Seahawks QB debate opens up
Both QBs look strong in victory
Seattle Times staff reporter
The game started with Matt Hasselbeck's first pass being intercepted and returned for a touchdown by his former team.
It was over when Russell Wilson scored on a 32-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 51 seconds left.
Those were fitting bookends for Seattle's 27-17 victory over Tennessee at CenturyLink Field in an exhibition game that served as a showcase for this city's quarterbacks — both past and future.
On the one hand, it was a homecoming for the Titans' tandem of Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, a former Washington Husky. On the other, it was an audition for the Seahawks' future.
And while it was nice to see old friends, this city is going to spend this week talking about whether it was Matt Flynn or the rookie Wilson who had the better debut.
There's an argument to be made on either side.
"The quarterbacks did a really nice job," coach Pete Carroll said. "Nothing but good stuff came out of this game for them. They were poised."
Flynn completed 11 of his 13 passes and guided Seattle on its most impressive drive of the game. The drive not only consumed nine minutes of the first quarter, but also came against the Titans' starters. But Flynn netted only 71 yards passing, and he also was picked off.
Wilson's 39-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards was Seattle's longest play of the game, and he was Seattle's leading rusher with 59 yards. But Wilson also was playing against the lesser tiers of the Titans' defense, and he was intercepted in the end zone by Titans linebacker Zac Diles.
This game was like catnip for the quarterback debate.
"It was good to see those guys out there in live action," running back Leon Washington said. "You can see what Russ can do, the guy can make plays with his feet. You see Matt Flynn and you can tell, he'll throw the ball well."
The difference was a little more clear cut for Tennessee as Hasselbeck was picked off twice in the three possessions he played while Locker was impressive in the Titans' only scoring drive of the first half. He completed four consecutive passes for 45 yards in a 79-yard drive that netted a 32-yard field goal in the final minute of the half.
He moved well in the pocket, showed an ability to look downfield while buying time and avoided mistakes.
The Titans trailed 10-3 at halftime, and neither Hasselbeck nor Locker played in the second half.
The Seahawks led 17-3 early in the third quarter before giving up two touchdowns to Tennessee running back Darius Raynaud in less than three minutes as he scored on a 21-yard run and an 85-yard punt return.
Seattle regained the lead on a 40-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka in the fourth quarter, and held onto it after Tennessee's backup kicker missed a 36-yard attempt with 4:46 left. That set the stage for Wilson's final drive as he drove the Seahawks 74 yards, converting one third down before running a naked bootleg for the game-clinching touchdown that put an exclamation point on Seattle's exhibition opener.
"We finished the drive," Wilson said. "We finished the game there at the end. That's the key part. That's what I really wanted to do right there."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dannyoneil.
Sea — Browner 23 interception return (Hauschka kick), 14:51.
Sea — FG Hauschka 41, 2:51.
Ten — FG Bironas 32, :31.
Sea — Edwards 39 pass from Wilson (Hauschka kick), 12:11.
Ten — Reynaud 21 run (Bironas kick), 8:04.
Ten — Reynaud 85 punt return (Bironas kick), 5:12.
Sea — FG Hauschka 40, 11:17.
Sea — Wilson 32 run (Hauschka kick), 1:51.
A — 65,589.
|Total Net Yards||305||321|
|Time of Possession||27:44||32:16|
Rushing — Tennessee, Reynaud 5-29, Ringer 4-22, Harper 5-15, Donaldson 2-13, C.Johnson 5-8, Stephens 1-7, L.Hawkins 1-(minus 9). Seattle, Wilson 3-59, Washington 5-26, Turbin 10-24, Lumpkin 6-23, Sutton 2-3, Flynn 1-0.
Passing — Tennessee, Locker 7-13-0-80, R.Smith 7-10-0-76, Hasselbeck 5-9-2-45, Stephens 4-5-0-24. Seattle, Wilson 12-16-1-124, Flynn 11-13-1-71.
Receiving — Tennessee, Wright 3-47, Donaldson 3-29, Washington 3-24, Thompson 3-15, Mariani 2-52, Cook 2-21, Kirkendoll 2-4, Aguilar 1-12, Ringer 1-12, L.Hawkins 1-6, Williams 1-6, Reynaud 1-(minus 3). Seattle, Turbin 3-9, Edwards 2-51, Miller 2-23, Lumpkin 2-22, Martin 2-21, A.McCoy 2-13, McGrath 2-13, Tate 2-13, Taua 2-6, Butler 1-10, Sutton 1-5, Washington 1-5, Robinson 1-4.
Missed FG — Tennessee, Batson 36 (WR).
|How they fared|
|A look at how the Seahawks quarterbacks played in Saturday's exhibition game.|