This covers Whitehurst's best stretch of football but ends with an interception.
I think some of the negative press Charlie Whitehurst has received is related to how quarterbacks are credited for success and blamed for loss regardless of their individual performance. Some people would say Philip Rivers fails to be great because the Chargers have struggled. Some people think Mark Sanchez was successful as a rookie because the Jets made the AFC Championship Game. Sanchez even appears in a commercial squaring off against Drew Brees. In the woods. Where a dude camping watches football on his cell phone.
It's an ignorant assumption but pervasive among football fans and the media. Great quarterbacks win. Bad quarterbacks cite statistics.
The next time Whitehurst received a snap, the Seahawks were down 28-0. The Giants were not yet in a prevent mode, but were willing to allow some receptions attempting to jump patterns. That's a very tough scenario for a quarterback making his first start. That doesn't mean he was guaranteed to fail, but it does mean that what started out as a tough matchup against the league's far and away best pass defense became an absolute nightmare.
2-6-SEA 40 (8:41) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete short left to 11-D.Butler.
This is a pressure incomplete caused by a blown block by Chris Spencer and poor blitz pickup by Marshawn Lynch.
Seahawks: WR (left), 2 WR (right (slot: Carlson)), TE (left), Rb.
Will linebacker Michael Boley blitzes. Stacy Andrews and Spencer begin by doubling Barry Cofield but Andrews is forced to drop his block and pick up Boley. That's designed. Cofield first attacks the right "A" gap and then spins opposite and attacks the left "A" gap. Chris Canty has moved Mike Gibson left and created a gaping pass rush lane to Spencer's left. Cofield disengages and pressures up the gut.
Lynch is left in to block, but he doesn't recognize the blitz off right end and doesn't recognize Coefield separating from Spencer. He helps double Canty but doesn't contribute much to Whitehurst's pass protection.
And so Whitehurst zips it early. Deon Butler dives and stretches out and attempts to catch the ball but it hits turf as he lands, incomplete.
3-6-SEA 40 (8:35) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short right to 11-D.Butler pushed ob at SEA 47 for 7 yards (23-C.Webster).
That pass didn't work and it was premature, but it also avoided a sack. Oddly enough, Whitehurst's limited read seems to translate to faster decision making. Or, conversely, he was coached to get the ball out his hand without hesitation. Whatever it was, Charlie did prevent sacks.
Seahawks: WR (left), 2 WR (right (Slot Machine in the slot)), split backs, shotgun
Giants blitz both linebackers and free safety Antrel Rolle: seven. Seattle retains seven blockers.
Brandon Stokley motions in and then back into right slot and the Giants indicate man coverage. Whitehurst reads Butler wide right, pats the ball and zips it to him. Butler runs a curl in front of Corey Webster, separates, turns just in time to catch and redirects and extends the ball past the line for the first.
2-9-SEA 48 (7:34) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short middle to 89-J.Carlson to NYG 48 for 4 yards (54-J.Goff).
Seahawks: 2 WR (left (Carlson in the slot)), WR (right), TE (right), RB
Giants: Big Sub (4-2, 3 safeties: third safety Deon Grant)
Giants blitz Rolle again. Seahawks block with the standard five. Jason Pierre-Paul works Chester Pitts, almost sacks Whitehurst himself and definitely creates a gaping rush lane for Rolle. But Whitehurst succeeds at Quarterbacking 101 and hits his hot read: John Carlson. Carlson is wide open where Rolle blitzed from and receives, but for whatever reason tumbles into a ball on the ground before being touched down by Jonathan Goff. I guess to ensure the reception and safeguard against any chance of turnover.
3-5-NYG 48 (6:50) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short right to 15-B.Stokley to NYG 44 for 4 yards (31-A.Ross) [72-O.Umenyiora]. Official measurement.
Seahawks: WR (left), 2 WR (right), TE (left -> motions right), RB (right), Shotgun
Motioning the tight end right overloads Aaron Ross's zone and creates separation for both Carlson and Stokley. From left to right, Williams, Carlson and Stokley curl, with Stokley smartly continuing to move horizontally-right and away from Ross. Ross is caught between Carlson and Stokley and covers neither.
Seahawks keep Forsett in to block. Giants rush their front four. Osi Umenyiora works Pitts with an inside move and strikes Whitehurst after the pass. Whitehurst keeps it uncomplicated and fires to Stokley for four when Seattle needs five.
Seattle converts the first on a quarterback sneak aided by Justin Forsett pushing Whitehurst forward.
1-10-NYG 42 (5:48) 6-C.Whitehurst pass deep middle to 17-M.Williams to NYG 25 for 17 yards (23-C.Webster).
Would you believe me if I told you the ball was coming loose as Williams hit the turf?
Seahawks: WR (left/right), TE (left/right), Rb --- all symmetrical and shi'.
Wiliams runs a post. Whitehurst pats and passes and leads Williams a little too much but enough so that Williams can catch it, and Corey Webster can not defend it. And that's it. Four passer rushers; six blockers. One read and throw.
1-10-NYG 25 (5:13) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short right intended for 17-M.Williams INTERCEPTED by 23-C.Webster at NYG 12. 23-C.Webster to NYG 14 for 2 yards (17-M.Williams). NYG-23-C.Webster was injured during the play. His return is Probable. Penalty on SEA-75-S.Locklear, Offensive Holding, declined. WATCH HIGHLIGHT
We end with this, which isn't complicated but is ambiguous. Also, Sean Locklear clotheslines a dude. Lock's struggles are approaching comedy.
This is an interesting play call because there are only two reads. One is distinctly primary and the other distinctly secondary. Whitehurst does what he's told and targets the primary.
Seahawks: Trips (right (Butler, Baker and Carlson)), WR (right (Williams)), Lynch
Seahawks sell a hard play action. So hard in fact that Butler falls down making his block. Lynch releases into a speed out, right. Williams runs a 15-yard out, but Whitehurst throws it towards his back shoulder. Now, maybe Whitehurst just wasn't accurate. Or maybe he expected Williams to run a come back route. Or maybe Williams was supposed to run a come back route, but doesn't. There's just no way for me to know, but the result is that Williams is open towards the right sideline, Whitehurst tosses it behind him and Webster jumps the route and intercepts the pass.