SEATTLE — Charlie who?
Seattle Seahawks fans who have been calling for a change at quarterback will have to hold their tongues for now after a breakout performance by Tarvaris Jackson on Sunday in the Seahawks’ 30-28 loss to Atlanta at CenturyLink Field.
It can safely be said tha
t Jackson was not most fans’ first choice for an off-season acquisition at quarterback, and last week he heard about it from the crowd early and often in a lackluster performance in the Seahawks’ home opener, a 13-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
But he was terrific on Sunday, particularly in the second half as the Seahawks rallied from a 27-7 deficit and very nearly pulled off a stunning comeback.
Jackson completed 25 of 38 passes for a career-high 319 yards, three touchdowns, and two tough-luck interceptions. In the second half he was 17-for-24 for 186 yards and two scores.
By then, nobody was chanting for backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
Seahawks tight end Zach Miller, also in his first year with the team, said it was critical for Jackson to have a game like that — for everybody’s sake.
“Oh, definitely,” Miller said. “I think the fans got to see what we’ve seen in practice plenty of times, how he can throw the ball well. He can sit in the pocket. He can make plays happen with his feet and still find receivers downfield.
“Obviously, that’s what we want every game in our passing game, to be able to throw that well and then get our run game going,” he said. “That’s the way we want our offense to be.”
The Seahawks (1-3) used a no-huddle offense for much of the second half, and Jackson ran it masterfully. He moved around as needed, threw the ball away when appropriate, and spread the ball around.
Seven receivers had at least three catches, and Jackson’s three touchdown passes each went to a different receiver.
Jackson said the no-huddle style seemed to help the entire offense just relax and play ball.
“I guess it takes the thinking out of it,” he said. “We’ve got a whole bunch of guys that are young. I know for me being a young player I tend to think a little bit too much, and I’ve got so much stuff going through my head.
“So I think that helps. That eliminates a lot of thinking for the guys, and we execute.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Seahawks fans can expect to see more no-huddle.
“We just went to the line of scrimmage and played ball from there as much as we could, and as much as we could push the tempo,” Carroll said. “We just look a lot better in that mode. We’re going to play like that for a while.”
Hopefully, his quarterback will play like that for a while, too.
“I’m not surprised at all by the way he played today,” Carroll said of Jackson, who spent his first five seasons in Minnesota before signing with the Seahawks in July. “This is the guy we watched and thought he could be. He hasn’t had the chance yet to open up, and he throws for 300 (yards) today, and that’s not a big deal for him.
“He can do that again,” Carroll said. “You saw that when he had the chances for the big play, he had it there.”
Jackson was quick to credit the offensive line, as well he should. After giving up 14 sacks in the first three games, Seattle’s young line didn’t surrender any to the Falcons (2-2).
This against an Atlanta defensive line that boasts two high-profile ends in John Abraham and Ray Edwards.
“The line was great,” Jackson said. “I feel great, like I just came to the stadium. I rarely hit the ground, so I just want to take my hat off to those guys today. They did a great job.”
Jackson cited his third touchdown pass as a prime example. On third down from the Atlanta 8-yard line, Jackson dropped back to pass, stepped up in the pocket, pump faked about three times and finally found Ben Obomanu wide open in the back left corner of the end zone.
“He’s my last read. That’s a long play,” Jackson said. “I’ve got two guys on my right I’m reading over, and I tried to pump a guy down to hit Sidney (Rice) in the back of the end zone, but the safety didn’t come up.
“I went back and looked at Ben, and he’s coming in. He’s got a route where he comes in and comes back out, so that takes time,” Jackson said. “That was at least five or six seconds back there.”
Jackson said he wasn’t at all surprised that the Seattle offense had a productive day.
“We had a talk last night as a team,” he said. “I told the guys coming into this game that I felt better than I’ve felt all year, and I told them it was time for us to break out.”
On Sunday, he showed how it’s done.