RENTON, Wash. – After the way the first two weeks went, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s crew would take any sort of victory.
Ugly? That’s not the phrase Carroll used Monday to describe the Seahawks’ 13-10 win over Arizona a day earlier. It certainly wasn’t pretty, but how it looked meant little compared to its importance.
“I don’t think that was an ugly win. That was a hard fought, tough win,” Carroll said. “Sometimes you screw it up and all. We played pretty solid football for the most part.”
Seattle at least put to rest questions about when that first win was going to come as they await a visit from Atlanta this week.
And so, too, maybe a few of the questions about new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will quiet down. He wasn’t spectacular, but he avoided mistakes that Seattle’s rebuilt offense can’t afford. He also provided Seattle’s biggest highlight with an 11-yard touchdown run that proved to be the winning score.
It was a wild swing of fan reaction. In the first half, Jackson was getting booed and hearing chants for backup Charlie Whitehurst. By the third quarter, they were cheering wildly after Jackson scrambled for the score.
That hasn’t gone unnoticed by Carroll.
“They’re scrutinizing (him) very sharply at this point. From the very beginning people wondered why you would bring him in. There were those kind of questions. He’s not wavered by it at all. I’m not either,” Carroll said. “But it’s going to take some time till everybody gets comfortable and sees what he’s all about and sees his play. They didn’t boo him in the second half. I think that second half was OK.”
Jackson acknowledged after Sunday’s win that he realized he was coming into a difficult situation in Seattle replacing Matt Hasselbeck, who’d been with the Seahawks for a decade and was the face of the franchise for much of that time.
It hasn’t helped that Jackson didn’t do anything flashy or exciting the first two weeks. He’s been a manager of an offense that has scored just three touchdowns in three games. He is averaging a mere 5.4 yards per pass attempt.
But for the 14 times he’s been sacked, Jackson has yet to fumble. And both of his interceptions have come on desperation passes at the end of a half.
“That’s a big part to Tarvaris’ play because he’s been hit, he’s been exposed and he’s taking care of it and the running backs are doing a great job of that,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to make sure that we keep that going.”
Jackson immediately reconnected with Sidney Rice on Sunday as the former teammates in Minnesota hooked up eight times for 109 yards in Rice’s first game after missing the first two.
But lost in the receiving mix was last year’s breakout player, Mike Williams. He was targeted just once the entire game and was shut out for the second time since becoming a starter in Seattle for the 2010 season.
Both Jackson and Carroll said they need to get Williams more involved.
“He probably was open a couple of times. If I go back and watch the film, I’ll probably see him open a couple of times on the pictures,” Jackson said after Sunday’s game. “We just have to do a better job of making sure I look for him and making sure that we get some plays where we get him the ball.”
Defensively, Carroll continued to rave about the play of second-year safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. It was Chancellor who made the clinching interception with 1:04 to play Sunday, stepping in front of Todd Heap to intercept Kevin Kolb’s pass.