Friday, January 7, 2011
Quaterback controversy in Seattle? Who should start the Seahawks playoff game?
This Saturday the Seattle Seahawks(7-9) will be the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints(11-5) in the Wild Card playoffs. The Seahawks return to the playoffs under first year head coach Pete Carroll for the first time since 2007. There was some questions on who will start at quarterback for the playoff game but Pete Carroll announced that he is sticking with veteran Matt Hasselbeck. In this following blog post I'll explain why Carroll made the correct call and it's not even close.
Before I explain why Carroll made the right decision I'll show why Whitehurst was even considered. Whitehurst played a good game in the NFC West championship game against the St.Louis Rams which you can read about by clicking on here. Whitehurst played well against the Rams completing 22 of 36 pass for 192 yards without throwing an interception. He played well in a primetime game which is a sign he can thrive under pressure.
With Hasselbeck struggling taking care of the ball as of late many fans want Whitehurst to start. Whitehurst has played smart but also isn't doing anything either. He has essentially started three games since he played the majority of the Tampa Bay Game. In his three games where he played extended playing time he scored just one touchdown each game. Against a powerful offense like the Saints 16 points won't be enough. Another reason why Whitehurst shouldn't start is because his season numbers are worse than Hasselbeck's across the board. Whitehurst YPA is only 5.1, completion percentage is 57.6% and his rating is 65.5 on the year. Whitehurst was terrific in the game against the Rams but the Seahawks will need more against the Saints.
Now that I listed why people may think Whitehurst should start I will now explain why Hasselbeck starting is the right move. First of all Hasselbeck has already faced this Saints defense before and had one of his better games as a Seahawks quarterback passing for 333 yards which you can read here. Hasselbeck is one of the few guys on this roster with any playoff experience as Hasselbeck will be making his 10th career playoff start. Hasselbeck is 4-1 all-time at Qwest Field in the playoffs with a four game winning streak.
The Seahawks have a better chance of winning the game with Hasselbeck. Whitehurst is fine if you have a defense like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens but the Seahawks don't in 2010. The Seahawks to win this game need points and need a quarterback who can score points. Hasselbeck had a horrible year by his standards but still beat Whitehurst across the board with 6.8 YPA, 59.9% completion and 73.2 quarterback rating. When Hasselbeck faces a blitz which the Saints love to do his YPA is above 9.0. Hasselbeck has faced every type of defense there is while Whitehurst hasn't. For the Seahawks to pull off the upset Hasselbeck has to bring his "A" game which is still better than Whitehurst "A" game.
For those who want Whitehurst to start you are entitled to your opinion. Hasselbeck has thrown 17 interceptions this year to just 12 touchdowns and he hasn't played well at all. Whitehurt might not turn the ball over but when it comes to winning games he doesn't score points at all. Go watch the Rams game again his "break-out" game and he left some points on the board. He overthrew Mike Williams when Williams had one on one a veteran like Hasselbeck lobs it up to Williams for an easy touchdown. On another play Whitehurst panic when if he had just stepped up in the pocket he runs for an easy 20 yards if not a touchdown in the third quarter. Whitehurst is a better runner than Hasselbeck but he isn't Michael Vick either. Hasselbeck is a better passer, is a veteran who has been there and done that. Whitehurst has played in three and a half games in his career that's it.
Ultimately Pete Carroll made the right decision. He is going with a guy who has won four playoff games, started nine playoff games in his career. Whitehurst may have won the NFC West Championship but Hasselbeck has won the NFC Championship. With Whitehurst you get no turnovers but no points or upside. With Hasselbeck you could get a disaster at this stage of his career or you could the good Hasselbeck who will lead the Seahawks to the upset win over the Saints. Hasselbeck has already played great against the Saints this year, is the team captain and has won big games in the past. Quarterback controversy? Puhhhhlease! Hasselbeck gives the team the best chance to win and I'm glad Carroll made the right decision. Now we have to worry about the real problem which is finding a way to stop Drew Brees.