This series of plays starts with the muffed fair catch that for no apparent reason is whistled dead. This last off-season the NFL changed the rules regarding muffed fair catches, but it didn't change the rule that once a muffed kick or punt hits the turf, it's a live ball. As far as I can tell, this is simply a mistake by the officials. The play should have been live until the returner took a knee or was tackled.
Notes through the Seahawks drive ending at 3:46 in the first quarter.
- Colin Cole tips a pass incomplete.
- Red Bryant clogs the rush lane and forces Matt Forte to redirect. Craig Terrill slaps down a cut block and tackles.
- Lawyer Milloy blitzes off right end, Raheem Brocks stunts in and hits Jay Cutler forcing an errant pass. Marcus Trufant tips it up into the air and Kam Chancellor closes, but his momentum is moving left and the ball is tumbling to his right. He struggles to redirect right towards the ball. Still almost picks it.
- Safety Danieal Manning attempts to cut into the back field and John Carlson guides him inside and away from the developing hole off left tackle. Marshawn Lynch angles wide left, plants and cut up field and past corner Chris Tillman closing from the left. He then explodes forward past Brian Iwuh. It's a tight space between Iwuh and Tillman but Lynch finds it and exploits it. Iwuh grabs jersey and eventually tracks Lynch down after 12. Footwork, vision, power and surprising quickness, all on display in this rush by Lynch.
- Looks like Hasselbeck calls an audible after the strong safety flies down and shows pressure off right end, and it looks like the audible works when Mike Williams burns the holy hell out of Tim Jennings, but Matt Hasselbeck's pass is overthrown out of bounds.
- Matt runs play action and then rolls right into a nickel blitz. He outlets to uncovered slot receiver Brandon Stokley but Chris Harris closes from the third level and tackles Stokley where he stands.
- Matt Toeaina knocks over an unbalanced Russell Okung as he stunts in front of a looping Julius Peppers. Toeaina closes on Hasselbeck and forces an incomplete pass before grabbing Matt and smashing him with a release tiger suplex. One of those plays that doesn't demand a flag, but one could certainly understand if a flag was thrown.
- Lofa Tatupu badly overpursues around right end and Junior Siavii is knocked back reeling, but from the left, Big ol Goddamn Red Bryant of all people perfectly turns the corner and catches Chester Taylor from behind.
- Bryant holds ground, Will Herring cuts Brandon Manumaleuna down inside the rush lane and Raheem Brock whips around left end and tackles Taylor from behind for a loss of one. Brock has absolutely torn it up in Blue.
- Seahawks rush five and this happens.
- A couple subtle details worth pointing out about Roy Lewis's sack.
- Brock angles in and that draws the right tackle. This allows Jordan Babineaux to fly free off right end and draw Chester Taylor.
- Frank Omiyale recognizes Lewis blitzing and freezes for a split second before Chris Clemons engages and forces the block. That clears left end and allows Lewis a clear shot to strike Cutler from behind.
- Eight Bears sell out to stop the run and safety Danieal Manning scores a point in someone's IDP league.
- Stacy Andrews pulls right, whiffs attempting to block Iwuh, Iwuh staggers Lynch and Lynch can not recover before Brian Urlacher closes and tackles. The whiff is so bad, the officials punish Andrews with a holding penalty.
- Play action, Brandon Stokley does something kind of clever: he cuts in as if to block and then releases into a route. It gets the better of nickelback D.J. Moore and allows Stokley to curl and receive for nine.
- Then we get one of those plays that just doesn't look right.
- The blocking holds. Matt isn't under duress. Deon Butler runs past Zack Bowman. He has him beat. Not only that, but it looks like Stokley has drawn strong safety Danieal Manning and thus Butler is free to the end zone. Matt doesn't pump. He readies to pass and then pulls down and rereads coverage. He was looking right, but not definitively towards Butler. Then he zips it into double cover towards Carlson, and Urlacher, teamed with Moore, knocks it away incomplete.
- The read seems to be Butler, but Hasselbeck opts for an underneath pass into coverage. Huh.