Charlie Whitehurst wasn't only problem, but he's not a real solution, either
Seahawks' offensive problems run deep
Seattle Times staff columnist
Charlie Whitehurst couldn't even muster enthusiasm for the one thing he did right.
He threw his first NFL touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but the score was already 41-0 by then. It was a nice 36-yard toss to Ben Obomanu — smooth, easy — but the Qwest Field crowd was sparse and disinterested by then. Afterward, the longhaired Seahawks quarterback shrugged at the memory.
"It made it a little bit better, I guess," Whitehurst said. "But it was a disappointing day for us. I was disappointed in the way that I played."
No more pining for Matt Hasselbeck's backup anymore, OK?
You saw him Sunday, and though Whitehurst wasn't the primary reason the New York Giants thrashed the Seahawks 41-7, he did show why it took him five seasons to throw an NFL pass.
Whitehurst threw two red-zone interceptions, one of which came after wide receiver Mike Williams lost a battle with Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas. He dropped a shotgun snap. He completed only 12 of 23 passes for 113 yards and finished with a 44.3 quarterback rating.
Everyone jokes he looks like Jesus, but Whitehurst is not this offense's savior. In fact, his performance in this game proved the Seahawks' offensive woes are more complicated than who's under center.
Surprisingly, a patchwork offensive line missing three starters didn't get Whitehurst killed, or even nicked. On the flip side, it didn't open any holes for the running backs. Meanwhile, the young wide receivers didn't make Whitehurst's job any easier, and the Seahawks used their tight ends mostly to help block, so John Carlson was a non-factor.
It added up to a futile and scant offensive showing. The Seahawks managed only 162 total yards, but more shocking was that they ran just 37 plays and had possession of the ball for less than 30 percent of the game.
For the second consecutive week, the Seahawks defense played poorly, allowing 487 yards. But those players were on the field for 42 minutes and 34 seconds of this game. The biggest problem continues to be the offense's inability to find a rhythm, especially early in the game.
No, Hasselbeck isn't the goat of the offense. The entire unit is growing hollow horns.
Asked if the Giants took advantage of Whitehurst, New York safety Antrel Rolle said, "It doesn't matter who was in there. The quarterback could have been Hasselbeck. It could have been whoever. It was going to be the same outcome."
Rolle said those words to hype his defense. But if he had intended to degrade the Seahawks offense, would you have argued with him?
"It's frustrating," Obomanu said. "It's frustrating for everybody."
Even more frustrating is the fact that new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates hasn't had a good first eight games, either. Bates, who came to Seattle with a good reputation, has made a season's worth of questionable play-calling decisions thus far.
Maybe the mistakes are more noticeable because the Seahawks are so thoroughly flawed. Nevertheless, the instances of second-guessing are starting to rival maligned former coordinator Greg Knapp.
On Sunday, one play in particular haunted the Seahawks. First quarter. Third down and one. Instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch, the running back with the nickname "Beast Mode" who the Seahawks traded for last month, Bates called a trick play. Whitehurst handed off to running back Leon Washington, who tossed it back to Whitehurst, who saw that tight end Chris Baker was wide open. Whitehurst threw a terrible pass, however.
The Seahawks punted, and two minutes later, the Giants took a 14-0 lead.
Yes, the play would've worked if Whitehurst hadn't missed the throw. But why get cute with a nervous quarterback who hadn't played a real NFL down before Sunday?
"It looked great in practice, and we just missed it in the game," coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks aren't good enough to squander opportunities. They also aren't going to develop a good offensive line by resorting to soft gadget plays when the moment demands trust that your guys are physical enough to gain a single yard.
The good news is that Hasselbeck should return from his concussion this week, and left tackle Russell Okung might be available, too. Perhaps stability can spur improvement.
But as you learned Sunday, there is no elixir standing on the sideline, toting a clipboard. If it were that easy, the Seahawks would've made a quarterback switch weeks ago.
Hasselbeck remains the guy. Whitehurst remains a project. And the offense remains an ugly duckling.
No controversy here. Just confusion. And dejection.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer
|New quarterbacks struggle to get job done|
|Since the start of the 2001 season, three quarterbacks have made their first career start while playing for the Seahawks. Here's how they did in those games.|
|Matt Hasselbeck||Sept. 9, 2001||at Cleveland||W, 9-6||34||20||178||58.8||0||2||48.4|
|Seneca Wallace||Oct. 29, 2006||at Kansas City||L, 35-28||30||15||198||50.0||3||2||76.8|
|Charlie Whitehurst||Sunday||vs. N.Y. Giants||L, 41-7||23||12||113||52.2||1||2||44.3|
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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