RENTON — With a sore shoulder and still healing ribs, Matt Hasselbeck had the game in his hands Sunday, and the decision to lean heavily on the passing game paid off in the form of a come-from-behind victory.
That, of course, begs the question of whether the Seahawks will commit to the pass from here on out considering their struggles to run the ball this season.
And while Seahawks coach Jim Mora isn’t ready to abandon the run game just yet, he said the team will let Hasselbeck carry the load if that gives Seattle the best chance at moving the ball.
“If we have to,” Mora said. “If we have to we will. We’re always going to try to be balanced if we can be, but the important thing is trying to move the ball down the field by whichever means you find success. It’s not ideal, but if we have to do it we’ll do it.”
Hasselbeck played almost the entire game against Detroit with a sore throwing shoulder, the result of him diving to make a tackle after he threw an interception on Seattle’s first play from scrimmage. That injury didn’t keep him from throwing the ball 50 more times, completing a team record 39 passes for 329 yards, and it won’t keep him from playing against Arizona this weekend, Mora said.
“His shoulder was bothering him and he had to manage his way through the game,” Mora said. “As you look back on it, the kinds of throws that he was making and the way that he was adjusting his arm, he fought his way through it and was pretty impressive. His shoulder is sore, we’ll probably hold him Wednesday and then see where he is, maybe limit his throws Thursday and Friday dependent upon how he feels. But it’s nothing structural, it’s just sore, and it was all game … He’ll practice later in the week and he’ll play.”
Not only will Hasselbeck play, he’ll likely throw the ball quite a bit barring a dramatic turnaround in the run game. The combination of a new system and ever changing offensive line has led to minimal running room for Julius Jones and the other Seattle backs, and halfway through the season the Seahawks rank 30th in the NFL with 84.5 rushing yards per game.
After Jones lost a yard on each of his first two carries, and was held to no gain on his third, Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp realized passing the ball was the team’s best bet Sunday. The next drive, which ended in a touchdown, started with seven straight passes, all of which were completed as Hasselbeck connected on 15 straight throws after his interception.
Moving away from the run game might not be an easy choice for Mora and Knapp, who for three straight years in Atlanta coached the NFL’s top rushing offense. In eight years as a coordinator, Knapp has never led an offense that didn’t rank in the top-10 in rushing, a streak that seems certain to end this season. But even if a successful run game has been the calling card of Mora and Knapp-led teams, they won’t force it if it isn’t working.
“Our number one objective is to win,” Mora said. “Whether it’s our first year or our tenth year, it’s to win, it’s to find ways to move the ball down and put it in the end zone, put it through the uprights … You know, you’re stubborn to a point, but not to the point of hurting your football team.”
Overall the Seahawks came out of Sunday’s game as healthy as they have after any game this season. Mora said there were the usual bumps and bruises, but that he expects to have everyone available by Thursday’s practice. Cornerback Ken Lucas played sparingly against Detroit because of a sore neck, and also because he hit his ulnar nerve in his elbow when he fell to the ground trying to break up a first-quarter touchdown pass. Mora didn’t say whether Lucas or Josh Wilson, who started Sunday’s game, would start this week if Lucas is healthy.
As for Sean Locklear, who suited up but did not play, a decision has not yet been made about his role for this week’s game.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog