BY SPNW Staff 11:46AM 10/25/2011

Injuries Taking A Toll On Seahawks’ Shaky Offense

Physical status of several offensive starters remains vague as the Seahawks (2-4) prepare to play Cincinnati Sunday; Whitehurst has to overcome emotionally his worst performance.

Marshawn Lynch missed his first game as a Seahawk Sunday and his status for the Cincinnati game is up in the air. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

With QB Tarvaris Jackson, RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Zach Miller and C Max Unger all sidelined with injuries, the Seahawks failed to generate much offense on Sunday in a horrid-looking 6-3 loss to the last-place Cleveland Browns (AFC North). In fact, Seattle’s 137 yards of total offense marked the second fewest that the Seahawks have had in any game since the 2000 season.

According to coach Pete Carroll, none of the aforementioned injury victims have yet to be cleared to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks expected Jackson (pectoral muscle) and Miller (concussion) to miss the Browns game, but the Lynch injury took the club by surprise. During pre-game warmups, Lynch suddenly experienced back spasms, forcing his scratch.

“We were surprised by that (back injury), that it popped up and became such an issue, so we’re going to have to be careful on how we project this right now,” Carroll said. “He was okay going into game day. He had some symptoms and it just kind of jumped out, so we’ll have to be careful with him through the week and make sure that we do the right things and get him all the way to game time. I’m sure he’s determined to play in his mind, but we’re not going to really know until we get to the end of the week.”

Carroll disclosed that Lynch has had back-related issues since he played for the Buffalo Bills, and that the Seahawks were aware of that when they traded for him on Oct. 5, 2010 in exchange for two draft choices.

“It’s been a long-lasting issue for him,” Carroll added. “It’s been somewhat ongoing and it continues to be an issue for us. I’m sure we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing to keep him going and then just watch for the signs and hopefully by the end of the week he’ll be feeling pretty good.”

With Lynch missing his first game since coming to Seattle, the Seahawks managed just 65 rushing yards, including 39 by Leon Washington and 23 by Justin Forsett. By comparison to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst’s output, however, Washington and Forsett were Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.

Muffing his chance to start, Whitehurst completed 12 passes and produced a quarterback rating of just 35.0. That’s not the worst in franchise history for a single game, but it’s close (based on a minimum of 30 throws):

Year Date Quarterback Opp. Att. Cmp. Yards TD INT Rate
1990 10/21 Dave Krieg KC 35 13 132 0 4 9.2
1985 10/20 Dave Krieg Den 32 9 115 1 3 13.4
1982 12/19 Jim Zorn NE 35 15 134 0 4 14.2
1976 11/28 Jim Zorn NYG 32 14 137 0 3 17.3
2004 10/24 Matt Hasselbeck Ariz 41 14 187 1 4 18.1
1977 9/18 Jim Zorn Bal 34 14 164 1 4 26.7
1976 10/24 Jim Zorn Det 37 18 249 0 6 31.1
1985 11/17 Dave Krieg NE 43 19 229 0 3 32.0
1992 11/22 Kelly Stouffer KC 30 13 164 1 4 32.5
1980 11/9 Jim Zorn KC 37 18 189 1 5 33.3
2011 10/23 Charlie Whitehurst Clev 30 12 97 0 1 35.0
1992 9/13 Kelly Stouffer KC 31 13 106 1 2 35.1
1998 12/23 Jon Kitna SD 31 16 140 1 3 35.1

“It (loss to Cleveland) was hard on him,” Carroll said of Whitehurst. “Charlie had a hard time. Things weren’t as clean as we would have liked. They covered us well. They played a lot of cover. They gave us tight coverage and we had to throw some balls in some tight spots and we weren’t hitting it right. We got covered some. It all works together – it’s not just the quarterback. It was hard to find open spaces and find the guys running in the clear, so it was a struggle.

“We did fine in the short game and all the play-action stuff that we threw in our lateral passing game was not difficult for us, but getting the ball down field we had trouble. We went downtown a couple times and they made a couple plays on the deep ball and even the one on the scramble play to Sidney (Rice) we weren’t able to get that ball to him where he was able to run down the sidelines and score when he was open enough to do that.

“So it was a hard go. I think that’s the toughest time Charlie’s had in the games he’s played in. I know he didn’t feel real good about it. He didn’t feel as though he was seeing things as well as he would like and for whatever reason they did a nice job on him.”

Jackson’s (pectoral injury) status remains murky, according to Carroll, who said, “We’ll just have to take it a day at a time an see where it goes.”

Miller, recovering from a serious concussion, is likely to be listed as doubtful for the Bengals, while Unger, according to Carroll, has a better chance of playing.