Seattle Seahawks lost 35-24 to the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago last Sunday. It was a tough and emotional loss for the whole organization, but I don’t think anyone should have taken it harder than the 12-year veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
His final stat line: 26 completions on 46 attempts, 258 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions against a defense that tied for third in the NFL this season with 35 takeaways. This performance was actually quite impressive considering who they were playing.
One might look at his completion percentage of 56 percent and say that’s where his problem was. But ultimately, it wasn’t a problem with him. It was his receivers’ problem with hanging onto the ball.
There were multiple dropped passes in this game.12-year veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley dropped a ball that would have been a first down. Tight end Cameron Morrah dropped a 25-plus yard pass in the first quarter that would have put them into field goal range. Wide receiver Mike Williams dropped another long pass that would have taken Seattle to midfield in the second quarter when they were backed up in their own territory.
Those drops are just a few of the mistakes Seattle’s up-and-down receiving corps made Sunday. Plus, Hasselbeck’s offensive line, which couldn’t get any push, managed only 34 yards rushing a week after a 150-yard performance against the defending champs, and a 141-yard effort against St. Louis the week before that.
Matt Hasselbeck has been the epitome of a true leader his whole career. He has been the full-time starter in Seattle since 2002 and since then he has led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances, five divisional championships, one conference championship and one Superbowl loss. Even in that Superbowl loss, Hasselbeck kept his composure and was the unwavering leader of the team. He also holds almost every franchise passing record for Seattle.
This year was a very up-and-down season for Hasselbeck, who had a four-game stretch in the middle of the season where he had one of the best efficiency ratings of his career. Ye,t he also had some of the worst games of his career. He dealt with injuries and was even benched in favor of the backup Charlie Whitehurst in week 17, a must-win game to win the division. Despite not starting, he kept morale up on the sideline and every time Whitehurst came off the field he was jabbering in the young quarterbacks ear, filling him with a veteran’s advice.
The next week, Hasselbeck led Seattle to perhaps the biggest playoff upset of all time against the New Orleans Saints, throwing four touchdown passes and even providing a key block in Marshawn Lynch’s amazing 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
When all was said and done, Hasselbeck took the loss this week like a true leader like he has all season long. He walked to midfield, congratulated Jay Cutler and the Bears and led Seattle back to the locker room.
Matt Hasselbeck is a class act and one of the “good guys” in today’s NFL, and I hope they bring the veteran back for at least one more year. He might have just enough left in the tank for another magical postseason run in 2012.