Matt Hasselbeck shines in return (Getty)
It's been obvious by their performance on the field, the Seahawks have missed their on-field general. At Qwest Field today, Matt Hasselbeck returned and, along with a rejuvenated defense, led Seattle to a 41-0 route of Jacksonville in front of a raucous crowd of 67,228.
Hasselbeck took a while to shake the rust off after missing two-and-a-half games, but ended up throwing for 241 yards and four touchdowns, hooking up twice each with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson.
Seattle's defense did its part as well, holding Jacksonville to 199 yards, including 38 on the ground, and causing two turnovers that resulted in 14 points to seal the deal early in the second half.
Hasselbeck was late arriving on the field with his teammates at both the beginning of the game as well as the second half while getting painkilling injections in the locker room, but managed to completed 18 of his 30 attempts and toss four touchdowns for the first time since he did it against Arizona in December of 2007.
While it hardly mattered, the Jaguars were playing without their top playmaker outside as leading wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker was ruled inactive for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Seattle's defense went on the attack, harassing QB David Garrard the entire day, causing two fumbles -- one in the first half that was snatched out of the air by DT Cory Redding and one that was returned 80 yards by DE Nick Reed early in the fourth quarter -- and generally stuffing anything Jacksonville tried to do.
Early on Seattle settled for two Olindo Mare field goals, one from 47 and one from 27 yards, and appeared to have the same issues they saw under Hasselbeck's replacement, Seneca Wallace, with not finishing drives.
However, the Seahawks were able to march 48 yards in four plays as Hasselbeck and Houshmandzadeh victimized star CB Rashean Mathis for a 34 yard touchdown and then came back on their next possession with Hasselbeck hitting Burleson, again in front of Mathis, for a 44 yard touchdown, effectively putting the game out of reach at halftime.
Hasselbeck hit Houshmandzadeh and Burleson on Seattle's first two possessions of the second half and handed the keys to Wallace in the early part of the fourth quarter to rest his sore ribs.
Rookie LB Aaron Curry had probably his best day as a Seahawk so far, posting 10 tackles and a sack while LB Lofa Tatupu appeared to be back near 100% health, posting eight tackles while CB Ken Lucas chipped in with six.
Seattle, now 2-3 and showing signs of life, will prepare for a big divisional game next week against the Arizona Cardinals, 2-2, who held on for a thrilling 28-21 win over the Houston Texans with a last-second goal line stand.