Searching for some clarity in the three-man battle for the teams starting quarterback job, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll instead will have to sift through some muddied waters after his teams 27-17 victory over Tennessee on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Expensive free-agent addition Matt Flynns debut was efficient but not exactly awe-inspiring. He showed good accuracy, completing 11 of 13 passes for 71 yards. But Flynn also was intercepted by Tennessee linebacker Colin McCarthy while trying to thread a pass over the middle Ben Obomanu in the second quarter, was sacked twice and fumbled a shotgun snap.
Overall, Flynn led Seattle to a score on one of his four drives, converting three of four third downs. But Seattle leaned on an effective run game to move the ball, grounding out 47 rushing yards in the first half.
Flynn finished with a pedestrian 57.4 passer rating.
Rookie Russell Wilson replaced Flynn to open the second half, and promptly marched the Seahawks down the field on a five-play, 73-yard drive capped by a 37-yard touchdown pass to a tightly covered Braylon Edwards. The eight-year veteran outmuscled Tennessee cornerback Tommie Campbell for the ball in the end zone, putting Seattle up 17-3.
When he gets on the field, he doesnt hold anything back, Edwards said about Wilson. Hes not nervous. Hes not scared to make his mistakes. And hes not scared to go out there and actually have words of leadership. So Im very impressed with him thus far.
Playing against Tennessees backups, Wilson flashed impressive arm strength and nimble feet, finishing 12 of 16 for 124 yards and a touchdown in the second half. He also ran for a 32-yard score in the fourth quarter.
But Wilson also threw an ugly interception to Tennessee linebacker Zac Diles while trying to lob a pass to tight end Sean McGrath in the end zone.
The thing that was good about these guys is that they were very calm, Carroll said. They were very poised about it. It didnt bother them at all in handling what was going on. The speed of the game was not big deal. They were really easy to communicate with, exactly as we would have hoped.
Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson did not play. Carroll would not say if Jackson will play next week in Denver, or what the play is for the quarterback rotation against the Broncos.
Im anxious to watch the film, study it up and get a plan in place for next week, which I dont have for you right now, Carroll said.
While Seattle still faces uncertainty on who will lead the offense once the regular season begins, Seattles vaunted defense appears ready for prime time.
Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck struggled in his return to Seattle. On the Titans opening drive, Hasselbeck threw a pass in the flat intended for receiver Nate Washington. But Earl Thomas deflected the pass, and Brandon Browner swooped in before the ball hit the ground for the interception and then scooted 23 yards for the score.
Seattles defense held Tennessee scoreless in the opening quarter, as the offense added a Steven Hauschka 41-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
Hasselbeck finished 5 of 9 for 45 yards and two interceptions. Hasselbecks competition for the Tennessee starting quarterback job, University of Washington product Jake Locker, finished 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Im disappointed that the stats werent better and we werent able to score, Hasselbeck said. But all in all it was great to be back.
Tennessee closed to 10-3 near the end of the first half on a Rob Bironas 32-yard field goal.
The Titans tied the score at 17 in the third quarter on back-to-back touchdowns by Darius Reynaud a 21-yard run and an 85-yard punt return.
Hauschka added another field goal in the fourth quarter, this one from 40-yards out to put Seattle up for good, 20-17.
Wilson darted around for 59 yards on three carries, including his touchdown run on a bootleg to close out the scoring.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437