Matt Hasselbeck was hitting his receivers out of their cuts and that helped turn some iffy decisions into complete passes. It's a high stakes game, but with the kind of separation the Deion Branch-less receiver corps was getting, it was a game Hasselbeck sometimes had to play. Seattle ran Edgerrin James from the four and then Hasselbeck connected with Burleson to get Seattle out of jail.
Burleson then ran a wide receiver screen. He had good lead blocking by Sean Locklear and Rob Sims. An effort that reinforced my belief Spencer and Sims are not slow or swamp-footed, just not exacting enough to pull off Mike Holmgren's scheme. Beck hit Houshmandzadeh with a quick hitter for nine and then James picked his hole in a flash for two and the first. Efficient football, yes, but no kind of preparation for the SeaCat.
There's not a lot I can tell you a .gif cannot show you, but here are a few observations.
1. The play is not unbalanced, as the left side has two people and the right side has three.
2. It does feature a funky cluster on the right that should have tipped St. Louis off.
3. Oh yeah, and Hasselbeck at wide out.
4. Edgerrin James was free on the right, but you do not improvise in the middle of a trick play.
5. John Carlson was running into triple coverage. That's the power of a playmaker away from the ball.
6. There wasn't a key block. The closest thing to a key block was Rey Willis blocking right corner Jonathan Wade, but Wallace was likely to pass Wade anyway.
7. Max Unger cut blocked. James chipped and Steve Vallos fell on O.J. Otogwe, but to little effect.
Deception and Seneca Wallace netted a 24 yard gain.
Then Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception. The blame can be spread. Seattle sets with Burleson left, Houshmandzadeh right, Carlson right and in an "I" formation. The Rams are 4-3 neutral. Hasselbeck runs play action. Seattle keeps seven blockers in, and that leaves Hasselbeck with only three receivers. The Rams defensive line cuts left and Ron Bartell runs a corner blitz. That means Houshmandzadeh is not covered by a corner. Chris Long works to Willis' inside shoulder and is the defender that eventually pressures Hasselbeck into his throw. Burleson ran a hook route that didn't feature much hook.
Houshmandzadeh could have adjusted his route, maybe. Willis could have won his battle. Hasselbeck could have checked down to Justin Griffith open in the left flat. Greg Knapp could have called something other than max-protect. Burleson could have come back farther. The throw was the killer, though. Hasselbeck looked down Houshmandzadeh, didn't see anything he liked, looked quickly to the left, saw Burleson breaking, presumably saw Long coming free, and whipped it off his back foot. It floated towards Burleson and Otogwe broke back nearly five yards to catch it.