- I originally posted this as a comment, but have decided to Fanpost it since it is more suitable in this medium. -
I faced the music by watching the tape (I could only get through the first half… no need to torture myself). I now have a second take on what happened offensively (let’s not even talk about the defense and those brain dead cornerbacks or the offense’s second half collapse from hell).
I don’t necessarily have a drastically different view than yesterday, but I am now OK with putting more blame on Smith’s shoulders.
One quick side note: I have been a Smith supporter since day 1 as I saw the talent and intelligence necessary to succeed. In the past I have been accused of making excuses for Smith, but in my own defense that was always when someone would place 100% blame on Smith when his teammates were just as bad (if not worse). You’ll never see me excuse Smith if he individually screws up (like that horrible deep ball to Ginn, for instance).
With that said, here are my thoughts on the offense and Smith, take 2:
I think we all know yesterday’s collapse can be summarized by two words: Missed opportunities. Anyone reasonable will not place that on any one individual but the team as a whole.
But we all know how important the role of quarterback is in the NFL. And while Smith was actually very, very good in the rhythm of the offense (despite virtually no running game), his lack of execution in goal line situations is mind boggling.
By my count, Smith was 13 for 16 with about 110 yards before the defense collapsed (which is where the game turned for the worse). However, 2 of those 3 incompletions were absolutely f***ing critical. Smith SHOULD have been 15 of 16 with 2 TDs (wow, that would look really good, wouldn’t it?).
We all know the plays: Morgan’s one foot down, one foot out… and the awkward butchering of an easy Smith to Norris touchdown. (The other incompletion was a slant to Crabtree. It was a bit high, but Crabtree should make that play. It was almost intercepted; foreshadowing?)
Let’s analyze the missed touchdowns a little further (as if we haven’t tortured ourselves enough…)
Smith to Morgan: This is 100% on Smith. Morgan was truly wide open, but Smith decided to throw it toward the sideline. My conclusion on this play is that Smith was being cautious. Overly cautious. Yes, you want to throw it away from defenders, but Smith needs to learn that in the tight spaces of the endzone, you can’t be cute. You have to put it right on the receiver. And yes, Smith is accurate enough to do that. The high throw was not a lack of accuracy, it was poor decision making.
Smith to Norris: Yesterday I had this 70% Norris, 30% Smith. Flip that around today. This one infuriates me. Smith has to put that on him. He needs to know who he’s throwing to and what type of throw is needed. Yesterday, I read the play the same way as Smith: lob it. However, after further review, I can’t help but picturing Smith throwing it on a line more toward the outside for an easy touchdown.
Alex is close. He’s very close. Things fell apart, but Alex is smart enough to learn from this. His biggest issue isn’t so much accuracy (he was f’ing precise for 1 1/2 quarters).
His issue: He gets cute. Too damn cute. Stop lobbing it and put it on your receiver. People criticize Smith for throwing too hard or throwing too soft. He gets all the criticism. But there’s only one way for him to stop that criticism: learn from it and execute in the red zone. If he just puts the ball on his receiver in those two plays, we’re talking about "Smith has arrived!"
Don’t give up, my fellow Faithful. Sure, he may end up playing like in the second half of yesterday's game and ruin all of our hopes… but what I see is a guy who is very close to being good. Not carry a team, tear a defense apart good. But good enough to give this team a great chance to win any and every game.
One other major issue: We HAVE to run the ball better. There is no way around it. Once the Seahawks took our running game away, they keyed on the pass simultaneously with Smith pressing too hard. It’s a recipe for disaster. They have to figure out why they couldn’t run the ball.