Tarvaris Jackson pulls a "Bad Hasselbeck"
Posted by Jerry Brewer
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was, easily, the worst of Tarvaris Jackson's seven games with the Seahawks.
The quarterback completed 17 of 30 passes (56.7 percent) for 221 yards in a 23-13 loss to Dallas on Sunday, which isn't horrible. But he threw three interceptions in the second half and finished with a season-worst 40.4 quarterback rating.
By comparison, Tony Romo threw for 279 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, good for a 112.2 quarterback rating. No wonder the Cowboys pulled away and won comfortably.
"I feel very sick about how I played today," Jackson said.
That's the 2011 Seahawks for you. After struggling in the run game all season, they had a breakthrough rushing performance against the Cowboys, the NFL's No. 4 run defense entering this game, and gained 162 rushing yards. Marshawn Lynch had 135 of those yards. It was his finest regular-season performance since the Seahawks traded for him last season. But for all the strides they made in the run game, Jackson endured his most inefficient game as the team's starting quarterback.
If it's not the run game, it's the quarterback holding the Seahawks back. If it's not the quarterback, it's something else. It's been that kind of season.
Jackson turned into a turnover machine after Dallas tight end Jason Witten's 33-yard touchdown catch gave the Cowboys a 13-6 lead in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Seahawks drove to within field-goal range, but Anthony Spencer blocked Steven Hauschka's 41-yard attempt. On the next Seahawks drive, late in the third quarter, Jackson tried to throw a ball away. He wanted to throw it near tight end Anthony McCoy's feet, but the pass was deflected, and Dallas defensive end Jason Hatcher intercepted it and ran to the Seattle 40-yard line. That turnover led to the Cowboys' second touchdown of the game, a 6-yard Romo pass to Laurent Robinson that gave Dallas a 20-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Then, on his next pass attempt, Jackson tried to do too much and made a foolish play. He rolled to his right and threw off one leg, trying to hit Sidney Rice. Cornerback Terence Newman picked off the pass easily. Dallas turned that turnover into a field goal, and the game was effectively over as the Cowboys lead 23-6 with 11:27 remaining.
"Horrible throw," Jackson said.
Jackson threw his third interception with 28 seconds remaining on a desperate heave with the game out of reach.
The Newman interception was reminiscent of the mistakes that former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would make sometimes when the Seahawks were down and struggling, and he felt he needed to spark the offense. Remember Bad Hasselbeck? That's what Jackson became. In the second half, Jackson pulled a Hasselbeck by trying to do too much. The Seahawks finished the game with 381 offensive yards. They moved the ball well for most of the game, so opportunities to score would've been available if they had remained patient and executed. For the first time in Seattle, Jackson looked harried and went off script. And if Hasslebeck struggled when freelancing, then you know that Jackson has no business testing his limits.
Afterward, Jackson gave a blunt assessment of what the 2-6 Seahawks need to do to improve.
"We've got to score points and stop killing ourselves," he said.
As always, that starts with the quarterback. Jackson must be more efficient.
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