Charlie Whitehurst played poorly yesterday and we all knew someone would seize the opportunity to twist Whitehurst's struggles into a defense of Matt Hasselbeck. I think sometimes fans make the best team analysts because fans actually watch the game, instead of working retroactively to fit information to their predetermined story. Jerry Brewer did the latter, and so I might as well audit this piece for truth.
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."
I love the framing on this. First, we establish right away that Whitehurst did exactly one thing right all game. Nevermind the four first downs he converted, or the passes of 17 and 22 yards, or the touchdown strike Mike Williams bobbled into an interception, Whitehurst only did one thing right and he wasn't enthusiastic about it.
Which is a classic trap. How is a player supposed to act after his team is beat down 41 to 7? Should Whitehurst thump his chest and talk about that bomb he threw to Ben Obomanu? Of course not. But Brewer frames it like not only did Whitehurst fail utterly, but that he has a bad attitude about his failure too. Damned either way.
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.
If one game is the measure of a player, then we could just as easily conclude that Hasselbeck showed in Oakland why he's completely washed up. If that's the logic Brewer wants to use then Seattle should give reps to Michael Robinson. And since we're making rash decisions based on a player's first start, did Hasselbeck himself prove why it took him four seasons to make an NFL start in 2001 when he completed 20 of 34 pass attempts for 178 yards, two interceptions, three sacks and no touchdowns?
Pity facts, huh? How they get in the way of agenda.
Whitehurst threw two red-zone interceptions, one of which came after wide receiver Mike Williams lost a battle with Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas.
"Lost a battle", that's neatly ambiguous. I know for Brewer, as someone that's paid to cover and write about the Seahawks, that it's a drag actually watching the game, but NFL.com has this cool little service where they link highlights to the play-by-play. Check it out!
2-16-NYG 17 (15:00) 6-C.Whitehurst pass deep middle intended for 17-M.Williams INTERCEPTED by 24-T.Thomas at NYG -1. 24-T.Thomas to NYG 27 for 28 yards (11-D.Butler). WATCH HIGHLIGHT
Hey, after actually watching the play it seems that Williams didn't "lose a battle" but instead juggled the ball into the air before it fell to Thomas. An objective analysis of that play might argue that Whitehurst did absolutely nothing wrong and instead watched as his receiver turned a touchdown pass into an interception, but that certainly opens some grey area in this crusade to defend Hasselbeck. Let's phrase that away and instead imply Whitehurst was at fault.
Alright, done? Good. Good.
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.
The Seahawks offense had the ball three times before the Giants were up 21-0. The Giants drove 52 yards, 63 yards and then four yards following the Leon Washington fumble, and scored three touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. This was not a tired defense getting blown off the field in the fourth quarter. This was a bad defense getting blown off the field in the first quarter.
How someone can watch yesterday's game and conclude that "[t]he biggest problem continues to be the offense's inability to find a rhythm, especially early in the game" is staggering. When the defense and special teams puts the offense in a three score deficit before the beginning of the second quarter, I think it's the offense that should be crying foul.
No, Hasselbeck isn't the goat of the offense. The entire unit is growing hollow horns.
Brewer is unintentionally contradicting himself. "Goat" of course is short for scapegoat, and a scapegoat is not at fault. A scapegoat is sacrificed for the failures of others. As in, Jerry Brewer has decided to scapegoat Charlie Whitehurst for yesterday's blowout.
But I agree, Hasselbeck is not "the goat" of this offense. As for the entire unit growing hollow horns, team trainers should probably look into that.
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."
Giants player, swaggering after a blowout win on the road, says "It doesn't matter who was in there. The quarterback could have been Hasselbeck."
Jerry Brewer's conclusion:
Rolle said those words to hype his defense. But if he had intended to degrade the Seahawks offense, would you have argued with him?
No? What if Rolle intended it sell pork futures, then I would be really confused.
If you had intended for that quote to undermine the thrust of your argument, would I have argued with you, Jerry?
"It's frustrating," Obomanu said. "It's frustrating for everybody."
Cue non sequitur segue.
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 trick play, that worked perfectly and could have led to a long completion, but failed when "Whitehurst threw a terrible pass" is a questionable play call? By that logic, if Bates would have called for a run and the run was short of the first because, oh, I don't know, Sean Locklear missed a block on Lamarr Houston, that would also then become a questionable play call because it failed.
The Seahawks punted, and two minutes later, the Giants took a 14-0 lead.
Which, again, is Charlie Whitehurst and the offense's fault, because the defense was so tired midway through the first quarter.
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?
Because the Seahawks had modest expectations of Whitehurst and were hoping to get a big play through deception. Had Whitehurst completed that pass, Bates would have been hailed as a genius, but because Whitehurst fails, it becomes a bad play call. Naturally.
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.
He nails it here. I have long wondered how a talent poor and injured offensive line would play poorly, but it's so clear now. Jeremy Bates has not developed a good line because he resorts to "soft" gadget plays when "the moment demands trust." Damn you Bates.
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.
Yes, like the stability at quarterback for the first seven games of the season spurred improvement. One thing I have learned conclusively is that if you want to change something for the better, it's best to change nothing at all. And if you're forced into change and it doesn't work right away, retreat to familiar failure.