It's hard enough to get a read on a corner in quarter, but when that corner subs out, it's impossible. Jordan Babineaux played left cornerback and Marcus Trufant right. Lawyer Milloy substituted for Babineaux at safety. So it was for most of the quarter. Josh Wilson made one important play, contacting Josh Morgan on a short pass on third and 10, and throwing Morgan out bounds to end the drive and stop the clock.
Unger didn't have anymore big moments during the half, but at least he was getting snaps. He single blocked twice to open the next drive. He held on both plays and on the first, finished by chucking his man right. Power, the missing component in Unger's game. He moved left with the pocket on the next play and controlled the left defensive end. Unger struck the nose tackle, lost the block, recovered and buried him on a run up the middle that went nowhere. Chris Spencer helped double the nose on Matt Hasselbeck's long pass to Nate Burleson, a pass that fell one yard short of awesome and one yard long of interception.
Unger has improved as a pull blocker. He is no longer driven back. He doesn't struggle to release or release too late. Unger pulled forward and engaged Patrick Willis, but Willis stood tall and kept the struggle in the hole. Justin Forsett ran left for five.
The 49ers blitzed on the next play, and with superior numbers and overloading the edges, caved the exterior pocket and threatened a group sack. Unger let Ray McDonald achieve a stride on him. McDonald slashed around Unger's right shoulder and towards Hasselbeck, but as the pocket warped and collapsed around him, Hasselbeck stepped forward and negated the entire rush. Unger shadowed McDonald and cleared as Hasselbeck stepped up and scrambled for 23. Moments like this remind that Seneca Wallace may have the legs, but smarts make smart quarterback scrambles.
The entire Seahawks line surged left and Spencer blew back Aubrayo Franklin. Unger never got a chance. The cutback lane tore open to the offensive right, but Julius Jones skipped the hole and hit the pile. The run went for two.
Hasselbeck pumped and scrambled himself into pressure on the next play. It was ugly all around, but Unger kept his head in it and his quarterback clean.
The drive ended with Unger reading and picking up a defensive end stunt. To his left, Michael Lewis exploded through the line untouched and forced a fumble. It was a curious play to say the least. Spencer pointed left, identifying the blitzer. Then Hasselbeck looked like he was audibling and Forsett shifted from left to right. It's the second time we've seen Forsett on the wrong side attempting to pick up a blitz. The announcers commended him for it the first time. He didn't luck into a recovery this time.
There wasn't much more of the quarter to speak of. Seattle regained possession, but managed little before running out the clock. Unger released well on the screen attempt right, but the rest of Seatle's line was AWOL. Jones slipped out of bounds for a loss of two. Unger controlled his man on another nice looking deep route by Deion Branch, but the pass sailed nowhere and luckily to no one. Unger finished with a good block on McDonald. McDonald, you might remember, owned Unger in week two.