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After taking beating, Hasselbeck hangs on

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  • After taking beating, Hasselbeck hangs on

    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."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Seattle maintains poise, overcomes a sorry first half
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Monday, Oct. 16 2006

    The Seattle Seahawks dismissed a dismal first half and finished with a flourish.

    "They got us pretty good in the first half," coach Mike Holmgren said after
    Seattle's 30-28 victory Sunday. "We had a good second half. We made the game
    more interesting than we had to."

    Seattle's early play harkened to their most recent performance, an embarrassing
    37-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Oct. 1. The Rams held a 21-7 lead Sunday,
    after the Seahawks gained 4 yards rushing in the first half. The Seahawks
    played both games without Shaun Alexander, last year's leading rusher and MVP,
    recovering from a foot injury.

    When asked to share his intermission words of wisdom, Holmgren said: "I really
    can't. I unloaded on them."

    Center Robbie Tobeck joked that he wouldn't give away team secrets. "I never
    pay attention to that stuff," he said, then 'fessed up. "He reminded us of a
    few things, then said point-blank, 'We're not leaving here without a win.'"

    Holmgren admitted that he told the players he would stick with the running
    game. It paid off, with 90 rushing yards in the third quarter, 49 by
    Alexander's replacement, Maurice Morris. Seattle started its scoring barrage on
    a 42-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Darrell Jackson with 6
    minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

    "One of the guys ran a wrong route on the play," said Hasselbeck, who completed
    19 of 34 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. "It probably helped the
    play. I saw him run the wrong route on the right and thought, 'Forget that
    side' and looked to the left. It was third and 15, kind of a desperate time. I
    gave Darrell a chance. I didn't think he would get there, so it's really all
    Darrell. He didn't quit on the play."

    Holmgren said he sensed the momentum shift. "A great play always juices up your
    team," he said. "That was a fantastic throw and catch."

    Seattle then scored on a 49-yard field goal and recovered a fumble on the
    ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, the Seahawks took their first lead, 24-21, on
    a 19-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Deion Branch.

    Seattle left the door open for a Rams comeback, losing a fumble with 2:48 to go
    that led to a 67-yard TD pass from Marc Bulger to Torry Holt. With 1:38 but no
    timeouts remaining, Hasselbeck drove the Seahawks from their 17 to the Rams' 31
    but nearly gave away the game when he spiked the ball with four seconds left
    before his wide receivers were lined up properly.

    "I knew what the penalty was; I was mad...
    -10-16-2006, 05:21 AM
  • RamWraith
    Botched pass in end zone mirrors Seattle's season
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

    SEATTLE - The Seahawks' final play in a 27-20 loss to the Rams on Saturday
    encapsulated their season.

    On fourth and 4 at the Rams' 5 with 27 seconds to play, the Seahawks had one
    last chance to score a touchdown and send the game into overtime. Seattle
    quarterback Matt Hasselbeck looked to the end zone for wide receiver Bobby
    Engram, a play some of their teammates termed "money in the bank."

    Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said the pass protection seemed to break down,
    which forced quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to move in the pocket.

    "He had to change what he was doing," Holmgren said, "and that affected the

    Instead of a completion in the center of the end zone, the ball nicked the
    outstretched arms of an off-balance Engram and fell to the turf.

    "It came in pretty hot, but I've got to find a way to make that play," Engram
    said. "It's a play we've run a few times this year and scored on. I thought
    Matt moved in the pocket a little bit. I was trying to locate him. He was
    trying to find me. We just didn't connect.

    "I just tried to get my hands down there. How clean I hit it, I'm not sure."

    The loss extended the longest active streak for playoff futility, stretching to

    Near-misses characterized the season for the Seahawks, a team that some experts
    predicted earlier this season would make a run deep into the playoffs.

    Engram called the missed catch "a pretty good analogy. It's been a battle all
    year. The guys on this team are great. It's been a crazy year. A lot of ups and
    downs. We've just got to find a way to win games like this. That's continuing
    to mature. Any time you have a really good team, you have to go through a
    building process, but this is a game we could have won."

    Holmgren attributed another of the Seahawks' Achilles' heels, youth, to putting
    Seattle in an early hole.

