The defender closest to the play is blamed. The player closest to the play is rarely at fault.
San Francisco started their drive with an inside hand off to Moran Norris for fifteen. Seahawks fans might do it begrudgingly, but instead of blaming Aaron Curry, we should credit Jimmy Raye. Raye mercilessly attacked Seattle's inexperienced linebackers. After twice running a misdirection pitch left on the preceding drive, this rush was the payoff. Gore motioned pitch out left, but Hill handed off to Norris. Curry read the play and positioned himself, but he was isolated and out of luck. Joe Staley pulled across the line and into the hole. Curry did what he could to stop Staley. Jordan Babineaux stopped Norris after fifteen.
The player most at fault is David Hawthorne. Will Herring and Deon Grant were over the offensive left, but Hawthorne started beside Curry over offensive right. Hawthorne was too aggressive and pursued the fake, taking himself out of the play. If Hawthorne was more disciplined, Curry cuts down Staley and Hawthorne tackles Norris after a minimal gain.
The rest of the drive can be summed up in a few lines.
- Second play: Red Bryant stuffs the line and Curry wraps around left end to finish a staggering Frank Gore.
- Seattle puts in its double over tackle package and Bryant's presence allows Cole to isolate left guard David Baas. Cole bullies Baas into the pocket and tips Shaun Hill's pass.
- Patrick Kerney reads the shovel pass and tackles Frank Gore before the play can start.
- Field goal.