Short game trips up Hasselbeck

Inches he didn't get negate brilliant scoring stretch

NFL Week 12

November 24, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Matt Hasselbeck's comments after yesterday's 44-41 overtime loss to the Ravens began with I don't knows, I can't recalls and I guess sos.

But who could blame the Seattle Seahawks quarterback for his purple haze? In one day, he had endured a miserable beginning to dominate one of the NFL's best defenses, only to lose a game of inches.

"The game was so long," said Hasselbeck, a fifth-year veteran from Boston College whose team fell to 1-4 in road games this year. "With everything that went on, it's hard to remember it all."

Hasselbeck was 23-for-41 for 333 yards, with his five touchdown passes -- the most ever allowed by the Ravens-- tying a single-game franchise record.

But those numbers don't tell the story as much as a period of 19:16 and six straight scoring possessions. In that span, Hasselbeck produced 38 points on a dizzying 12-for-18 for 239 yards for a commanding 41-24 lead that had Ravens fans heading for the exits with 14:16 to play.

But the memory that lingers longest with Hasselbeck is his failure to convert on a fourth-and-inches keeper with 44 seconds left and his team up by three. That allowed the Ravens' Matt Stover to send the game into overtime with a field goal.

"I don't care [about the number of touchdown passes]," Hasselbeck said. "I'd rather win the game."

Hasselbeck had overcome a second-quarter fumble caused by a sack by Tyrell Suggs, who returned the ball to the Seahawks' 3-yard line and set up Stover's first field goal for a 3-3 tie. In his first six series, Hasselbeck overthrew receivers or saw balls get dropped by them.

"[The Ravens] were disguising stuff, bluffing on both sides of the ball. I had no idea what they were doing," said Hasselbeck, who credited quarterback coach Jim Zorn and backup Trent Dilfer for "keeping my head in the game."

Hasselbeck's run started 23 seconds before halftime with his 2-yard scoring pass to Darrell Jackson (seven receptions, 146 yards, two touchdowns), ending a 13-play, 80-yard drive in which he was 5-for-10 for 56 yards.

Just 15 seconds later, Hasselbeck took advantage of teammate Ken Lucas' fumble recovery. His 10-yard toss found Bobby Engram for a 17-3 halftime lead. Hasselbeck next covered 56 yards in three plays and 89 seconds, ending with passes of 19 and 38 yards to Jackson and Koren Robinson -- the latter for a 24-10 lead.

"Trent was like, `OK, you're up, but keep taking your shots,' " said Hasselbeck, who had gone 8-for-13 with three scoring passes in drives taking 4:48. "I can't tell you what he means to me as a quarterback."

The Ravens had pulled within 10 when Hasselbeck found Jackson streaking down the sideline for an 80-yard score and 34-17 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Early in the fourth, Hasselbeck ended an eight-play, 54-yard drive by threading a 5-yarder to Engram between Ed Reed and Ray Lewis for the 41-24 lead.

"We wanted to make a statement, and I thought this was it. I really did. I thought we came out and played the best defense in the league," Hasselbeck said. "As well as we've played this year, we hadn't played this well. ... But something happened. They got back in the game and we let it get away, so obviously, this isn't [the statement game.]"

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