    Two strikes of more than 50 yards to Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis keyed
    touchdown drives that gave the Rams a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

    "That's one area where our youth really shows up," Holmgren said. "You can
    coach it, you can talk it, you can drill it, you can bring them in at 6 in the
    morning and look at it, and then when they're out in the field, if you haven't
    seen it enough, sometimes you react in a different way. That's what happened
    today, and that's what happened this season, unfortunately."

    A couple of aspects of Saturday's loss proved uncharacteristic, however.

    Running back...
    -01-09-2005, 05:12 AM
  • RamWraith
    Burleson sparks Seahawks to huge NFC West win
    by RamWraith
    By John Clayton

    Five weeks ago, Nate Burleson looked like a $49 million goat, who instead turned out to be the most unexpected hero. By being called for an illegal formation instead of a false start in the final seconds of the Seahawks-Rams game in St. Louis, Burleson saved Seattle a 10-second run-off penalty, giving Josh Brown the chance to kick a game-winning 54-yard field goal as time expired.

    On Sunday in a steady downpour in Seattle, Burleson eliminated any confusion about his role. He made the game-saving 90-yard punt return for a touchdown with 8:19 left that put the Seahawks in position to beat and, just as importantly, sweep the Rams.

    How the Seahawks got to Brown's game-winning this week (a 38-yarder) involved two goats in Rams colors. (Goats? Ouch)!)

    Nate Burleson's 90-yard punt return for a TD may have been the spark that propelled the Seahawks past the Rams. "I don't know if I was a hero in the last Rams game because honestly I thought I lost it for a second. Tears were welling up in my eyes," Burleson said. "Today, though, I'm not the hero. The heroes were the guys blocking for me and Josh Brown."

    The goats Sunday were Rams coach Scott Linehan and Rams guard Richie Incognito. Linehan made the bonehead decision to go for it on fourth and a long one instead of settling for a likely sure-thing field goal after winning a coach's challenge early in the fourth quarter.

    It looked as though the Rams had taken a 19-14 lead when Jeff Wilkins kicked a 35-yard field goal, but just before the ball was snapped, Linehan threw his red challenge flag at a sideline official. Turns out Kevin Curtis made a catch about a yard-and-a-half short of a first down at the Seahawks 12-and-a-half yardline.

    Instead of trying the field goal again -- this time it would have been no more than a 30-yarder and just for the record, Wilkins was 11 for 11 from inside 40 yards entering the game -- Linehan went for the first down. The play was a disaster. Fullback Paul Smith didn't hear the play call in which he was supposed to float into a short pass route to force a Seahawks defender into covering him low. Smith just stayed in the backfield, messing up the play. Two Seahawks defenders then had coverage on the Rams' main target, tight end Joe Klopfenstein. With little open, quarterback Marc Bulger tried to make a tight throw that went incomplete.

    Trailing by only two points instead of five, the Seahawks needed to only get a field goal to take the lead instead of a touchdown, easing their margin of difficulty to win the game. That difference became very apparent when Incognito made bonehead decision No. 2.

    Rams halfback Steven Jackson scored a 14-yard touchdown to counter Burleson's touchdown return to give the Rams a 22-21 lead with 2:30 left in the game. Someone on the Seahawks defense ripped...
    -11-13-2006, 06:44 AM
  • Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    by Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    By TIM KORTE, AP Sports Writer
    November 15, 2004

    KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Last summer, the Seattle Seahawks were a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl.

    As they keep reminding themselves, that goal remains attainable. Yet one day after their second loss to NFC West rival St. Louis, everyone from coach Mike Holmgren down was asking the same question.

    What's wrong with the Seahawks?

    ``Some of the things that happened yesterday, I'm struggling for answers,'' Holmgren said Monday. ``And I don't like that feeling.''

    This was one of Seattle's most celebrated games so far, a rematch with the Rams who struck for 23 unanswered points in the final eight minutes on Oct. 10, when St. Louis won 33-27 in overtime.

    This time, the Seahawks (5-4) allowed 17 quick points. Seattle's offense couldn't keep up, nor could it reach the end zone. Matt Hasselbeck was 15-of-36 for 172 yards with an interception, and was plagued by poor decisions and drops.

