Jamal Adams didn’t tackle Malcolm Brown. That’s the easiest way to assuredly describe what happened on Brown’s second-quarter touchdown run for the Rams in Week 10.
It’s the “Why didn’t Adams tackle Brown?” that’s the more intriguing narrative without one clear answer, though. The Seahawks’ safety appeared to have his gap covered, until he didn’t, and Seattle (6-3) went on to lose to the Rams (6-3) 23-16.
On third-and-2 from the seven-yard line, Jared Goff handed off to Brown on a run to the right side. Brown received a large initial hole from his line, but when he approached the second level, Adams (33) appeared to be waiting for him. But then Brown just waltzed by Adams, who never really closed the hole before he threw up an errant attempt at an arm tackle at the last second.
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There are three varying explanations here. One is Adams simply feeling that Brown was going to cut farther outside and anticipating wrong (or thinking he had other cover in that wide open gap). Two is that Adams just whiffed on the tackle, with his balance potentially being upset by Rams wideout Josh Reynolds grabbing Adams’ left arm. And the third that Twitter threw out there was that Adams made a “business decision,” choosing to get out of the way so as not to take part in a big collision.
Here’s another angle of the play:
The business-decision narrative doesn’t make a ton of sense, if only because Brown’s 222 pounds only outweighs Adams’ 213 by nine pounds. While Brown does have a head of steam, Adams hasn’t been shy about laying out big hits during his NFL career. It seems more likely that Reynolds holding Adams’ arm caused the issue, but the optics weren’t helped by multiple Seattle coaches surrounding Adams after the touchdown run.
Injuries have meant Adams has only played in five of the Seahawks’ nine games so far in 2020 after being acquired for a package that included two first-round picks in the offseason from the Jets. He’s made 35 tackles and is on pace to set a career-high in sacks, as he already has 5.5 to be one off his career-best. A two-time Pro Bowler, Adams has been a part of a Seattle secondary that’s allowed the most passing yards in the NFL this season.