Charlie Whitehurst and the 114.6 Quarterback Rating

I picked Whitehurst's most recent and perhaps most successful preseason game. I say perhaps because though Whitehurst completed 71.4% of his passes for a touchdown, no picks and achieved the highest quarterback rating of his preseason career (excepting a game where he made one attempt), it's always possible that he had a better, more accomplished game. Possible. I thought that picking the game that looked best, and was most recent, was my best chance to give Whitehurst the benefit of the doubt. It was an attempt, anyway.

Whitehurst's starting offensive line from left to right: Brandyn Dombrowski, Tyronne Green, Scott Mruczkowski, Ray Feinga and Corey Clark. That might not strike you as a particularly talented unit, and it did not strike me as dominating or overmatching the 49ers third stringers, but only Feinga and Clark were cut, Clark was re-signed, and Dombrowski and Mruczkowski combined for 21 starts in 2009. It seemed like a good mix of reserves and camp bodies facing off against reserves and camp bodies.

Whitehurst started the third quarter. San Diego was up 13-7. I am going to list every pertinent detail I can think of in hopes of squeezing the most information out of a limited sample. I will list the formations, the play and its outcome and finally what Whitehurst did.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left/right), RB

SF: 3-4 (Outside linebackers walked up outside the tackle box)

1-10-SD 36 (14:54) 33-G.Johnson right guard to SD 45 for 9 yards (28-C.Taylor).

Whitehurst hands off. Nothing hitchy looking. Not very deceptive, but not altogether noteworthy.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (right), I (Right, motions left)

SF: 3-4 (Outside linebackers walked up outside the tackle box. Heretofore known as 3-4 (5))

2-1-SD 45 (14:14) 33-G.Johnson left end to 50 for 5 yards (56-S.McKillop).

Handoff, same deal. Johnson runs left and fumbles out of bounds.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left/right), RB

SF: 3-4 (5)

1-10- (13:34) 33-G.Johnson up the middle to SF 32 for 18 yards (28-C.Taylor, 30D-R.Smith).

Handoff. Johnson ducks a tackle, spins out of the pile right and breaks into the open field for a good gain.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left/right), RB

SF: 3-4 (5)

1-10-SF 32 (13:00) 33-G.Johnson up the middle to SF 33 for -1 yards (56-S.McKillop, 54-M.Harris).

Handoff. Stuffed.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (right), I (left)

SF: 3-4 (5)

2-11-SF 33 (12:26) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete to 12-G.Banks (41-T.Lambert).

Whitehurst takes a five-step drop. His eyes are fixed on Banks. The 49ers rush five, three down linemen and both outside linebackers. Whitehurst double clutches. Feinga is being pushed back, and it somewhat limits Whitehurst's pocket to step into. He throws a slow wobbler off his back foot. Undrafted corner Terrail Lambert jumps the route, but does not see the ball. His body shields the pass, but he had a decent shot of snagging the interception.

SD: 2 WR (left), WR (right), Split backs, shotgun

SF: 4-2

2-11-SF 33 (12:26) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete to 12-G.Banks (41-T.Lambert).

Whitehurst reads left, holds, finds Banks well short of the first down marker but somewhat open. He delivers a precise pass to Banks, but Banks drops it attempting to turn up field. Lambert was closing fast on the play.

(Field Goal)

(Chargers force three and out)

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left), I

SF: 3-4

1-10-SD 34 (10:32) 33-G.Johnson right end to SD 34 for no gain. PENALTY on SF-54-M.Harris, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at SD 34 - No Play.

Handoff. Play called dead.

SD: 2 WR (left), TE (right), I (left)

SF: 3-4

1-5-SD 39 (10:09) 6-C.Whitehurst sacked at SD 29 for -10 yards (60-K.Mitchell). FUMBLES (60-K.Mitchell), and recovers at SD 29. Penalty on SD, Offensive Holding, declined.

