A recap of the Seahawks’ 32-20 victory over the Detroit Lions at Qwest Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Matt Hasselbeck. Middle linebacker David Hawthorne had two of the Seahawks’ five interceptions. Olindo Mare kicked four field goals. But the Seahawks don’t win this game, on this day, without their three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
Hasselbeck will be the first to tell you that he was far from perfect, or even from playing at his best. But when coach Jim Mora decided to put the game in Hasselbeck’s hands with the Seahawks trailing 17-0 in the first quarter, his QB responded. Hasselbeck was 39 of 51 for 329 yards, hitting 15 passes in a row during one stretch in the first half. The completions were a franchise record, and helped him before the club’s all-time leader in completions.
“Anytime you have a quarterback that you know can put the ball where it needs to be, it’s comforting,” wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Let’s go with a less obvious selection here, because it shows just what kind of day Hasselbeck had. Faced with a fourth-and-1 from the Lions’ 7-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Hasselbeck forced the defense into a neutral-zone infraction that produced a first down. First, he went with a long snap count. Then he stepped away from the line. Then he stepped back and went with a hard count.
“It was his idea to do the freeze on fourth down,” coach Jim Mora said. “It wasn’t my idea. It’s was Greg’s idea (Knapp, the offensive coordinator). It was Matt’s idea. He just has very good command of the game.”
Defense: Let’s go with the clincher – Josh Wilson’s interception and 61-yard return for a touchdown in the closing seconds. It was the last of the Seahawks’ five interceptions – after they entered the game with three in their first seven games. It slapped an exclamation point on the Seahawks rallying from 17-0 down to a 12-point victory.
Asked who had the best of the team’s five picks, strong safety Deon Grant offered, “Josh. What’s so good about that one? I am glad for (David) Hawthorne, because he’s stepping into big shoes. I was excited for Marcus Trufant, a welcome-back present. I am happy for all three of them, but I would have to say Josh.”
That from the guy who had the fifth pick.
Special teams: Again, there were Mare’s four field goals – or the equivalent of the margin of victory. But the Seahawks went to former University of Washington running back Louis Rankin on kick returns this week in an attempt to jumpstart their return game. All Rankin did was break returns of 41 and 29 yards.
“It’s a couple of things,” Mora said when asked about the improvement in the return game, with Justin Forsett also getting a 46-yarder. “It’s certainly the blocking, and then I think that Louis helped us with that element of speed we talked about. You could see it.”
Linebacker Julian Peterson, who was traded to the Lions during the offseason, had a series of animated meetings with his former Seahawks teammates during pregame warm-ups.
On the sideline, injured middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu was coaching up his fill-in, Hawthorne, as well as outside linebackers Leroy Hill and Aaron Curry – all with his left arm in a sling following recent surgery to repair a torn pectoral. They must have been words of wisdom he was offering, because Hawthorne had a game-high nine tackles, Hill was next with seven and Curry had four.
Free haircuts, all around. Because Wilson returned his interception for a TD, anyone with a ticket stub from this game has one week to get a free haircut at any Puget Sound Great Clips location.
It appeared the Seahawks did not sustain any serious injuries.
Tackle Sean Locklear was active, but did not play. He had been inactive the previous five games because of a high ankle sprain. Cornerback Ken Lucas did not start because of the stinger he got in last week’s game against the Cowboys, and then injured his ulnar nerve while covering the Lions’ first touchdown pass. Kelly Jennings played in the nickel for Lucas the rest of the game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was easy, man. I think everybody here probably could’ve caught that. That’s like a system touchdown, man. Matt just threw the ball. I just fell down and caught the ball.” – Houshmandzadeh, when asked about his touchdown catch