    ``I expect us to be better than that,'' Holmgren said. ``We missed. We just didn't execute. We didn't catch it very well. We didn't throw it very well, as well as I think we can.''

    Shaun Alexander gained 176 yards rushing to put him over the 1,000-yard mark in the ninth game, but he had a key fumble after a nice 35-yard run in the fourth quarter when Seattle was trying to close a 20-12 margin.

    Nobody knows what's wrong.

    ``If I knew, I would tell you,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously, we haven't figured it out. We all have different ideas of what would help. As a team, we're not doing it. We'll eventually figure it out and go from there.''

    Holmgren said repeatedly back at training camp that a deep postseason run was possible, provided Seattle's best players all performed well throughout the season.

    So far, that hasn't happened.

    A Seattle defense that stormed its first three opponents has been up-and-down since. Marc Bulger made six straight completions on the Rams' opening drive Sunday, and he was 11-of-13 with a 14-0 lead after seven minutes.

    ``We made it too easy,'' Holmgren said.

    Hasselbeck -- a Pro Bowler last season -- has had some solid games, mixed with struggles that leave Holmgren scratching his head.

    ``We're not far from it really exploding and being good,'' Hasselbeck insisted. ``Just like the week before when there were a lot of good plays, it's just 6 inches and it's a good play. That's kind of where we're at.''

    Great, but they've been saying that for weeks now. Hasselbeck believes the Seahawks ``are on the other side of that fine line,'' and he maintains there's optimism flowing through the locker room.

    Seattle, though, is teetering -- poised to go one way or the other.

    -11-16-2004, 07:37 AM
  • RamWraith
    Loss to rival St. Louis ends Seattle's season
    by RamWraith
    By Josť Miguel Romero

    Seattle Times staff reporter


    They came because they thought their football heroes would truly hear their cheers, and that would carry their team over the top.

    They lined up en masse to get inside Qwest Field for the biggest pro football game in this city in five years, and some even were late because of more thorough security searches.

    And after those five years without a home playoff game, plus 15 more without a playoff win, it ended too fast and too soon. No matter how bad everyone on the field and in the stands wanted it.

    The St. Louis Rams continued their mastery over Seattle, winning yesterday's NFC wild-card game 27-20 and ending the Seahawks' season. It was the third victory of the season for the Rams over the Seahawks, and the most disheartening of all three.

    On the Seahawks' last chance to tie the score, the ball slipped through the grasp of wide receiver Bobby Engram in the end zone, suddenly sucking the life from the crowd of 65,397 that wanted to believe.

    The play will be etched into this city's memory forever, becoming another chapter in the already voluminous another-Seattle-team-that couldn't win-the-big-one book.

    On fourth-and-four from the Rams' 5-yard line with 27 seconds left, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck attempted to sidearm a prayer of a pass through heavy traffic. Engram was the only possible target, as Hasselbeck was under heavy pressure and couldn't take a sack.

    On his knees, Engram appeared to cradle the ball. In an instant, it popped free and onto the painted turf in the end zone.

    Incomplete. Rams' ball. St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk flapped his arms in mockery of the Seahawks' fans in the south end zone. All hope was gone as quarterback Marc Bulger took a knee and the clock expired.

    "There's no excuses," Engram said in the locker room, trying his best to stay composed as he painfully relived the final offensive play of the Seahawks' season.

    "The ball came in hot. I had a chance to make the play. I didn't make the play."

    Engram will have the offseason to think about what would have been a great catch. But the Seahawks deserved some credit for at least being in a position to send the game into overtime, after all that had transpired and seemed to work against them.

    It couldn't have started much worse. Three plays into the game, Bulger went deep for Torry Holt on a corner route, gaining 53 yards as Holt found a seam in the Seahawks' zone coverage.

    Moments later, on third-and-14 from the Seattle 15, Bulger found Holt in front of safety Marquand Manuel in the end zone for the touchdown. Holt appeared to lose control of the ball for a split second. The Seahawks challenged the touchdown call, but it was upheld. ...
    -01-09-2005, 10:44 AM