The run game is the foundation for everything the Carolina Panthers do on offense. The Panthers won their Week 6 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks because they were dedicated to running the football.The Panthers have the most diverse rushing attack in the NFL, and they showcased a lot of different runs early on against the Seahawks.
The Panthers used multiple personnel sets, including 11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR), 12 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) and 21 (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) personnel and often ran against seven, eight and even nine man boxes up front. The Panthers ran a good mix of downhill and lateral run plays. They ran their usual mix of power and zone run plays, ran some option runs (zone read and power read), ran the triple option, and also ran reverse runs and jet sweeps with wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown.
The Panthers love running different run plays out of different personnel groupings and formations. Here the Panthers run a simple Power run out of 21 personnel, against eight Seahawks defenders in the box. The Panthers are in an offset-I formation with an unbalanced offensive line, with tight end Greg Olsen lined up at left tackle, Mike Remmers at right tackle, and Michael Oher as the jumbo right tackle.
On the very next play the Panthers move to shotgun in 12 personnel, and motion Corey Brown into the backfield to create an Inverted Wishbone look. The Panthers run the inside zone read option against eight defenders in the box.
Here the Panthers are in Pistol out of 21 personnel, with wide receiver Corey Brown once again in the backfield. They once again go with an unbalanced offensive line up front with both tackles to the right side and both tight ends to the left. The Seahawks respond with seven in the box.
The Panthers were mostly unsuccessful running the football early on, because the Seahawks loaded the box with seven, eight and even nine defenders at times. The Seahawks defense was extremely disciplined and aggressive up front. However, because the Panthers ran such a large variety of run plays from multiple formations, they were able to keep the Seahawks defense guessing for most of the game. This helped the read option run game get going as the game progressed.
Late in the first quarter, out of 21 personnel, the Panthers run the split-zone triple option with an "arc" block by tight end Greg Olsen. Stewart cuts back and runs behind Olsen to pick up four yards.
As the game progressed, the Seahawks defensive fronts become lighter and more spaced out. This time the Panthers run the Inverted Veer (also known as the Power Read) out of 11 personnel, and Stewart is able to pick up eight yards on the sweep against seven defenders in the box.
Two plays later the Panthers run the outside zone read option and Mike Tolbert is able to pick up seven more yards. Once again, the Panthers are in 11 personnel. Notice how the Seahawks now only put six defenders in the box.
The Panthers like using their wide receivers in the run game both in the triple option, and on designed wide receiver runs. Against the Seahawks, the Panthers had some success running reverses and jet sweeps with wide receiver Corey Brown, the second fastest receiver on the roster after Ted Ginn Jr.
On this play the Panthers run a WR Reverse to Brown for a gain of eight yards.
Here the Panthers run a Jet Sweep with Brown out of 21 personnel. Brown is able to pick up seven yards.
The Panthers use of Cam Newton as a runner also kept the Seahawks defense off-guard.
On this Inverted Veer, Cam chooses to keep the ball, and runs behind the Power blocking scheme up front. Cam picks up eight yards.
Cam Newton is a very tough inside runner. On this play, the Panthers run the lead QB draw run play. Newton takes the snap and drops back, before following his lead-blocking tight end Greg Olsen up the middle for a gain of nine yards.
Cam Newton is a dangerous inside runner, but he’s also an underrated outside runner. On this play, instead of attacking up the middle with Cam, the Panthers run a QB Sweep play, and Cam is able to quickly get to the edge and power his way in to score a two yard touchdown.
The Panthers use of the read option and designed quarterback runs with Cam Newton also helped open up some passing windows in the play action passing game as the game progressed.
Here the Panthers run a play action pass to Greg Olsen on deep crossing route for a gain of 12 yards.
On this play the Panthers run another play action pass, this time to Jerricho Cotchery on a slant route, for a gain of 14 yards.
Another play action pass, this time to Philly Brown who is running a comeback route against Richard Sherman. Brown is able to make the catch for a gain of 11 yards.
The Panthers will once again want to establish the run game early against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. Jonathan Stewart should be fully healthy, and Stewart is a very powerful back who can consistently pick up two to three yards, even against loaded boxes. Second and seven is always better than second and ten. Corey Brown should also be a factor in the reverse and jet sweep run game. The Panthers like his ability out in space, and it’s another way to attack Seattle’s cornerbacks on the edge, and a good change of pace from the downhill approach with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert.
All GIF’s and images courtesy of NFL.com
Want more X’s and O’s? Check out CSR’s Carolina Panthers Film Room. Learn more about the Panthers triple option, or how the Panthers use Cam Newton as a power runner.