Seahawks' offense stagnant again
Charlie Whitehurst couldn't complete the comeback in the Seahawks' 20-7 exhibition loss to Minnesota at CenturyLink Stadium.
Seattle Times staff reporter
It's not how you start.
At least the Seahawks hope not because their offense failed to score in the first half of a 20-7 loss to Minnesota at CenturyLink Field, the second consecutive exhibition game they were scoreless at halftime.
It's not a question of who starts, either. At least not at quarterback because even after Charlie Whitehurst came out throwing third-quarter darts for a second consecutive week, coach Pete Carroll said he's not reconsidering Tarvaris Jackson as the starter.
"I'm not in that mindset at all," Carroll said. "I love that Charlie played well, and I think we need to give Tarvaris a chance to play well, too, with the guys around him. I felt like he was out there fighting for it, and he did a good job of competing."
Well, he survived, which was an accomplishment given the near-constant strafing he took behind Seattle's porous pass protection in the first half. He scrambled twice, was hit at least half a dozen other times and somehow managed to avoid being sacked.
All Whitehurst did once he replaced Jackson in the third quarter was complete his first seven passes and 10 of 11 throws for 79 yards on Seattle's only scoring drive. His 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy on the first play of the fourth quarter cut Minnesota's lead to 13-7.
About the only thing Whitehurst didn't complete was Seattle's comeback. The Seahawks had the ball at their own 25 with 3:49 left in the game, trailing by six. After two rushing plays totaled 15 yards, Whitehurst threw three consecutive incomplete passes, one of which was dropped, and the Seahawks turned the ball over on downs.
Minnesota scored less than two minutes later on running back Tristan Davis's 35-yard run. Josh Portis, Seattle's third-string quarterback, finished the game, but the discussion from this game will involve Seattle's quarterbacks, specifically Whitehurst, who had the crowd beginning to chant his first name in the third quarter.
Whitehurst completed 14 of 19 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Jackson was 11 for 21 for 75 yards, and one of his passes went off Golden Tate's hands — both of them — and was intercepted by Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels and returned for Minnesota's first touchdown.
But numbers don't tell a balanced story.
"It's really two different halves in the way we were able to play," Carroll said. "The guys that were in the game and all that stuff, it was harder earlier on."
Whitehurst was playing against Minnesota's substitutes while Jackson faced its starters. Whitehurst had time to throw, Jackson barely had time to think.
Seattle started receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice, but that pair caught a total of three passes, one fewer than backup tight end Dominique Byrd caught on his own.
Now pause, and take a breath. It is an exhibition game, the primary purpose being to sand off the rough edges.
"That's what the preseason is for," Jackson said. "Trying to get it better as soon as possible. Not trying to wait until the last game to get it right. But the whole offense has some work to do."
Actually, the whole team does because Seattle's 13-0 halftime deficit was due as much to the Seahawks' mistakes as the Vikings' success.
In addition to the interception that bounced off Tate's hands, the Seahawks were penalized six times in the first half, including three false-start penalties and two 15-yard personal fouls.
Seattle outgained the Vikings 103 yards to 3 in the first quarter. The Seahawks ran 27 plays in the period to Minnesota's three, and yet the Seahawks trailed 7-0 after the interception return.
Minnesota kicked two field goals in the second quarter, one off a drive led by starting quarterback Donovan McNabb and the other on a scoring drive authored by Christian Ponder, the team's first-round draft pick.
Seattle didn't score in the first half, but it did come close. Within a yard in fact as running back Justin Forsett was stopped on fourth-and-goal at the Minnesota 1 early in the second quarter.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
Vikings 20, Seahawks 7
Min — Sherels 64 interception return (Longwell kick), 5:35.
Min — FG Longwell 36, 6:33.
Min — FG Longwell 34, 1:47.
Sea — A.McCoy 3 pass from Whitehurst (Reed kick), 14:54.
Min — Davis 35 run (Longwell kick), 2:09.
A — 65,599.
|Total Net Yards||322||331|
|Time of Possession||26:20||33:40|
Rushing — Minnesota, Booker 7-37, Davis 1-35, Gerhart 6-21, Peterson 6-16, Ponder 3-15, Webb 2-11, Robinson 2-7. Seattle, Portis 4-46, Washington 4-26, Clayton 7-25, Taua 2-15, Jackson 2-12, Forsett 7-8, Baldwin 1-8, M.Robinson 1-8, Lynch 3-2.
Passing — Minnesota, McNabb 6-8-0-81, Ponder 6-12-0-63, Webb 4-8-0-44. Seattle, Whitehurst 14-19-0-97, Jackson 11-21-1-75, Portis 2-9-0-13.
Receiving — Minnesota, Rudolph 3-22, Aromashodu 2-30, Iglesias 2-30, Peterson 2-11, Arceneaux 1-23, Kleinsasser 1-23, Jenkins 1-21, S.Burton 1-11, D'Imperio 1-9, Gerhart 1-7, Booker 1-1. Seattle, Byrd 4-32, Durham 4-26, A.McCoy 4-24, Boyce 3-16, Baldwin 2-14, Lynch 2-12, Rice 2-11, Forsett 2-9, M.Williams 1-17, Miller 1-11, Tate 1-10, M.Robinson 1-3.
Missed FG — None.
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