SAN FRANCISCO – This was Matt Hasselbeck at his worst.
The stats – 27-of-42 passing for 285 yards, four interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and a fumble – only scratch the surface.
With his team down early, Hasselbeck admittedly tried to force the issue, with dubious results.
It’s only the fourth time in Hasselbeck’s career that he’s thrown four picks in one game.
Hasselbeck had a built-in excuse with two starting receivers out with injuries, with Mike Williams (ankle) and Ben Obomanu (hand) watching from the sidelines, but he didn’t bite.
Instead, Hasselbeck tried to explain why he forced throws and did not take what the defense was giving him with his team down early.
“I know better,” he said. “It’s just I think the frustration. You know the pick right before the half was inexcusable. It was terrible. It was awful. It was just a straight frustration, and I didn’t commit to the throw. It was just terrible.
“That’s the one that disappoints me the most. But the only thing I know to do is just to learn from it, and not let it happen again.”
This game was much different from when the two teams met in the first game of the year at Qwest Field, when Hasselbeck finished an efficient 18 for 23 for 170 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in a 31-6 win for Seattle.
Hasselbeck said that San Francisco played him differently this time around.
Instead of being aggressive and jumping routes, the 49ers’ defensive backs sat back in coverage and played more of a soft shell, forcing Hasselbeck to throw into some tight windows.
“Because of the score I think they didn’t have to be as aggressive, and they just played very, very soft, doubled one guy on the left and one guy on the right pretty much most of the day on third down,” he said. “They were opportunistic making turnovers, and stopped us when we tried to run the ball, and stopped us in some critical situations.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that even though his quarterback played poorly, the subject of replacing him at the end of the game was never broached.
“I didn’t get Charlie (Whitehurst) warmed up,” Carroll said. “It was my fault for not getting him warmed up to get a couple series so he can play some. Matt was seeing things well. He knew what was going on. He was clear about the mistakes that were made.”
Hasselbeck said if Carroll had asked, he would have preferred to stay in the game and worked through the issue with his teammates.
“No,” Hasselbeck said. “And if he did, I would probably say no. But again he’s the coach. ... I think you grow as a team, or you grow with your teammates during good times, and definitely in bad times. And you don’t want to get hurt or make things worse. And there’s the potential for me to be out there with five or six interceptions – you never know when you’re down. But I can’t worry about that. I’ve just got to keep chipping away.”
Hasselbeck said part of the process of putting the game behind him starts with watching game film on the flight back to Seattle, which is new for the Seahawks this season.
“Once you watch the film and get critiqued and get graded it’s a lot easier to let it go,” Hasselbeck said.