Pete Carroll summed up quarterback Charlie Whitehurst’s first NFL start.
“Charlie survived his first game,” the Seahawks coach said. “He made it through it.”
To expect much more would probably have been unrealistic.
Whitehurst was working behind a patchwork line facing a defense that had knocked five quarterbacks out of games this season. So, just walking off the field at the end was an accomplishment.
Still, being on the losing end of a 41-7 pasting to the New York Giants and hearing the home fans boo at Qwest Field isn’t how you want to your first NFL start to go.
“I was disappointed in the way I played,” Whitehurst said. “I have to get better.”
He completed 12 of 23 passes for 113 yards, including a late 36-yard touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu. But a pair of first-half interceptions in the red zone each led to Giants touchdowns and dropped his passer rating to 44.3.
“The first one (which bounced out of Mike Williams’ hands), I think I could have got it to him a little quicker and the corner wouldn’t have gotten his hand in there,” Whitehurst said. “And the second one (intercepted by Corey Webster) was a poor throw behind (Williams).”
Whitehurst also badly overthrew tight end Chris Baker, who was wide open on a third-and-1 flea flicker.
“It was a bad throw,” Whitehurst said.
But in other aspects, Whitehurst was fine. If he was nervous, it didn’t show.
“After the first snap, it’s just football, like you’ve been doing,” Whitehurst said. “It’s been a while since I made a start that means something, for sure. It was kind of business as usual, you go out there and you play quarterback.
Whitehurst managed the game well. There were no operational miscues or timeouts because of confusion.
“He was very well prepared,” tight end John Carlson said. “His tempo and everything in the huddle, getting the plays, was kind of like a veteran, like he’d been around a while. There weren’t any issues in that area.”
Whitehurst showed a big arm. But he also showed his accuracy needs to improve.
“He was unable to make anything happen other than the one big play, throws-wise,” Carroll said.
That one big play came in the fourth quarter when Obomanu got past the Giants secondary. He was an easy target for Whitehurst’s first career touchdown pass.
“We had game-planned for it,” Obomanu said. “I just happened to be in the game – my only play on offense. Charlie just made a good play.”
But the Seahawks needed more to have a chance.
“He did some good things, but he didn’t do enough things to make a difference,” Carroll said.
To be fair, it was the first start of Whitehurst’s career. He need only look at the first games of a few of his counterparts to take some solace.
By comparison, Matt Hasselbeck’s first start – Sept. 9, 2001, against Cleveland – resulted in a 48.4 passer rating after a 20-of-34 performance for 178 yards and two interceptions in a 9-6 win.
Eli Manning, who threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, had a 45.1 rating in his first start – a 14-10 loss to Atlanta on Nov. 21, 2004, in which he completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
That’s some pretty good company.
“I think that he has that start to put behind him now, so we’ll see what happens and how he can grow from there,” Carroll said.
His teammates see potential.
“His composure and the way he attacked the game was something special,” running back Marshawn Lynch said. “I think with some more repetition and probably some more game experience he’ll be pretty good.”