With the 30-28 win over the St. Louis Rams, Hasselbeck has now engineered 13 fourth-quarter comebacks that have resulted in wins and he said it’s all about focus in the final two minutes.
“You have to have an amazing amount of focus, and also you have to be prepared,” Hasselbeck told the assembled media on Monday. “I credit our coaching staff, specifically Jim Zorn, for making me feel like I was prepared, knowing what they like to do in those situations.
“The other thing is I give Mike (Holmgren) a lot of credit. He came up to me. I think in two minute situations this year we’ve used maybe three different personnel groupings, and he came up and asked me which one I felt the best about, and I told him and he said ‘me too.’ That was good to know that we were on the same page that way, and we put our three- wides package with two running backs out there, and it was the right choice. It worked out well.”
He also said a big key was forgetting about their blowout loss to the Chicago Bears on the road two weeks earlier.
“To me, honestly, it was already erased,” Hasselbeck said. “In this game, I feel like win or lose you’ve got to let it go. We’re coming off a huge emotional win this week against the Rams, we have to let that go. We have a new team coming to town, the Minnesota Vikings, they don’t care about the Rams game. They’re going to come in ready to play, and we have to let it go, just like we had to let the Bears game go.
“Sometimes it’s easier said than done. I think we’ve learned here that we’ve let some tough losses linger and it’s hurt us. I think some of us have learned from there, and we try to press the clear button, reset it, and go to work the next week against a new team.”
On the field helping Hasselbeck direct the comeback were some new faces and old ones stepping in for regulars due to injuries.
“Jerramy Stevens we all thought he was going to play, he didn’t play, and Itula (Mili) played well,” Hasselbeck said. “Bobby Engram, that’s a huge loss, and it didn’t really get talked about, but it gave Deion Branch a chance to step up and get some more throws. Darrell Jackson had a great game again, like he always does. He stepped up and really played well.
“It’s similar to what we did last year against those guys when Bobby and Darrell both went down, and DJ Hackett had a nice game. That’s important for our team to do that from time-to-time. It’s a long season, guys are going to get hurt, someone has to step up and play that kind of football.”
And as mentioned above, Branch began to assert his presence on the Seahawks offense even though their communication wasn’t always exactly what they planned.
“We probably had the most miscommunication that we’ve had yesterday, but we also made some big plays together,” Hasselbeck admitted. “I think if anything he had more opportunities. There were probably three times where he and I weren’t thinking the same thing. Luckily we had enough opportunities to go back to him. I’d say the biggest thing that he did Sunday is that he made the big play.
“We had one-on-one situations, and we either got pass interference or a big catch down the field. He also made some nice tough catches, running slants knowing he’s going to get hit. Catching the ball, number one, getting hit, number two, and then leaning forward for that extra one or two yards, which turned out to be big in our game. The stuff we’re missing on is the stuff you don’t see high school kids missing on. We have to be together a little bit more, and make sure we’re on the same page, and continue to improve.”
Going back to last season’s late-game wins over Dallas, the New York Giants and these same Rams, Hasselbeck said this team is prepared for wins like they got Sunday and since they’ve experienced it before it makes it that much easier.
“I don’t think it’s all luck,” Hasselbeck said. “We had a five yard penalty in that situation. That might’ve killed some teams. Our kicker is good enough to make it from 54, maybe even longer after the way he kicked that one. It hurt us, and made it harder, but I think we are still good enough to overcome some of that stuff. Hopefully we don’t make it that hard on ourselves.
“The game could’ve been over the first time we had the ball down there before we fumbled. We have to learn from those things, and improve, and try not to make those mistakes next time.”
Speaking of that five-yard penalty, Hasselbeck admitted he was happy the head referee Ed Hochuli was the one calling the shots.
“I thought he did a great job, especially in a hostile environment like that, with their crowd, on their sideline, half their team was on the field, they thought the game was over,” Hasselbeck said. “He did a great job of sticking to his guns and knowing the rule and explaining it well. He never explained it to us. He didn’t have to. We didn’t need an explanation. We wanted a chance to kick.”
Hasselbeck and the Seahawks will have Tuesday off before returning to practice to prepare for the Minnesota Vikings who come to town after their bye week.