In a week when many wondered whether Charlie Whitehurst should be starting for Seattle, he ended up finishing the game Sunday because of Matt Hasselbeck’s injury.
The results looked very similar to Whitehurst’s only start this season: not much movement early and a single touchdown drive late.
That was the case Nov. 7 against the New York Giants, when Seattle didn’t gain a first down in the first four possessions of Whitehurst’s start and didn’t score until the final period. That was just as true in Tampa, where Seattle led 7-3 when Whitehurst entered the game. The Seahawks gained a first down on only one of their next six possessions, and their only touchdown came on a 16-yard run by Leon Washington after the Seahawks trailed by 24 points.
“We just really weren’t able to do much offensively,” Whitehurst said. “It starts with me. When I’m called upon, I need to be more productive.”
The reality isn’t so one-sided. The Seahawks tried to establish the run. They tried repeatedly in fact, because the Bucs were allowing 4.9 yards a carry entering the game, most in the league.
“We really were determined to try to find a running game against these guys,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They’ve given up a lot of yards in the last few weeks so even late, and I’m sure it looks frustrating, but we wanted to keep trying because it had been there.”
Seattle averaged 3.2 yards per carry, and there wasn’t much in the air, either. Because while Whitehurst didn’t commit a turnover, he didn’t complete a pass of more than 15 yards either, and the reality is that Whitehurst didn’t have the benefit of practice repetitions with the first unit.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Charlie,” receiver Mike Williams said. “Charlie’s a good player. He can make all the throws. He can make all the plays. He’s smart. But it’s about reps, and the reality is that Matt takes the reps during the week. And when you lose Matt, then your playbook kind of shrinks a little bit.”
Finally, there was an issue of time. Namely, Whitehurst didn’t have too much of it. He was sacked three times, but even that doesn’t illustrate the pressure he was under as he was forced to scramble three times.
“Charlie didn’t get many clean chances,” Carroll said. “He was under pressure so he didn’t accomplish much either. So kind of like the whole theme of the night. We didn’t get anything done.”