PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks quarterback, as well as the other offensive starters, played into the second half for the only time this preseason. They didn’t waste the opportunity, as Hasselbeck led what proved to be a game-winning, nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive to open the half. That one ended with his 28-yard TD pass to tight end John Carlson, but Hasselbeck also threw an 8-yard TD pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the final series of the first half.
Hasselbeck fashioned a 111.4 passer rating by completing 19 of 25 passes for 216 yards. He also had a pass tipped and returned for a TD on the Seahawks’ first possession of the game, but he got that back and then some.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There were the two TD passes, of course. But the play everyone was talking about – and laughing about – in the locker room was Hasselbeck’s two-handed chest pass to Houshmandzadeh for a first down on the drive to the first score. The third-down play was supposed to be a run to the right side, but when Hasselbeck bobbled the snap from center Steve Vallos, he went to T.J. on the left side.
Defense: Where to start? How about the play that ended the game, and the Chiefs’ final fling at pulling out a victory? Linebacker Will Herring intercepted a third-down pass by QB Matt Gutierrez, who was sacked on the previous two plays by Nick Reed and Derrick Walker.
Special teams: Let’s go with Justin Forsett’s 17-yard punt return in the second quarter. It gave the Seahawks a spark when they needed one, and set the stage for the 48-yard drive to Hasselbeck’s first TD pass.
Backup QB Seneca Wallace injured his groin in the fourth quarter, forcing the Seahawks to call a timeout so they could get No. 3 QB Mike Teel into the game.
Safety C.J. Wallace aggravated a rib injury in the first half and did not play in the second half. Running backs Julius Jones (bruised shin) and Justin Forsett (twisted ankle) and right tackle Ray Willis (bruised thigh) also were nicked, but the injuries were not considered serious.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Somebody was going to get hit, and Matt didn’t want it to be him.” – a smiling Houshmandzadeh, on why Hasselbeck made the basketball pass to him on that third-down rather than running the ball
The Chiefs cut the Seahawks lead to 14-10 on a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, which capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive that started at the end of the third quarter and ended with 11:50 to play.
The big play on the drive was Matt Gutierrez’ 33-pass to Ashley Lelie, who got behind Seahawks cornerback Kevin Hobbs.
The Seahawks got another chance to put points on the board when cornerback Marquis Floyd intercepted a horribly thrown pass from QB Matt Gutierrez at the Kansas City 46 with 6½ minutes to play. But on consecutive plays, rookie tight end Cameron Morrah was called for a false start, guard Andre Ramsey was penalized for holding and wide receiver Ben Obomanu dropped a third-down pass from Mike Teel.
The Chiefs mounted one last drive to try and win the game, moving from their own 18 to the Seahawks 39. But defensive ends Derrick Walker and Nick Reed came up with back-to-back sacks and linebacker Will Herring intercepted a third-down pass.
Seahawks 14, Chiefs 10
- 11:50 – Kansas City field goal by Succop, 35, yards. 8 plays, 63 yards in 3:44
The Seahawks opened the second half with a nine-play, 74-yard scoring drive, as Matt Hasselbeck and tight end John Carlson hooking up on a 28-yard TD play. In fact, Hasselbeck went to Carlson on his last three passes – for 4 yards on third-and-1; 20 yards to the Chiefs 28; and the score. Hasselbeck was 5 of 6 for 65 yards, including an 8-yarder to Deion Branch on the Seahawks’ first third-down situation.
The defensive starters then strutted their stuff on what will be their only second-half series of the preseason, as defensive end Cory Redding dropped Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles for no gain, cornerback Josh Wilson stopped former Seahawks wide receiver Bobby Engram for a 5-yard gain and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu rejected Tyler Thigpen’s third-down pass.
The Seahawks got another chance to score, but Brandon Coutu was well short on a 50-yard field goal attempt, after Kevin Houser’s high snap.
- 10:37 – Carlson 28 yard pass from Hasselbeck. PAT by Mare. 9 plays, 74 yards in 4:23.
The Seahawks tied the score on Matt Hasselbeck’s 8-yard TD pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 56 seconds to play in the half. But both teams also wasted drives, as the Chiefs’ Ryan Succop and the Seahawks’ Olindo Mare slapped field goal attempts wide left and Succop then hit the crossbar on a 53-yard attempt with 4 seconds left.
The Chiefs drove to the Seahawks13, before defensive end Cory Redding stopped Jamaal Charles for no gain, defensive end Patrick Kerney dropped Larry Johnson after the 3-yard gain and cornerback Kelly Jennings had blanket coverage on an incomplete pass to Dwayne Bowe in the end zone. Succop then missed his first kick.
Hasselbeck took advantage of the situation by driving the Seahawks to the Chiefs 8, but the usually sure-footed Mare then slapped a 27-yard attempt wide left. Hasselbeck was 3 of 3 on third-down passes, hitting an 8-yarder to Houshmandzadeh, a 17-yarder that looked like a basketball chest pass to Houshmandzadeh and a 7-yarder to running back Julius Jones – who also carried five times for 26 yards.
