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Game Over

Featuring not one but two Earl Thomas interceptions.
Featuring not one but two Earl Thomas interceptions.

There was roughly 734 plays in the fourth quarter spanning over eight drive and a kneel down. Somehow, in hopes of having a Friday night, I will attempt to cram them all into one post. Just like old times. Prepare your short attention span, no words will be wasted, starting ... now.

  • Forsett misses the hole, runs right and into a defender.
  • Underthrown pass to Carlson, no run after catch, tackled short of the first: punt.

Chargers ball:

  • Colin Cole substituted for Mebane at under tackle and Junior Siavii substituted at over tackle.
  • Tolbert ran for eight and then three and the first largely because of huge interior push by the Chargers middle three linemen.
  • Seattle rushes five. Balmer and Tatupu each attempt a tip, but neither accomplishes the goal. Rivers, wholly on his own, throws a slumpbuster of a pass. Rivers may be the best quarterback ever to throw so many oogly wounded ducks and tumblers. This particular rolling boulder tips off the out-stretched hand of Antonio Gates and to Earl Thomas. Thomas snatches it just above the turf and returns it 34 yards.
  • Tatupu's jump in Rivers throwing lane forces Rivers to sidearm the pass and probably contributes to the overall suckiness and wouldn't get laid at an all boys college ugliness of this pass.

Seahawks ball.

  • Play-action stretch left, Branch fakes out Donald Strickland and Hasselbeck hits for six. Mike Williams, for his part, draws the safety, helping to isolate Branch one on one against the nickelback.
  • One of the worst plays I have ever seen from Mr. John Carlson. And one of the best in recent memory from Matt Hasselbeck. See, I used the formal address for the guy I'm about to bury. That's manners, brothers in Blue.
  • Simple really: play-action stretch right, Hasselbeck begins to roll left, sees Kevin Burnett, in single coverage on Carlson, fall, stops, fires and fires towards Carlson's back shoulder and away from Eric Weddle, who is closing from the left, but Carlson drops it. He drops the touchdown.
  • Fade to Butler. Too much surprise; too little common sense. Trips on the left match Butler one on one against Quentin Jammer, and if Seattle put Mike Williams on the right, the Chargers surely would have cheated a safety over, but, nevertheless, it's still Butler-Jammer, one on one, and Jammer just owns him, cuts off his route and the two watch as the pass fades incomplete.
  • Field Goal.

Chargers ball.

  • Clemons and Balmer combine to create edge pressure. Balmer runs wide and Clemons cuts in, and that's something kind of odd about Balmer, how often he attempts edge rush. Rivers steps up and finds Randy McMichael wide open. Herring is caught looking in the backfield and drops cover.
  • Again, I like Will Herring, but he was the Max Unger of this game.
  • Balmer's turned by Dielman, Cole closes and Hawthorne caps it after two, but the elements of a big rush are there. Not much starch in the middle without Bane.
  • Seahawks rush four. Clemons, from the left, Balmer, from in front, and Bryant, from the front side, apply pressure, but the coverage looks like a cover two and Tolbert finds space underneath.
  • McMichael runs from the backfield and literally chips Raheem Brock over and onto the turf. It's weird how the Leo kind of works and simultaneously kind of doesn't work. Rivers finds Naanee running free through the zone. There is no debate, zones work with pressure and crumble without.
  • Cole and Siavii are knocked out; Cole, particularly, disappearing beneath a wave of offensive linemen. Tolbert runs for eight.
  • Next run is for four on first and six from the six yard line. Thurmond makes a saving tackle.
  • Game situation forced them to abandon it, but over six runs in the fourth quarter, San Diego averaged 5.3 yards with an 83% success rate.
  • Play action, but the Seahawks don't bite. Coverage holds and Rivers is forced to scramble wide right. Eventually, Clemons disengages from the front side and pressures Rivers into throwing the ball away.
  • Five seconds into the play, Balmer disengages and begins to chase Rivers. Rivers moves left and then loops back right and Dombrowski tackles Balmer attempting to close and sack. Two things: Good hustle by Balmer; even with a three man rush, five seconds (and then some) is too long.
  • Rivers continues onward, no longer chased, but suddenly, with Red Bryant closing from the front at full speed. Not only is Bryant strange-fast for a big man, but Jeromey Clary blocks him in the back providing a kind of hyperboost. Rivers tosses, it floats, Clemons times his jump perfectly, puts his hands up to pick the pass, and like backyard football, it splits Clemons' uprights and falls into the hands of Antonio Gates.
  • Dombrowski's sweep on Balmer is called a hold, that's debatable, and the touchdown is called back.
  • Seattle sends six, the usual six, the four man line, Tatupu and Milloy, Milloy draws the fullback and Tatupu strikes Rivers. Rivers finds Gates for the score. Blown coverage: Babineaux.
  • Then we get a long series of two-point attempts. Rivers finally connects when he moves up as if to scramble, draws Roy Lewis down, Lewis blows cover and Rivers finds Naanee wide open.

