Ray Willis sleepwalked through the first quarter. What more could he do? He wasn't challenged, protected or counted on. He was invisible -- in a good way.
That put me in a spot. I wanted to follow up on him after his perceived disastrous week in Indy, but if nothing's happening, nothing's happening.
Then something happened.
Seattle is set three wide, two tight ends. The right wide out is Justin Forsett. He motions to running back before the snap. The play starts like a stretch left, but it's not. It's an elegant cutback right that should have scored.
I highlighted the principle players. The wide receivers are important decoys. After Forsett motions in, cornerback Derek Cox moves into the tackle box, over but to the right of Forsett. At the snap, Seattle moves its line hard left. That action lures both inside linebackers into the pile. John Owens (86) runs past left outside linebacker Daryl Smith. Smith pursues Hasselbeck on Matt Hasselbeck's boot motion and takes himself out of the play. John Carlson is matched against right defensive end Derrick Harvey. That's a tough matchup, but one he must and does win.
The trap is sprung when Willis stops his pull right and circles back to block left defensive end John Henderson. All of a sudden, Forsett has a wide open cutback lane (the triangle beginning between 89 and 74 and extending towards the end zone), a cornerback to beat and Owens to block in front.
Forsett times his cut poorly and runs up on Carlson's legs. Carlson could have blocked Harvey better, but not much better. He eventually pancakes Harvey. Forsett's initial hole is not gaping, it's a cutback lane after all, but it's clear and large enough for any rusher to explode through with a head of steam. Instead he stumbles and the defense swarms around him. He gains two, but if he gets through that hole cleanly, he should have no problem taking it to the house. One only needs to see how empty the right side of the field is to see the brilliance of this play call and how close it was to a touchdown.
Greg Knapp constructed a beautiful play, but it was undone by Forsett. Seattle must find a way to use this again. Stumbles happen, and sometimes they cost you yardage, but any play design that can nearly clear out and entire half of the field deserves a prominent place in an NFL playbook.