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Updated Oct. 10, 2011 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
After the Seahawks no doubt dramatically reduced "one-knockout" confidence pool participants across the country with their shocking 36-25 come-from-behind victory on the road over the Giants, Pete Carroll says he's confident his team has "turned the corner" to respectability. But his feelings about his team's QB situation are a lot more uncertain heading into the team's bye week following Charlie Whitehurst's winning effort out of the bullpen in relief of the injured Tarvaris Jackson.
Jackson, who looked as good as he has all season coming out of the gate in the Meadowlands directing a more up-tempo attack (the Seahawks gained 242 yards in the first half after averaging a league-low 254 yards per game in the first four weeks), was forced to leave Sunday's game with a strained pectoral muscle suffered on a QB keeper with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Enter Whitehurst, who helped lead the Hawks to a pair of TDs in the final three minutes, including a 27-yard stunner to undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin that gave Seattle the lead for good.
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Fortunately for Carroll, he has the benefit of some well-deserved time off this week before deciding on his course of action under center in the team's remaining 11 games. In his day-after press conference Monday, Carroll said Jackson had a "high-grade sprain" and would not be practicing at all this week. He indicated that the team wouldn't know for some time how long Jackson might be sidelined, while revealing little about the results of Jackson's MRI. Carroll said that Whitehurst would become the starter for the interim. Yet a lot could happen between now and the Seahawks' next game to affect what could be a very fluid QB dynamic the rest of the season.
In the meantime, Seahawks Nation certainly has a hot topic worth pondering while Carroll's troops rest up for their next game on Oct. 23 in Cleveland against former Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren's 2-2 Browns.
Both Jackson and Whitehurst had their share of glitches against the Giants. While Jackson moved the chains effectively early on — with a big assist from RB Marshawn Lynch (98 yards rushing) — his ill-advised interception set up a TD by the Giants that tied the game at 14. Carroll was also upset that Jackson didn't slide on the play in which he was injured. On the other hand, while Whitehurst efficiently got the job done in relief, he wasn't nearly as fluid-looking as Jackson and at times appeared to simply throw the ball away.
Whoever the starting QB is after the bye figures to keep throwing passes in the direction of Baldwin, who has come out of nowhere, a la reclamation project Mike Williams last season, to surpass the likes of Sidney Rice and Williams as the team's leading receiver with a big-play presence in the slot (8-136-1 Sunday with four receptions of 20-plus yards) that would have made former Seahawks slot specialist Bobby Engram very proud.
On the other side of the ball, major kudos are in order for two more very unlikely heroes in the upset of the Giants — reserve DL Anthony Hargrove and ex-CFL CB Brandon Browner. Hargrove, who was signed by Seattle two days before the regular-season opener, had a safety that gave Seattle a 16-14 lead. Browner, who has been picked on more than a little in the 2011 season's first few months, sealed the deal Sunday with a 94-yard interception return for a TD of a pass that bounced off Giants WR Victor Cruz's hands.
Talk about sweet redemption. Earlier in the game, Cruz was on the receiving end of a TD pass that bounced off the hands of Seahawks S Kam Chancellor.
Crazy bounces, it turns out, had as much to do as anything with the Seahawks' second victory, which keeps them at least within shouting distance of the upstart Niners in the NFC West. In the Pete Carroll regime, though, craziness and completely unexpected twists and turns have become par for the course.