One day soon the Seahawks will have a real quarterback controversy and we as community can truly rip each other apart. I'm looking forward to it. Until then, the struggle of bad versus probably bad will have to suffice.
Charlie Whitehurst attempted 23 passes. Most failed. Some failed because of Whitehurst. Some failed because of teammates. Over the next two days, we will look at every attempt and attempt to explain what happened and why. We'll also do quarter by quarter overviews of the rest of the team, starting tomorrow and running through Friday.
Let's dig in.
The Seahawks passed the ball on seven of their first nine attempts. The Giants like the Raiders before them were crowding the line, and though Whitehurst is physically capable of pushing New York back, he didn't.
2-12-SEA 14 (14:19) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short left to 11-D.Butler to SEA 11 for -3 yards (26-A.Rolle).
Seahawks set: WR (left (Deon Butler)), 2 WRs (right), TE (left), RB.
Giants are in a 4-2 nickel with Antrel Rolle walked up to the line.
Seahawks keep in six blockers. Whitehurst takes a three step drop and fires before Butler is out of his break. It's pretty good if not perfect timing. Terrell Thomas closes on Butler and arrives early, chest bumping him but not blatantly interfering. It disrupts Butler and he juggles and juggles and finally catches the ball near the line of scrimmage. John Carlson blocks Thomas and Butler attempts to loop wide towards the left sideline and break up field. Rolle catches him and hip slams him to the turf for a loss of three.
The timing isn't bad. The pass is accurate. The receiver bobbles the ball in part because of minor interference, and then everything goes to hell. A stat is a stat, but the outcome isn't really on Whitehurst.
3-15-SEA 11 (13:32) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete short middle to 17-M.Williams (24-T.Thomas).
Jeremy Bates scripts his first 15 plays and so that produces this play call that's more or less hopeless and enacted provided even less than that.
Seahawks set: 2 WR (left (with Mike Williams wide), WR (right), TE (right), RB.
Giants: 4-2 nickel.
Whitehurst takes a three step drop, pats and throws at Williams. Williams is running a slant against Thomas and from the press and through the route, Thomas wins. Williams is inside, but Thomas is in front, and when Williams attempts to catch the pass -- which is accurate -- his left arm gets caught under Thomas's helmet. The pass falls incomplete.
1-10-SEA 29 (10:44) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short right to 11-D.Butler to SEA 30 for 1 yard (59-M.Boley).
This is Whitehurst's first regular season completion. Congratulations! It's pretty garbage.
Seahawks set: TE (left), I (right), 2 WRs (right).
Butler motions in creating a bunch on the right with Williams. Snap. Seahawks run a hard play action left, but the fake isn't sold particularly well. It works though. The line stretches left and the Giant front seven follows, except for two players. Justin Tuck shadows Whitehurst right but is blocked out by Carlson. He arrives from fullback to land the block.
Michael Boley is all over Butler. Butler runs a whip route and jogs his release outside. It's not entirely clear why he jogs. Whitehurst locks on to him but doesn't throw right away. It's not entirely clear why he hesitates. If Butler is running faster, Whitehurst can zip it to him and he should be able to burn Boley. If Butler is jogging, Whitehurst either needs to continue running up field and draw the linebacker or scramble; or he needs to get it to Butler before Boley is all over him.
Neither happens and when Whitehurst finally does throw it to Butler, Boley is there to wrap and tackle him after a gain of one. Strange execution to a well designed play.
2-9-SEA 30 (9:55) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete short right to 11-D.Butler.
Seahawks: 2 TEs (left), TE (right), WR (right), Rb
Looks like the Giants release into "Sky" coverage. Which, thank you very much Smart Football, looks like this.
Butler runs into the space between strong safety Kenny Phillips and corner Corey Webster. Whitehurst reads middle, looks left, sort of stares him down, pats the football and throws high over Phillips. Butler jumps, extends his arms and it's painfully close, but the pass continues just past his outstretched hands out of bounds and incomplete.
3-9-SEA 30 (9:50) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete deep right to 11-D.Butler.
Seahawks: WR (left), WR (right (No. 1 receiver Deon Butler), Trips (Right) that Brandon Stokley motions out of and into the left slot.
Giants are showing blitz and do blitz, first seven and then six. One Giant starts blitz and then opts into coverage but it's way late. The Seahawks retain seven blockers. Whitehurst tosses it long towards Butler running up the right sideline. Butler is matched against Webster, and it's interesting. He seems to get stuck behind Webster even though Webster does not press or initiate contact, and though Butler has superior speed (4.38 v. 4.51), he doesn't create any separation until the very end of the play. The ball flies long, incomplete.
2-8-SEA 23 (5:10) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short middle to 86-C.Baker to SEA 30 for 7 yards (54-J.Goff).
Aaay it's a good play.
Seahawks: WR (left), TE (right), 2 WRs (right (Carlson in the right slot)), Rb
Giants release into a cover 2. Whitehurst reads that, waits until Chris Baker gets a little depth and zips it to him for seven before Jonathan Goff can arrive and tackle.
3-1-SEA 30 (4:34) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete deep left to 86-C.Baker. after lateral from 33 Washington
The trick play. Not much to write about this. Whitehurst has Baker wide open underneath and Williams single covered down field, but seems to panic under the pressure of Rocky Bernard and throws it to neither Baker nor Williams but somewhere in between.
One thing I will add is, this play started at a pitch left to Leon Washington. He sells it and the Seahawks line sells it and it's dead on arrival. Washington would have struggled to avoid losing yards. So, if you're curious why Seattle didn't run it, this is probably why. The run wasn't working. This run, at least the pitch, would not have worked.