Leon Washington saves the day.

Chargers ball.

  • Seahawks rush five, generate no pressure whatsoever and someone, I'm not sure who, blows coverage.
  • Here's the set up. Naanee runs Kelly Jennings off deep. Gates runs an out underneath and is wide open. Hawthorne is a suspect. He stays shallow to cover the outlet receiver but he's still closest to the action. However, if Hawthorne runs deep, the outlet receiver is wide open. Everyone seems to have a man except Lawyer Milloy. Milloy doubles Malcom Floyd with Walter Thurmond and one is clearly superfluous, because Gates is wide open. Then again, even accounting for all that, this could have been a systematic screwup, but it was definitely a screwup, because no one intentionally leaves Antonio Gates wide open 10 yards down the field.
  • Naanee is free on another botched zone. I have no theories to explain this one. It was complete and San Diego was in hurry up and I don't have access to coaches film, so your theory is as good as mine.
  • Oh yeah, no pressure on that last play and no pressure on the following play, in which Naanee again runs off Jennings and Gates again pops wide open, this time, 20 yards down field.
  • False start.
  • False start.
  • Sproles runs a speed out. Herring closes and tackles.
  • Seahawks blitz seven. I cringe. It works. Dexter Davis achieves a wide front side rush and Thomas snakes in the gap and strikes Rivers. Rivers throws it away incomplete. Bad Bones is a nifty blitzer.
  • Balmer and Clemons combine to pressure Rivers into another incomplete pass.
  • Delay of game.
  • Seahawks rush six. It doesn't achieve a ton of pressure, but what pressure there is, is created by Davis and Bryant. The pass is underthrown to Crayton and Lewis uppercuts it out of his grasp.
  • Turnover on downs.

Seahawks ball. Briefly.

  • Spencer, you make loving you so hard: false start.
  • That can not be underestimated. Seattle is in "make a first and kill the clock" mode, and 10 becoming 15 hurts.
  • Seahawks generate good push on the right, and though a five yard gain is not squandering said push, nor was it maximizing it, Justin Forsett.
  • Then Seattle attempts a play action stretch right and the play breaks down on the play fake. Most NFL quarterbacks kind of half ass play action, so I'm not singling out Hasselbeck, but he reaches the ball towards Forsett and Forsett isn't even within reach to touch it, and so you can kinda understand when veteran linebacker Shaun Phillips ignores the play fake and takes a beeline towards Hasselbeck. The rest, Hasselbeck scrambling into a sack, is justifiable given the game state, but sell that damn play action! Give the play a chance of working.
  • Brandon Siler shoots the gap in a fashion that makes the pull block attempt by Spencer hopeless, and justifiably missed. I don't know what this was. A pitch? An option? As a pitch, it's short and Hasselbeck strangely sticks by Forsett's side and the two run around while Chargers courteously decide not to blow Hasselbeck into the fifth fucking dimension. As an option, Hasselbeck pitches almost immediately and abides as Forsett is left to the dogs.
  • I think Jeremy Bates is on a path towards greatness, but plays like this are his Metal Machine Music. He needs someone else to edit his playbook and shoot a few of his more novel playcalls out a cannon and into a black hole.
  • On a final note, if you have a chance to watch this play again, watch Sean Locklear run up the right sideline, executing as told, completely oblivious to the play unfolding around him. It's stuff like this that I use to figure out what was supposed to happen on plays in which all hell breaks loose.
  • Punt.

Chargers ball.

  • Seahawks rush five. Double Leo on the right, with Davis stunting around Brock and creating pressure. From the blindside, Bryant, who has taken to end like I never dreamed, works around and behind Rivers and then closes and tackles.
  • Buster Davis is open. I don't know why.
  • Seahawks rush four, dropping Clemons and red dogging Tatupu. Thurmond blows coverage and Floyd receives for 25.
  • Rivers clocks the football.
  • Seahawks blitz six and Clemons and Davis pressure Rivers into an incomplete pass.
  • Rush six, no pressure, pass is underthrown, Gates stumbles, Lewis stumbles, Lewis slaps the pass away.
  • Rush six, no pressure, Thomas jumps the route, interception, game over.

I'm going to pop a beer and toast some of the most exciting game footage I have ever watched. Winning the Super Bowl is always the goal, but games like last Sunday's are stolen moments adrift from the stream that we remember and savor for the rest of our lives.