The Seahawks are unbeaten in the preseason, but they’re also a work in progress.
It gave the Seahawks a 14-10 lead. It also gave a glimpse of what can be for this team when its actually starts playing games that count.
“It was crazy,” Houshmandzadeh said. “Because we were practicing at the University of Washington (on Tuesday night), we probably ran that play three or four times and we didn’t complete any of them.”
Four nights later, however, “We completed the one that mattered,” he said.
It was a simple fade route into the corner of the south end zone – “Just like backyard football,” is the way Hasselbeck put it.
Hasselbeck’s pitch and Houshmandzadeh’s catch capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive in which Hasselbeck was 4 of 4 on third downs for 67 yards – and also completed a fourth-down pass.
No throw was bigger, or better, than the TD toss to Houshmandzadeh. Because of what it meant on this evening, and what he could mean down the regular-season road.
“That’s a good sign that Matt and I are kind of getting on the same page,” said Houshmandzadeh, who signed with the Seahawks in March after playing his first eight NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“It’s early. This is my second game playing with Matt. Obviously we practice a lot. But game tempo and practice speed, there’s a difference just because of the intensity and the adrenalin. We have a little bit to go before we really get there. But so far, so good.”
Actually, better than good, as the Seahawks ran their preseason record to 2-0 before a crowd of 67,052 in their home opener.
Hasselbeck completed 16 of 23 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in fashioning a 120.0 passer rating. The first TD pass – a 34-yarder to rookie wide receiver
The throw was precise. The over-the-shoulder catch came in the end zone against tight pressure from Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman.
“A great throw by Matt,” coach Jim Mora said. “And it shows that if Deon can get a step on somebody, he’s a dangerous player.”
Now, stop and ponder Hasselbeck’s two TD passes for a moment. A year ago, Houshmandzadeh was catching passes in the shadow of the receiver former known as Chad Johnson and Butler was putting the finishing touches on his record-setting career at Penn State.
Saturday night, they combined to catch seven balls – five for 41 yards for Houshmandzadeh, two for 47 yards for Butler.
After the heroics of Hasselbeck and his new receivers in the first half, the Seahawks turned things over to their special teams and No. 2 defense while ripping off 13 quick points in the third quarter.
The defense set up a 22-yard field goal by
The Seahawks got the ball back quickly, and again with optimum field position, as the defense forced a three-and-out and rookie defensive end
Taking over at the Broncos’ 29, backup QB
The next time the Broncos touched the ball, it lasted only seconds as safety
“Any time your special teams can get the offense back on the field, and with good field position, that’s always huge,” Wallace said. “Then our defense was hitting hard, too, so it really set the tone.”
One of the leading tone-setters was Reed. Again. After collecting a sack and intercepting a pass against the Chargers in San Diego last week, the rookie defensive end from Oregon had the big play on the punt and also added another sack and a half.
“He shows up, doesn’t he?” Mora said with a smile. “He does some special things.”
Not everything the Seahawks did was special, however.
The No. 1 defense allowed Orton too much time to throw on the Broncos’ two scoring drive in the first half.
“We just have to be more focused. We just have to play with more enthusiasm. We have to tackle better,” Mora said. “We have to be more on point. We have to be more disciplined. And we will be.”
The running game averaged 3.1 yards on 23 carries, and Wallace was the leading rusher with 20 yards.
“We have some new runners, new blockers, new scheme,” Mora said. “But I think it’s something that will come.”
Just a couple more indications that, despite their unbeaten record, the Seahawks are a work in progress.