By Kathleen Nelson
Monday, Nov. 26 2007

The Rams put Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck through the wringer Sunday.

He took more than an hour to recover from the Seahawks' 24-19 victory. In the
process, he excused himself from the locker room twice to rather loudly lose
his lunch.

At least he didn't heave his sense of humor. "It wasn't me," he said, laughing
weakly. "That was Josh Brown," the Seahawks kicker, who missed two field-goal
attempts for the first time since last December. Then, he fessed up: "I'm
honestly so exhausted. I've got nothing left."

Hasselbeck was sacked five times, tied for a season high. But perhaps some of
the fatigue was cumulative. Hasselbeck was hit hard last week in a 30-23
victory over Chicago and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. He seemed
physically exhausted from running to escape the Rams' blitz but was perhaps
more tired mentally from trying to outthink the Rams' defense.

"We didn't handle the pressure very well," Hasselbeck said. "We know Jim
Haslett is a very creative coach. They give you things that no one else does,
so you have to treat them differently. The keys that I had going into the game,
my way of guessing right, didn't hold up. They must have self-scouted. They did
a good job there. When we did know what to do, we didn't execute. They were
definitely into our rhythm."

The mental game of cat-and-mouse began on the first series, when Hasselbeck's
first pass was incomplete and he was sacked on successive plays.

"Ironically, we started the game with pretty much the exact same play as the
last time we played them, and they started with exactly the same blitz,"
Hasselbeck said of the Seahawks' successful opening drive in a 33-6 victory on
Oct. 21. "Last time, we were successful. This time, we weren't."

The Seahawks gave up a safety on their second possession. Seattle scored its
only points of the first half on an 89-yard kickoff return by Josh Wilson.
Seattle trailed 19-7 at halftime, gaining 6 yards rushing. Hasselbeck had
completed 10 of 20 passes for 104 yards with an interception and a rating of

"It was a careless game," coach Mike Holmgren said. "You hang on for dear life
and hope the ship will right itself."

The ship got back on course late in the third quarter, when Marcus Truffant
intercepted a pass from Gus Frerotte and Maurice Morris dashed 46 yards. Three
plays later, the Seahawks scored, closing the gap to 19-17. They took the lead
for good on an up-tempo drive that included five consecutive completions and
finished with a 4-yard run by Leonard Weaver with 6:03 left in the fourth

"Everyone hung together," said Hasselbeck, who completed 21 of 38 attempts for
249 yards, a touchdown and an interception. "It had to be a frustrating game
for our playmakers, who are used to getting a lot of touches and a lot of
opportunities. They were taking our guys out of the game. We had some close
calls, balls that were incomplete that could have been catches but could have
been interceptions, too. I was happy with our wideouts for weathering the storm
and coming up with some big catches late."