They’re still staring at zeros.
After two exhibition games, the Seattle Seahawks’ starting offense has yet to put any points on the scoreboard.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hoped to establish some much-needed momentum for anointed starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. However, Jackson’s debut in Seattle on Saturday night was a continuation of his lukewarm play as the Seahawks fell to Minnesota, 20-7, at CenturyLink Field.
Jackson showed nimble feet moving outside the pocket and a live arm. But on six drives during the first half, he failed to get Seattle into the end zone and left with the Seahawks trailing 13-0 at halftime.
That 0-for-6 effort included a failed scoring chance from deep inside Vikings’ territory, after a tough 17-yard catch by Mike Williams gave Seattle first-and-goal at Minnesota’s 2.
Jackson didn’t get much help. Second-year receiver Golden Tate had two drops that would have continued drives, and Jackson was under constant pressure when he dropped back to pass, as Seattle’s green offensive line struggled to hold up against an attacking, experienced Minnesota front.
Jackson threw for 75 yards on 11-for-21 accuracy and tossed one interception, leaving the game with a forgettable 40.8 passer rating.
“We had some miscues out there,” Jackson said. “But that’s what preseason is for. We’re trying to get it better as soon as possible. We’re not trying to wait until the last minute to get it right. The whole offense has some work to do.”
Even the addition of starting receivers Sidney Rice and Mike Williams failed to spur Seattle’s offense.
Rice, who along with Jackson played against his former teammates for the first time, was targeted five times, including twice on deep balls, but only managed two catches for 11 yards.
The Seahawks still have much rust to shake off with two exhibition games left.
Seattle finished 2 of 9 on third-down conversions, and totaled eight penalties for 69 yards in the first half alone.
“We just gave them stuff tonight by our penalties, and giving them a touchdown and all of that,” said Carroll, calling his team’s performance disappointing. “That’s the big lesson. And we’re in camp trying to figure it out how to play good, sharp football. And that’s our focus. We have to not beat us to have a chance.”
Seattle held the ball for 13 minutes on offense in the opening quarter but trailed 7-0 after a Jackson pass over the middle bounced off of Tate’s hands and into the waiting arms of Minnesota defensive back Marcus Sherels, who returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.
Ryan Longwell field goals of 34 and 36 yards, and running back Tristan Davis added a 35-yard touchdown to account for Minnesota’s scoring.
While Jackson sputtered, reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst continued to show that he’s ready to rejoin the competition for the starting quarterback job, finishing 14-of-19 for 97 yards and a 3-yard touchdown to tight end Anthony McCoy in a half of work.
Whitehurst has guided Seattle’s offense on eight drives so far this exhibition season, with the Seahawks scoring three times for 17 points. Whitehurst is 28 of 39 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, with a game’s worth of work this preseason.
Still, Carroll remains steadfast that Jackson is his guy.
“I need to look at the film and watch and see why things happened,” Carroll said. “But I’m not in that mind-set at all. I love that Charlie played well, and I think we need to give Tarvaris a chance to play well, too.”
Whitehurst shrugged when asked if he’s pressing the issue for a quarterback competition.
“I motivate myself,” Whitehurst said. “The external stuff, I don’t think it really factors in. I’m trying to be as good as I can, and whatever happens, happens.”