Hasselbeck has tough start in his return
Matt Hasselbeck's first pass in Saturday's exhibition game led to a Seahawks touchdown. Two years ago, that would have been good news for...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Matt Hasselbeck's first pass in Saturday's exhibition game led to a Seahawks touchdown.
Two years ago, that would have been good news for Hasselbeck. On Saturday night, however, he was starting for the Titans in their exhibition game at CenturyLink Field.
Hasselbeck's first pass was intended for Nate Washington, who made a diving attempt, losing control of the ball as Seahawks safety Earl Thomas dove on top of him. Thomas batted the ball, which was picked off by cornerback Brandon Browner and returned 23 yards for a touchdown.
Welcome back, Matt.
"It was kind of a freak thing," he said at halftime. "It reminded me of my first pass the last time I played in this stadium."
That was January 2011 when the Seahawks upset the Saints in a playoff game that began with Hasselbeck's first pass being picked off. He left the field with his son on his shoulders after carrying the offense on his back for a good chunk of that game.
"I truly didn't think that that was the last time I was going to play in that stadium," Hasselbeck said in an interview earlier this week. "Even though I knew it very easily could be, I just didn't feel that in my heart."
His return Saturday put the crowd on its feet, fans standing to applaud as he returned with the Titans one year after Seattle decided not to re-sign him after 10 years as the Seahawks' starter.
"The reception I got from the fans in both the pregame and during the game was humbling," Hasselbeck said. "I didn't think I would get choked up, but I got a little choked up and ended up not really having anything to say."
Hasselbeck was intercepted twice during the three possessions he played, and Thomas — Seattle's Pro Bowl safety — had a hand in both of them. In addition to helping on Browner's scoring play, Thomas provided help over the top on Hasselbeck's lob down the sideline in the first minute of the second quarter, which cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted.
"It just felt great," Thomas said. "Especially for our secondary, we've been working real hard. There's been a lot of talk about how good we are, whether we're getting overconfident, but we did good tonight."
A long, early march
Matt Flynn started Saturday's game at quarterback for the Seahawks after working all week with the first-unit offense. He completed his first six passes of the game during a 15-play field-goal drive that gave Seattle the 10-0 lead it held after one quarter.
Four of Flynn's six completions on that first scoring drive were to running backs, though.
"It was kind of more what was available," Flynn said.
• Terrell Owens did not dress for Saturday's game. The receiver was signed Monday, and coach Pete Carroll said it was too soon to play him in a game.
• Tight end Zach Miller suffered a concussion in the first quarter on the second of his two receptions in the period. He did not return.
• Defensive tackle Alan Branch did not play.
• Leon Washington started at running back for the Seahawks in place of Marshawn Lynch.
• LB Barrett Ruud was kept out after missing Friday's practice because of a sore knee. His situation is worth monitoring because health derailed his season last year in Tennessee, and he's coming back from offseason surgeries on his shoulder and groin.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com.