries for 12 yards from the four-receiver offense. There were three carries for 44 yards from the one-back, three-receiver offense.
That adds up to eight carries for 81 yards (10.1 ypc) with three or more receivers on the field, compared to 25 carries for 72 yards (3.28 ypc) with two receivers on the field. We knew the Seahawks put up some impressive numbers on the ground. By studying personnel usage, we have a better idea how they did it.