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Hasselbeck has record-setting day

Seahawks quarterback completes team-record 39 passes and breaks club mark for career completions

  • Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck escapes from Detroitís Dewayne White as he looks down field for a receiver in the first half of Sundayís game.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck escapes from Detroitís Dewayne White as he looks down field for a receiver in the first half of Sundayís game.

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By Rich Myhre
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck escapes from Detroitís Dewayne White as he looks down field for a receiver in the first half of Sundayís game.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck escapes from Detroitís Dewayne White as he looks down field for a receiver in the first half of Sundayís game.

SEATTLE — By the numbers, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was about as good as he’s ever been on Sunday, leading the Seahawks to a 32-20 victory over the Detroit Lions at Qwest Field.
It didn’t start out that way.
Hasselbeck, who put his name in the team record book twice against the Lions — and nearly a third time — threw a gosh-awful interception on Seattle’s first play from scrimmage, which Detroit returned to the Seahawks 2-yard line, setting up a one-play scoring drive.
Minutes later, after Seattle lost a fumble and another possession ended on downs, the Seahawks trailed 17-0.
“It was really a terrible, terrible way to start,” Hasselbeck said. Down 17 points, “it was kind of, ‘You have got to be kidding me. Seriously?’ It was not a great way to start.”
It was, however, the beginning of a very special day for Seattle’s three-time Pro Bowl QB. Scrapping their game plan because of the early deficit, the Seahawks emphasized their passing offense the rest of the way and Hasselbeck responded brilliantly.
When it was over he had thrown the ball 51 times, four shy of his own team record, and completed 39, breaking his mark of 36 set in 2002 (a completion by backup QB Seneca Wallace gave Seattle an even 40 for the day).
Also, Hasselbeck’s 12th completion lifted him past Dave Krieg for the most career completions in team history. Hasselbeck finished the day with 2,124. Krieg, who played in Seattle from 1980-91, had 2,096 completions for the Seahawks.
Lastly, Hasselbeck had 15 consecutive completions in the first half, coming within two of Warren Moon’s team record of 17 set in 1998. The streak ended late in the first half when Hasselbeck overthrew Nate Burleson in the end zone, his first incompletion of the game (Burleson drew an offensive pass interference penalty, which was declined).
The key to Seattle’s comeback — the Seahawks pulled within 17-13 at halftime and went ahead to stay late in the third quarter — was Hasselbeck in the pocket, dissecting Detroit’s defense with short, precise passes. His longest passing gain of the day was a 49-yarder to running back Julius Jones, and that was a screen pass that Jones broke for big yardage.
“It stinks that we had to put ourselves in that situation because that really wasn’t the game plan,” he said. “The plan was to be balanced, but we shot ourselves in the foot early in the game. ... When you start out (trailing) 17-0, it’s hard to commit to the run.”
Afterward, Hasselbeck didn’t seem impressed by his showing — “I really didn’t feel like I played my best,” he said — but others had plenty of praise.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve said it,” Seahawks head coach Jim Mora said, “but I just have so much respect for Matt Hasselbeck and his toughness, both physical and mental. I think today was about both of those things for him.
“He showed his true leadership to me. He showed everything that he is. I don’t know if I have any more respect for any player that I’ve ever coached than I have for Matt Hasselbeck. He’s a veteran, he’s calm, he’s confident and he has great command of the game. ... He’s a special kind of man.”
Sunday’s win lifts Seattle to 3-5 heading into next week’s game at Arizona. With the Cardinals atop the NFC West at 5-3, the Seahawks need a victory to keep a realistic hope of winning the division.
“We can do the math,” Hasselbeck said. “We knew that we needed to get this one. And because we’ve blown opportunities early in the season, the next one (at Arizona), just like this one, is very important.”
“Right now, we know our backs are against the wall. You only get so many chances, so winning this game was absolutely necessary. Winning the next game is absolutely necessary. We’ve made it hard on ourselves, but we’ve still got a chance. We’re just going to have to do it the hard way.”
Story tags » Seahawks

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