As expected, the coaches gave rookie defensive linemen Nick Reed and Michael Bennett some snaps with the No. 1 defense after they had combined for 4½ sacks in the second halves of the first two games. Reed got a pressure on a third-down incompletion by Thigpen late in the quarter.
The Seahawks tied the score on Hasselbeck’s TD pass to Houshmandzadeh – his third catch on the 48-yard drive for 35 yards. The possession got a spark when Justin Forsett returned a punt 17 yards.
The Chiefs stormed right back, but Succop then hit the crossbar.
Quarter Scoring Summary
- 0:56 – 8-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Houshmandzadeh. PAT by Mare. 7 plays, 48 yards. Seahawks 7, Chiefs 7.
The first 15 minutes featured a little bit of everything, and a lot of Chiefs rookie defensive end Tyson Jackson – the player KC selected third overall in April’s NFL draft, just before the Seahawks took linebacker Aaron Curry at No. 4.
The Seahawks’ No. 1 defense turned up the heat, and knocked Chiefs QB Matt Cassel out of the game on the opening series. Defensive end Cory Redding flushed Cassel and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane pulled Cassel down for a 2-yard sack. Cassel limped off the field and was replaced by Tyler Thigpen.
On the Seahawks’ first series, Jackson deflected a Matt Hasselbeck pass that was intended for wide receiver Deion Branch. Cornerback Brandon Flowers intercepted the pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
On the Seahawks’ next possession, a 31-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson gave Seattle a first down at the Chiefs 33-yard line. But the drive stalled when Jackson beat right tackle Ray Willis to drop Hasselbeck for a sack on third down and Olindo Mare was then wide left on a 51-yard field goal attempt.
Quarter Scoring Summary
- 11:12 – Interception returned by a touchdown by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers. PAT by Succop. Seahawks 0, Chiefs 7
First Quarter Stats
- Time of Possession: Seahawks 6:26; Chiefs; 8:34
- Total Rushing: Seahawks 15; Chiefs 81
- Total Passing: Seahakws 44; Chiefs 4
- Total Net Offense: Seahawks 59; Chiefs 85
Greetings from Arrowhead Stadium, one of the older but still nicer stadiums in the NFL.
Several of the Seahawks players already are on the field for their pre-padded warm-ups for tonight’s preseason game against the Chiefs.
Arrowhead is currently undergoing a $375-million renovation. I haven’t been here since the 2006 regular season, because the Seahawks moved from the AFC West to the NFC West when the league realigned in 2002. But this always has been a favorite venue – the closest to a college-game atmosphere in the NFL. The fans really know how to tailgate here, and they form a sea of red when they do settle into their seats.
Running back Edgerrin James, who was just signed Tuesday and didn’t join the team until Wednesday is not expected to play. But most of the starters are scheduled to play into the third quarter – in what will be their longest stint of the preseason.
Three ruled out
The Seahawks have ruled out only three players for tonight’s game, and they are the same injured players coach Jim Mora listed on Wednesday: cornerback Marcus Trufant (back), center Chris Spencer (thigh) and tackle Walter Jones (knee).
Four Chiefs will not dress: running back Kolby Smith, tight end Jake O’Connell and linebackers Zach Thomas and Derrick Johnson.
Former Seahawks wide receiver Bobby Engram is still No. 84, it’s just that the jersey is red. Engram signed with the Chiefs after the Seahawks signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh in free agency and it became apparent that there wasn’t a spot for Engram in Seattle.
Engram spent several minutes catching up with his old teammates, and one who wasn’t – rookie wide receiver Deon Butler, who broke Engram’s career records at Penn State.
As quarterback Matt Hasselbeck put it this week when asked about Engram, “He’s a good friend and always will be. It’s just the nature of the business that we’re in. You got to ship out and play for the enemy at some point. He was a tremendous Seahawk while he was here.”
Deion Branch also shared a hug and some time with Scott Pioli. Both were with the New England Patriots, before Branch was traded to the Seahawks in 2006 and Pioli became the Chiefs GM this year.
Withrow out, James in uniform
Add offensive lineman Cory Withrow to the list of Seahawks who won’t be in uniform tonight. But just-signed running back Edgerrin James is, despite the thought that he would not play against the Chiefs after not joining the team until Wednesday.
Priceless pre-game moment
Paul Skansi, who now scouts for the Chargers, just asked a member of the Chiefs PR staff for a media guide. Skansi, who played for the Seahawks and the University of Washington, was told the team was out of them.
The PR man then cracked, “That’s what you get for catching that pass in 1990.”
The reference, of course, was to Skani’s last-second catch of a TD pass from Dave Krieg, after the Seahawks’ QB had whirled away from what appeared to be an eighth sack by the late Derrick Thomas.
The Seahawks won, 17-16.
Edgerrin James will not play tonight. Despite coming out in full uniform for pre-game warm-ups, the just-signed running back is now on the sideline in street clothes.