49ers rush four. Whitehurst takes a five-step drop and fixes his attention downfield, center. Diryal Briggs is rushing from the defensive right, but Dombrowski is able to redirect him in, and keep Whitehurst free from blindside pressure. Whitehurst has four seconds before a slow and steadily collapsing pocket arrives from the right. Khalif Mitchell is pushing through a double team, and nearing Whitehurst, he raises his hands and extends them over Mruczkowski and Feinga. Whitehurst never seems remotely aware of this slow, plodding pressure. He cocks and is strap-sacked by Mitchell. He falls on the fumble. A holding penalty is declined. Chargers lose ten yards and with it nearly lose possession.

SD: 2WR (bunch right), 2 TE (left), RB

SF: 3-4 (5)

2-15-SD 29 (9:29) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short left to 33-G.Johnson to SD 45 for 16 yards (33-E.Green).

Whitehurst fakes handoff and begins to bootleg right. It's a long, deep Bootleg rather than a short curled one, and at its maximum depth, Whitehurst is 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He turns and throws an accurate pass to Johnson. The pass travels six yards, but Johnson turns and runs another 20 to achieve the first.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (right), I (right, motions left)

SF: 3-4 (5)

1-10-SD 45 (9:09) 33-G.Johnson up the middle to SD 45 for no gain (95-R.Jean Francois, 56-S.McKillop).

Handoff.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left/right), RB

SF: 3-4 (5)

2-10-SD 45 (9:09) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete to 13-C.Martin.

Play-action, Whitehurst drops seven steps, makes one read and overthrows into triple coverage. The pass nearly sails to the deep safety. Charly Martin pulls down his hands and braces himself before getting popped by a pair of 49ers.

SD: WR (left), 2WR (right), SB, Shotgun

SF: 4-2

3-10-SD 45 (8:27) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete deep right to 81-K.Osgood. PENALTY on SF-41-T.Lambert, Defensive Pass Interference, 40 yards, enforced at SD 45 - No Play.

Kassim Osgood gets a step Lambert and then furthers separation with a loose double move to the outside. Lambert is toast. Whitehurst drops, plants from the 37 and fires the pass to the 21. The ball travels 42 yards in the air. The pass is underthrown, and Osgood first slows, then stops to position himself under it. Lambert recovers, but is completely lost, and in his haste to defend the pass, jumps and slaps at Osgood drawing the penalty.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left), I (left)

SF: 3-4 (5)

1-10-SF 15 (8:22) 30-K.Moore up the middle to SF 12 for 3 yards (67-P.Egboh, 56-S.McKillop).

Handoff.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (left), I (left)

SF: 3-4 (5)

2-7-SF 12 (7:52) 33-G.Johnson right end to SF 3 for 9 yards (28-C.Taylor).

Handoff.

SD: TE (left), 2TE (right), I

SF: Goal line.

1-3-SF 3 (7:08) 33-G.Johnson up the middle to SF 4 for -1 yards (95-R.Jean Francois).

Handoff.

SD: WR (left/right), TE (right), I (right)

SF: 3-4 (5)

2-4-SF 4 (6:28) 33-G.Johnson right end to SF 1 for 3 yards (50-J.Roland, 28-C.Taylor). PENALTY on SD-69-T.Green, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at SF 4 - No Play.

Handoff.

SD: WR (left), 2 WR (right), TE (right), RB

SF: 4-2

2-14-SF 14 (6:05) 30-K.Moore left end to SF 10 for 4 yards (50-J.Roland).

Handoff. (This looks suspiciously like the Charlie Frye offense Mike Holmgren designed for Frye in week 6 of 2008.)

SD: 2WR (left/right), RB (left), Shotgun

SF: 4-2

3-10-SF 10 (5:25) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short left to 30-K.Moore to SF 10 for no gain (50-J.Roland).

Whitehurst drops back 10 yards. The 49ers have speed rushers on the edge. Notably, former and current Charger Marques Harris at left end. Whitehurst finishes his drop back and freezes. Harris nearly reaches him from the right, he cocks, is nearly stripped, double clutches, moves up and to the right to free himself and throws across his body to Kestahn Moore. Moore attempts to cut across the field, is able to work his way back to the line of scrimmage before being tackled.

(Field Goal)

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