This starts with a bad play fake and ends with a bad pass.
3-1-DEN 45 (7:36) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete deep left to 11-D.Butler.
Seattle sets in a balanced formation, wide receiver (left/right), tight end (left), I formation (right), but motions Deon Butler right, creating a very unbalanced formation. That always interests me. Most coaches strive for balance, because balance assists unpredictability. When a coach calls an unbalanced formation, I assume shenanigans.
Jeremy Bates delivers.
Matt Hasselbeck does not.
Hasselbeck fakes hand off, and it's rather half-assed. Sometimes this matters; it doesn't on this play. Hasselbeck fakes to Leon Washington and Washington joins Quinton Ganther blocking blitzing linebacker Jason Hunter flying free around right end. The pocket is pristine. The Broncos have committed five pass rushers and the Seahawks have countered with seven blockers.
Butler runs a deep cross. Andre Goodman is in man coverage. Butler roasts Goodman. Butler has five yards on Goodman, and few MPH too. Butler is so open Kyle Boller could find him. Butler is in range, too. Anyone's range. Bates combines a deep route with an in breaking route, meaning that though Butler is deep, he is only thirty yards (almost exactly) away from Hasselbeck. This is smart. Ken Whisenhunt wrung life from old-man Kurt Warner by calling plays like this: Deep, but over the middle, so deep vertically but shallow laterally.
Warner completes this pass. Hasselbeck sails it a little high and way behind Butler. It's not only errant, it's eminently pickable, and had Butler not been wide open, it's easy to see this play ending in an interception. Instead, a sure score, and this was a sure score, becomes an incomplete pass.
4-1-DEN 45 (7:30) 8-M.Hasselbeck up the middle to DEN 43 for 2 yards (76-Ja.Williams).
1-10-DEN 43 (7:03) 26-M.Robinson up the middle to DEN 28 for 15 yards (20-B.Dawkins, 23-R.Hill). WATCH HIGHLIGHT
Hasselbeck hands to fullback Michael Robinson. Andrews pulls forward and blocks Mario Haggan. Robinson bursts through the hole and into the second level. He brushes Haggan, continues, runs through the lunging tackles of Ryan McBean and D.J. Williams, continues, and is finally tracked down and wrapped by Brian Dawkins.
Why do I like Jeremy Bates? Because Bates doesn't have a fullback. Bates has a converted quarterback that can block, receive, run and execute trick plays. How can anyone not love Michael Robinson?
1-10-DEN 28 (6:27) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass deep left intended for 89-J.Carlson INTERCEPTED by 20-B.Dawkins at DEN 9. 20-B.Dawkins to DEN 7 for -2 yards (89-J.Carlson). WATCH HIGHLIGHT
Another poorly executed play action. This time, Seattle pays the piper.
Play action, Broncos blitz five, Hasselbeck takes a seven step drop, but for no clear reason, gets a little goofy with his footwork on his final couple steps. It's possible that he wanted to roll right, but that Marcus Thomas blowing past Andrews and penetrating on the right stopped him. Carlson's route would be invalid if Hasselbeck broke right, but another route becomes valid: Mike Williams crossing pattern. Williams is wide open.
Pressure arrives off both ends. Thomas is closing from the front side. Ganther misses a block on the blind side, and Hunter pressures the poor throw. Hasselbeck does step into this throw, but that's incidental. His mechanics are awry. He throws side arm and torques his waist to generate power. Maybe all that factors.
Maybe, if Seattle sells play action, Dawkins bites and isn't on Carlson like weeping sores on Scruffy Lefty.
Maybe, if Seattle sells play action, the blitz slows down a beat.
Maybe, if Hasselbeck doesn't get screwy with his backpedal, Ganther blocks Hunter and Hasselbeck steps and fires.
Maybe, if Andrews blocks Thomas, Hasselbeck continues right and finds a wide open Mike Williams.
None of that happens. Hasselbeck throws another middle deep pass high and behind the receiver, and whereas Butler was so open to minimize the damage. Carlson isn't. Dawkins jumps the route and picks the pass.