Monday, December 13, 2010
Hasselbeck turns ball over five times as 49ers crush Seahawks 40-21
The Seattle Seahawks(6-7) were humilated by the San Francisco 49ers(5-8) 40-21 in a game which saw the 49ers at one point lead 40-7. The Seahawks failed to take advantage of a great opportunity to seize the division lead. Had the Seahawks defeated the 49ers that would have eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention. Instead the 49ers are now just a game back of the division race despite losing Frank Gore for the season. This was a complete 180 degree turn from the season opener which saw the Seahawks win 31-6. Matt Hasselbeck had outplayed Alex Smith that day in the win in fact here is what I said in my blog post after the Seahawks win.
"Matt Hasselbeck when given time is still the best quarterback in the division. Alex Smith is not ready to take that from him. In fact that was the difference in the game. Both teams stopped the run and it was up to which quarterback could lead his team down the field. Hasselbeck in the redzone threw for two touchdowns and ran for one. Alex Smith threw one interception that led to a touchdown, another that was ran back for a touchdown and overthrew a fullback who was wide open near the goal line."
Today that simply wasn't the case as Alex Smith making his first start in five games had out played Matt Hasselbeck. Alex Smith started the game off being booed by his home fans and by the end of the game it was Seahawks fans who were left wondering what to do with their quarterback.
The 49ers got on the board first when Smith hit the very talented tight end Vernon Davis who broke coverage for a 42 touchdown catch to give the 49ers a quick 7-0 lead. After the Seahawks tied the score up when Matt Hasselbeck hit Ruvell Martin for an 11 yard touchdown reception which was Martin's first career touchdown. San Francisco would add a field goal to give them a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. That is when Hasselbeck and Seahawks self destructed.
The Seahawks were at midfield when Hasselbeck hit fullback Michael Robinson with a pass but the ball bounced off Robinson for an interception. The 49ers would settle for a field goal to take a 13-7 lead. On the next possession in a key play Hasselbeck was scrambling and had the first down but slid two yards short which set up a third and two. Hasselbeck rolling to his right was stripped sack of the ball giving the 49ers the ball in Seahawks territory. Smith would hit Josh Morgan for a 15 yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 20-7 lead. The game was slipping away from the Seahawks.
The Seahawks had one final chance in the first half. The Seahawks were on the 49ers 36 yard line and on fourth and two decided to call a fade pattern. The fade pattern like all year long was incomplete even though on the other side of the ball Brandon Stockley appeared open. Smith then hit Brian Westbrook for a 62 yard touchdown where he looked like Westbrook of 2005 not 2010 to give the 49ers a 27-7 lead. Then Hasselbeck threw another interception which lead to a 49ers field to give the 49ers a 30-7 lead at halftime. The 49ers had scored 20 points in the second quarter to the Seahawks zero.
The Seahawks began the second half with more disaster. Hasselbeck was picked off by former Washington Huskies safety Dashon Goldson who ran back in the interception 39 yards to give the 49ers a 37-7 lead. The Seahawks would drive down the field in the redzone only to have Hasselbeck throw his fourth interception of the game. The 49ers would drive down the field and take a commanding 40-7 lead.
The Seahawks would get two cheap scores although one score was costly. First Leon Washington would run the kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown. Washington is now second all-time in NFL history for kickoff return touchdowns. The Seahawks would add another score when Hasselbeck hit Deon Butler for a two yard touchdown unfortunately Butler broke his leg on the play. When it was all said and done the Seahawks lost 40-21.
The quarterback play decided the story just like in the season opener. Only Alex Smith had his career best quarterback rating. Alex Smith who started the game off being booed by his home fans ended the game with cheers. He finished 17 of 27 passing for 255 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 130.9. Matt Hasselbeck finished completing 27 of 42 passes for 285 yards with two touchdowns but had four costly interceptions and one fumble. The Seahawks once again had no running game as Marshawn Lynch ran for 29 yards on 10 carries. Lynch did have seven receptions for 37 yards though.
All in all the Seahawks are lucky to be in the NFC West. The Seahawks despite having a losing record after 13 games are still tied for first place. Pete Carroll is known for being positive and hopefully he can spin this blowout loss into something positive. The Seahawks have now lost five of seven and finish the season playing three tough teams. The Seahawks need to find a way to help Hasselbeck out or else their season will end on January 2nd when they host the Rams.
- The Seahawks have a tough decision to make at quarterback in the offseason. Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent in the offseason. He has a QB rating of 75.2 and has thrown 12 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. He has two touchdowns to six interceptions the last two weeks. Charlie Whitehurst I think it's safe to say isn't the guy and Hasselbecks numbers aren't very good. Hasselbeck though when he had a healthy Mike Williams was pretty productive. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is without a running game which the Seahawks haven't had since 2005 the year they reached the Super Bowl makes it extremely tough on the quarterback week in and week out.
- Leon Washington has been a great addition to the Seahawks. He ran back his third kickoff return of the season. I wish Washington would get more carries or even more so have more receptions. He is good out of the backfield and instead of throwing fourth and two passes to Michael Robinson throw passes to Washington instead. Washington gives the Seahawks an edge teams have to account for which could maybe steal them a game.
- Chris Clemons added another sack. Clemons has been another good acquisition and should make the pro bowl. Clemons now has 9.5 sacks on the season and he is the only defensive lineman who puts any pressure on the quarterback.
- Turnovers was the story. The Seahawks despite having a 2:1 ratio in first downs with 20 first downs to the 49ers 10 that didn't matter. The Seahawks turned the ball over five times while the 49ers had zero turnovers. Hasselbeck up until the last two weeks had done a great job of hanging onto the ball but he has had seven turnovers the last two weeks. My fear is him falling apart like he did last year in the final four games of the year. In the final four games Hasselbeck threw four touchdowns to 10 interceptions as the team dropped all four games.
At the end of the day the sooner the Seahawks forget about this game the better. Carroll needs to regroup his team this week as they take on the NFC's best team in the Atlanta Falcons at home. Hasselbeck who just lost Butler desperately needs Mike Williams to return. With no running game, offensive line or healthy receivers that really makes it tough on Hasselbeck. The Seahawks defense needs to get back to stopping the run on a consistent basis so they can rush the quarterback on the third and long. The Seahawks are still tied for the division lead with three games left in the season. Someone has to win this division so might as well be the Seahawks.