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Best Crucial Plays of 2010 #9--Sam Bradford Hands the Playoffs to Will Herring

Week 17 vs. Rams


4th Quarter 1st and 10 at SEA 46 (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass short right intended for B.Gibson INTERCEPTED by W.Herring at SEA 37. W.Herring to SEA 37 for no gain (B.Gibson).

Seattle WP Before Play: 73%

Seattle WP After Play: 89%

Total WP Swing: 16%


As one of the people who thought Sam Bradford's rookie year was insanely overhyped, this play has a taste that goes deeper than a playoff spot on the line, or a division rival getting its just deserts.  Call it petty if you must, but I vividly remember NBC's Bradford hype leading up to and including this game.  The quiet hero with the ping pong table.  He was all set to be the next Golden American Boy that the mass media would shove down our throats for years to come.

But for one game, just one game, against my favorite team no less, he got his throat stomped on.

The unbalanced LEO line held point and kept Steven Jackson in check.  The consistent pressure never gave Bradford a second to breathe.  His "checkdown to glory" strategy was good enough to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, but not good enough to get into the playoffs.

It certainly wasn't good enough on this play.  The Rams spread out their WRs, and the Seahawks responded in kind, with Will Herring lined up on the right slot opposite B. Gibson, whoever he is.  Bradford is in the shotgun, with Jackson to his immediate right.  There's not much to break down on this play, because Bradford made it all too easy to analyze.  He took the snap, stared down Gibson into eternity, and forced the ball into double coverage.  The INT was gift-wrapped to Herring, and he accepted it without complaint.  In a mostly back-and-forth game, that 4th quarter turnover was all Charlie and Co. needed.  He milked the clock, and the Hawks danced to historical infamy.

It's the little things in life you learn to appreciate.  Like a rookie QB making classic rookie mistakes.