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Originally published Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 6:41 PM

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Danny O'Neil

Hurry-up approach working well for Seahawks

The Seahawks' offense has shifted into gear when Matt Hasselbeck has stepped on the accelerator and ditched the huddle.

Seattle Times NFL reporter

Sunday

Arizona @ Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13

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Hurry up now, the Seahawks aren't gonna wait.

They've got too much ground to make up this season, a long way to go and a short time to get there. So in the second quarter of Sunday's game, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck stepped out from under center and stood on the accelerator to the offense as Seattle stopped huddling for about one-third of its plays that period.

Hurry up now, because that's when Seattle's offense has been at its best this season.

When Seattle stopped huddling against Jacksonville, the ball started moving. It was like a pair of jumper cables were clipped to the offense, sparking a flurry of 17 points in the span of eight minutes. A game that began as a battle of attrition between punters edged toward a blowout.

Just one more example of the Seahawks getting ahead by pushing the pace.

It started in August. In the second exhibition game, Seattle drove 80 yards in under three minutes and scored a touchdown against Denver with 14 seconds left before halftime. The Seahawks' first-unit offense scored a touchdown in the final minute of the first half again the next week at Kansas City.

Seattle's game in San Francisco in Week 2 was perhaps the most dramatic example. The Seahawks' first five possessions resulted in a combined total of 72 yards, four first downs and three points.

Seattle got the ball back on its 30 with 2:57 left. Cue the hurry-up and the success. The Seahawks drove 70 yards and scored their first touchdown of the game, a fact overshadowed by Hasselbeck spending the second half in Stanford's hospital.

So why did Seattle's offense really start moving once it picked up the pace?

"Matt feels comfortable operating in a hurry-up type of pace," receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said in the locker room after that loss to the 49ers. "Because for the most part, from the preseason until today, every time we were in a hurry-up type of mode, we went and scored."

Seattle's practice regimen could have something to do with it, too. The Seahawks' training-camp preparation for various situations was downright exhaustive.

"We practice it a lot," Houshmandzadeh said. "That could be one of the reasons why. But Matt just does well at that."

It plays to Hasselbeck's strength: His decision-making is computer quick. That was evident in the second quarter Sunday against Jacksonville when the Seahawks stepped up the pace both on the field and the scoreboard.

And when Seattle's offense was at its best in 2005, the Seahawks were playing at a fast tempo. They huddled but often snapped the ball with 10, even 15 seconds left on the play clock. It was up to the defense to keep up.

This wasn't quite the Indianapolis Colts' offense, which regularly eschews the huddle. The Seahawks were simply judicious about when they got together. They ran 23 plays from scrimmage in the period, not including the one punt. They didn't huddle before six of those.

The result was a 17-point hailstorm in the span of eight minutes.

Hurry up now, it's the way Seattle began to catch up with the rest of the division.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

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About Danny O'Neil

Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog.
doneil@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2364

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