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Originally published Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Hawks Notebook | Branch doesn't last long

Deion Branch is a former Super Bowl MVP who was brought to Seattle in large part because of his big-game experience. Branch cost the Seahawks...

Seattle Times staff reporter

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Deion Branch is a former Super Bowl MVP who was brought to Seattle in large part because of his big-game experience.

Branch cost the Seahawks a first-round pick when Seattle traded for him last season, and was supposed to be a big part of Seattle's postseason run. Only he wasn't around to help for all but about 2 ½ minutes of Saturday's 42-20 playoff loss to the Packers.

Branch, already hobbled by a strained right calf that forced him out of last week's wild-card game, left in the first quarter Saturday with a left knee injury that appears serious, coach Mike Holmgren indicated after the game. Branch had to be carted off the field.

"I was tickled to have him back, and we put in a fair amount of stuff for him," Holmgren said. "The way Green Bay was playing, Deion certainly would have helped our offensive team, but who knows?"

Branch is scheduled for an MRI. He played in both playoff games last season and had four catches for 48 yards in each, but didn't produce a statistic this postseason. Ben Obomanu came on for Branch and caught four passes for 63 yards.

The Seahawks' other big injury of the day was special-teams player Josh Scobey's broken fibula, according to Holmgren, which is going to require major surgery. Scobey was hurt on the opening kickoff.

No toss drama

The most anticipated coin toss of the playoffs came and went without incident.

All week, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was reminded about his overtime coin-toss comment of, "We want the ball, and we're going to score!" from a playoff game at Lambeau Field in 2004.

On Saturday, Hasselbeck came out with the other Seahawks' captains for the toss, and special-teams captain Niko Koutouvides called it in the air with nothing else from Hasselbeck heard over the referee's microphone.

Pollard's polar nightmare

Saturday was not kind to Seahawks tight end Marcus Pollard, who let two passes go through his hands — one was a sure touchdown — and fumbled on the first play of the second quarter after a catch.

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It was Pollard's only catch, and the mistake led to a Packers TD. The worst part for Pollard is that he might have played his last game as a Seahawk, as he is on a one-year contract.

Pollard said he felt "like crap" at his locker after the game.

"The position had a tough day today," Holmgren said. "It happens. They're all try-hard guys. They're really good guys. ... But it's probably a position that we have to continue to search for and develop."

Another bad spot

The Seahawks were victimized by a reviewed spot for the second time this season. The first was in overtime at Cleveland in the regular season, and the second was Saturday.

The Seahawks stopped the Packers inches short on third down on a first-quarter play, but the Packers challenged the spot and it was overturned, giving Green Bay a first down on their way to a TD.

"That was a big play in the game," Holmgren said. "They may have gone for it because it was like four inches or something like that. The only thing I said [to officials] is if you measure it and you're short by three inches, and then you review it and place the ball four inches, that's being pretty precise looking on one of those little monitors in there. But head [referee] Mike Carey said he had a good look at it in there."

Hasselbeck wasn't thrilled either, saying, "It was kind of humorous to me how not-scientific that was."

Snow burn

The Seahawks said the snow had an effect on them, but that it was not an excuse for their poor play.

"If it had any effect at all, it negated a little bit of our speed on defense," Holmgren said. "We have to play the game that way. We're a little undersized."

Linebacker Julian Peterson said it slowed the defenders down, and credited the Packers.

"They did a good job of playing to that," he said.

Notes

• Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle wagered Washington Cougar Gold cheese against Wisconsin cheese and Lake Michigan salmon amid a raucous gathering at Brett Favre's restaurant before the game. Doyle said he'd also throw in some bratwursts. Gregoire's best shot was calling the Wisconsin fish "landlocked wannabe salmon," while Doyle fired back with "We're going to get the ball, and we're going to win!"

• The Packers recognized Gary Wright, the Seahawks' vice president of administration who is retiring after this season, with an announcement in the press box to media members thanking Wright for his 32 years of service. Wright received an ovation.

Seahawks season

in review

PRESEASON
Aug. 12 at San Diego W, 24-16
Aug. 18 at Green Bay L, 48-13
Aug. 25 Minnesota W, 30-13
Aug. 30 Oakland W, 19-14
REGULAR SEASON
Sept. 9 Tampa Bay W, 20-6
Sept. 16 at Arizona L, 23-20
Sept. 23 Cincinnati W, 24-21
Sept. 30 at San Francisco W, 23-3
Oct. 7 at Pittsburgh L, 21-0
Oct. 14 New Orleans L, 28-17
Oct. 21 St. Louis W, 33-6
Oct. 28 Bye week
Nov. 4 at Cleveland L, 33-30
Nov. 12 San Francisco W, 24-0
Nov. 18 Chicago W, 30-23
Nov. 25 at St. Louis W, 24-19
Dec. 2 at Philadelphia W, 28-24
Dec. 9 Arizona W, 42-21
Dec. 16 at Carolina L, 13-10
Dec. 23 Baltimore W, 27-6
Dec. 30 at Atlanta L, 44-41
POSTSEASON
Jan. 5 Washington W, 35-14
Jan. 12 at Green Bay L, 42-20

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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