‘Frustrating’ day for Seahawks’ Hasselbeck

SEATTLE — Matt Hasselbeck’s season ended, perhaps fittingly, with frustration. It concluded not with glory or celebration, but with confusion, an interception, and another loss.

After Tennessee regained the lead late in the fourth quarter, Hasselbeck had 4:33 and 80 yards to try to erase the awful memories of the past two weeks and end his season on a high note.

But instead of leading the Seahawks to victory, Hasselbeck ended his season with an interception, giving him a career-worst 17 this season and nine in the past three games.

From the fractured ribs that sidelined Hasselbeck early in the season, to a nagging shoulder injury that seemed to affect his play at times (even if he denied it), to the back-to-back four-interception games, this has been one of the toughest seasons of Hasselbeck’s 11-year career.

“It’s been really, really frustrating,” Hasselbeck said after the Seahawks 17-13 loss dropped them to 5-11.

But that doesn’t mean things can’t get better next year, Hasselbeck insists.

“Even though it’s been a bad season and a tough season, I fell like I’ve learned a lot through it, and I feel like there are some young players on our team with a lot of talent,” he said.

Hasselbeck hopes he can pass on to those young players the same message he heard in his first years in Seattle and have them experience the same turnaround the Seahawks did when they went from missing the postseason in his first two seasons to making the playoffs for five straight years.

“I’m sure we’re not that far away,” he said. “I’m sure we’re not. It doesn’t feel that way right now. This year it didn’t really feel that way, but you know, I can remember when we weren’t good and the coaching staff or veterans on the team would say to me or say to other guys, ‘Hey, listen, I’ve been on good teams, and we’re not that far away. If we all just tune it up, tighten it up, believe, buy in, we can get on the right side of winning and losing games.’ And we did it.”

But on Sunday, the Seahawks were again on the wrong side of winning and losing. Coming off of two of the worst games of his career, Hasselbeck seemed poised to finish the season on a high note. He opened what could have been the game-winning drive with a 25-yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Facing third-and-five, he hit Ben Obomanu for a key first down. One play later he avoided a sack and scrambled for six yards to the Tennessee 37-yard line.

But after John Carlson failed to come up with a catch, and after a pass to Deon Butler fell incomplete, Hasselbeck found himself in a position he has been in far too many times this season: trying to make a play in a desperate situation.

Again Hasselbeck avoided pressure, but when he stepped up to throw down field to Butler, he didn’t put enough on the ball to clear linebacker Gerald McRath, who leaped to make the game-clinching interception.

“It was a fun drive,” Hasselbeck said. “I felt like it was exciting to have the opportunity to go down and win it. Last game, last drive. The plays were there, I think. It’s sort of the story of our season: opportunities were there, we didn’t take advantage of them. I don’t know what happened on that last play. I had Deon Butler open and I had to get it over a guy. Apparently I didn’t get it over him. So it’s just disappointing, frustrating.”

And with that throw, a disappointing, frustrating season came to an end with a disappointing, frustrating final play.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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