This is an unedited copy of the sidebar I wrote that will appear in tomorrow's News Tribune
By Frank Hughes
The News Tribune
PITTSBURGH – On a day when the Seattle Seahawks' offense was as productive as a government bureaucrat, it could have used any points that it could get.
Indeed, the 21-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field, Seattle's first shutout in seven years, seemingly turned on a controversial second-quarter series in which the Seahawks came way with zero points in part because of faulty decision-making.
Who knows now what affect scoring any points would have had on a game in which the Steelers completely dominated the second half. But it certainly didn't help Seattle's fragile psyche when its best chance to score points resulted in a costly turnover.
After Pittsburgh scored the game's first touchdown to take a 7-0 lead, Seattle got back the ball with 1:52 left in the game, plenty of time to get into field goal range.
Hasselbeck opened the drive with two short passes to Shaun Alexander, which gained a total of six yards. Sixty-five seconds ticked off the clock and no timeouts were called.
"We lost a few seconds there, there's no question about it," Holmgren said. "We didn't do a great job there of using our timeouts."
On third-and4 from their own 23, Hasselbeck then connected with Ben Obomanu for a 30-yard reception. He went out of bounds, stopping the clock.
On the next play, from Pittsburgh's 47, Hasselbeck was sacked for a four-yard loss. Still no timeout as the clock continued to tick away.
"There came a point there where it could go either way," Hasselbeck said. "Are you real aggressive? Do you try to stop the clock or do you try to play it safe and not give them the ball back (in case you stall)?"
On second and 14 from their own 49, with 40 seconds left, Hasselbeck hit Marcus Pollard over the middle for 22 yards, and the Seahawks got another 15 yards when safety Anthony Smith was penalized for roughing the passer. The penalty stopped the clock, but the Seahawks had only 17 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing play, Hasselbeck passed to Obomanu in the right corner of the end zone but overthrew him. The play took 10 seconds, leaving the Seahawks in the predicament of going for a touchdown or kicking a field goal. They opted for the touchdown.
"I thought we had time for that play," Holmgren said. "I think we had time for a play if we dropped back and threw it. We thought about it and I said, 'We'll kick the field goal if we don't get it.'"
The Seahawks ran a shorter version of the previous play, with Obomanu skirting along the goal line instead of the back corner. Hasselbeck's throw was intercepted by Ike Taylor as the half expired, preventing the Seahawks from even thinking about a field goal, and laying the foundation for the second-half rout.
"At the very least, we should have come out of there with three points," Hasselbeck said. "We'll have to look at. If we need to do something different there, I will."