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Whitehurst's Second Drive: What Whitehurst Did

Mike Williams may lack the footspeed of Cameron Morrah, but that redirect was balls-out athletic.
Mike Williams may lack the footspeed of Cameron Morrah, but that redirect was balls-out athletic.

Charlie Whitehurst executed a very good play and one not seen in Seattle for some years. And Whitehurst botched a bad play, but one that is probably not nearly as bad as the outcome.

1. 1-10-SEA 23 (6:13) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete short left to 1-M.Williams (30-J.McCourty).

Play action, seven step drop with seven blockers to keep Whitehurst clean; Charlie drops, plants and passes towards Mike Williams running a hitch along the right sideline. Williams does his best to come back for the ball, but it's underthrown. In this case, underthrown is the right kind of inaccuracy (but still worse than accuracy.)

3. 3-8-SEA 25 (5:32) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short middle to 20-J.Forsett to TEN 45 for 30 yards (25-M.Rolle) [96-R.Brock].

Play detailed here. Whitehurst shows recognition of when to check down, typically when the defense is stretched vertically; recognition that though the separation is minor, Forsett has his man beat; perhaps a little too much poise in the face of pressure; and the kind of accuracy that allows Forsett to run into the reception and continue up field. Yards after catch may be much more strongly correlated with the receiver rather than the quarterback, but that does not mean a quarterback never impacts the receiver's ability to run after the catch.

4. 1-10-TEN 45 (4:50) 6-C.Whitehurst sacked at SEA 48 for -7 yards (99-E.Bakhtiari).

Whitehurst sometimes struggles sensing pressure, but this is a textbook blown block by Joe Toledo. Whitehurst motions play action, drops seven steps and can just barely step forward before Eric Bakhtiari meat hooks him from behind. The seven step drop and complete inability of Toledo to clear seals the sack.

5. 2-17-SEA 48 (4:18) 6-C.Whitehurst pass deep right to 87-B.Obomanu to TEN 29 for 23 yards (23-D.Nickey).

This is among my favorite plays of the game. Play-action, seven step drop; Whitehurst reads right through the drop step, plants, looks left ever so briefly, looks back right and then leads Ben Obomanu into a soft spot between the linebacker, corner and safety. Accuracy and timing are premium. Whitehurst shows legitimate mid-range zip into a small window.

7. 2-5-TEN 24 (2:57) 6-C.Whitehurst pass incomplete short left to 85-A.McCoy.

Play action right, roll left; Whitehurst has two meaningful targets. Cameron Morrah motioned to right fullback prior to the snap. He is running an underneath crossing pattern. Anthony McCoy is running a short cross about 10 yards father down field. Basic high-low concept. Morrah has a tail and so though he's open, he has little chance to turn the reception into a successful play. McCoy is dogged by two defenders but has the ever so slightest step on the linebackers. Whitehurst leads him a little too much and the pass flies incomplete.

8. 3-5-TEN 24 (2:52) (Shotgun) 6-C.Whitehurst pass short right intended for 1-M.Williams INTERCEPTED by 29-R.Mouton at TEN 16. 29-R.Mouton to TEN 27 for 11 yards (1-M.Williams).

The play might be subtitled: confusion on the option pattern. I gather plenty has already been written about this. Mike Williams and Deon Butler started in two-man bunch right. Butler runs a post corner. He might be open. That is the larger mistake by Charlie: locking on to Williams. Williams runs hitch, but Whitehurst expects him to run an out. He is double covered either way. The hitch is the wrong read, in my opinion. It leaves Williams between two defensive backs. The out puts him in front of Mouton, but still covered. Williams runs the hitch, Whitehurst tosses the out and it's an easy pick for Mouton.