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Monday, February 6, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Super Bowl XL

Seahawks miss the points

Seattle Times staff reporter

DETROIT — Someday down the line, Matt Hasselbeck said, the Seahawks will look back with pride at what they accomplished.

"You can't totally discount what this team has done this year," the quarterback said.

But on Sunday evening, in the immediate aftermath of their 21-10 Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hasselbeck was grappling to come to terms with an outcome that clearly was already eating away at him.

"I felt we were kind of having our way offensively with what we wanted to do early on, and it was 3-0," he said. "Then they had that broken play [a 37-yard Ben Roethlisberger completion to Hines Ward that moved the ball to the Seattle 3], and it became 7-3.

"The next thing you know, it's the long run [75 yards by Willie Parker] and it's 14-3. ... Where did we lose control of this game?"

That is the precise question with which Hasselbeck, and the Seahawks, will be wrestling all offseason, and probably all their lives.

"There were a lot of points we left out on the field, no question about that," Hasselbeck said. "We've done a great job this year scoring in the red zone. But we had a touchdown taken away from us [on a pass to Darrell Jackson that was nullified by a penalty], we had a ball at the 1-yard line and they called a penalty on us. That was unfortunate."

Hasselbeck had the same feeling about the latter play — the holding call on Sean Locklear early in the fourth quarter that nullified an 18-yard completion to Jerramy Stevens to the 1 — as many teammates.

"I thought it was a free play," Hasselbeck said. "I thought they were offsides. That wasn't the case. It was disappointing, very disappointing. It was a four-point game at that point; we really had a chance."

Hasselbeck said that penalty was "absolutely the turning point in the game."

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Three plays later, his pass to Jackson was intercepted by Ike Taylor, and shortly thereafter the Steelers iced the game on Antwaan Randle El's 43-yard pass to Ward.

"It got to the point where I was taking chances," Hasselbeck said of the interception. "That was a chance I shouldn't have taken. I kind of got fooled by the move that my guy made, and it was a poor decision."

Asked about Seattle's "mental mistakes," Hasselbeck audibled.

"I'm not sure they were mental mistakes," he countered. "Just mistakes. I guess it wasn't our day that way. You can't make the mistakes we made and expect to win a game like this."

Hasselbeck felt that the Seahawks, for the most part, did a good job handling the vaunted Pittsburgh blitz.

"We had a hat for a hat, did a good job that way," he said. "But just picking up the blitz, that's not the end of the deal. You still have to throw and catch and run.

"I give them credit — they mixed it up and had a few things we've never seen. Sometimes we got 'em, sometimes we didn't. The bottom line, we just stalled out in the red zone. We were moving the ball fine, had rhythm, time of possession, first downs; we just didn't score touchdowns."

Hasselbeck had no explanation for that devastating turn of events.

"That was bizarre," he admitted. "It wasn't us. I don't know what the deal was."

Added Hasselbeck, "They had a good plan, and they executed it well. We just didn't execute to the best of our abilities today, and therefore, they're the Super Bowl champs and we're not."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com

Playoff passing
How Matt Hasselbeck fared during the 2006 postseason:
Playoff game PC PA Yds TD Int
Seattle 20, Washington 10 16 26 215 1 0
Seattle 34, Carolina 14 20 28 219 2 0
Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10 26 49 273 1 1

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