The Seattle Seahawks only have one Super Bowl appearance in their history, and the quarterback who led them there was Matt Hasselbeck. Today though, Hasselbeck is a member of the Tennessee Titans, but was welcomed back with a long and loud cheer by Seahawks fans when he stepped on the field Saturday to take on his former team in the first preseason game for both teams.
Those cheers of support immediately turned to cheers of success for the Seahawks. On Hasselbecks first play, his throw to wide receiver Nate Washington was dropped, but as Washington fell down, the ball stayed on his body. It was picked up by corner Brandon Browner, who took it back to the house to put Seattle up 7-0 after only 9 seconds had ticked off the clock.
As the first quarter went on, it was Seattle’s offenses turn. Led by newly signed QB Matt Flynn, fans were anxious to see what the announced starter could do. But Seattle started by running the ball, both to Leon Washington and rookie Robert Turbin. Washington started, with three straight big runs. Turbin then came in and ran all over this Titans defense that was struggling to take him down. Flynn started to get some passes in as well, and after a very long drive, Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka hit a 41 yard field goal. Seattle was up 10-0.
Flynn was 6/6 for 36-yards on his first and only drive of the first quarter.
Hasselbeck came back onto the field for the start of the second, and hit his first three passes, all for first downs. On his fourth throw, he made a crucial mistake lobbing the ball up to a double covered receiver. 2nd year pro Richard Sherman out of Stanford made the pick and stepped out on the Titans 5 yard line.
Matt Flynn was off to another hot start, hitting TE Zach Miller with a 9 yard pass, then a 14 yard pass to Miller again. Next play though, Flynn made a very poor pass that was picked by Titans Colin McCarthy.
Hasselbecks day was done, and Jake Locker came in. Locker was a star at University of Washington, and went to Ferndale High School in northern Washington State. Seahawks fans had another QB to welcome back, and they gave him another huge standing ovation. Locker did not do much on his first drive, but on his second moved the ball with quick clean passes. Tennessee kicker Rob Bironas hit a field goal as they headed to half, 10-3 Seahawks.
Seattle did make a QB change in the second half, bringing in rookie Russell Wilson. And Wilson took advantage of this opportunity, surprising many with his play. Wilson was completing passes all over the field. The offensive line was letting the d-line get through and get to Wilson, but he was able to scramble away each time. It was capped off by a 39-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards that had the whole stadium rocking.
Former Florida Atlantic standout Rusty Smith started at quarterback for the Titans in the 2nd half. Smith looked very poised in the pocket and for the most part played very well. Seattle was stuffing the run but was giving up a lot of completions. However, Titan's running back Darius Reynaud did break a 21 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter.
But Reynaud was not done, and kept on impressing. At the end of the 3rd, he was able to return a punt 85-yards for a touchdown. That tied the game up at 17-17 going into the fourth.
Wilson did make one terrible decision to start the fourth quarter though. After Heath Farwell picked up a fumble that put the Seahawks on the Titan's twelve, Wilson tried to lob a pass into triple coverage and it was easily picked off by Zac Diles. But it was not enough for the Titans, and the Seahawks were able to get a field goal on the next drive to go up 20-17. Tennessee kicker Will Batson had a chip shot FG to tie it with 4 minutes left but missed. That all but put the game out of reach. Wilson added a huge 32 yard TD run, only solidifying his huge night. And from there, Seattle rolled 27-17.
Seattle and Tennessee both played similar tonight. The offenses looked good passing the ball, but at times the run game had issues. Chris Johnson had only 8-yards on 5 carries, and Robert Turbin had 24-yards on 10 carries. But both passing attacks were very fluent. Russell Wilson was 12/16 124-yards 1 TD 1 INT with 3 carries for 59-yards and a touchdown. Matt Flynn was 11/13 with 71-yards and a pick. One thing that stood out was how much Seattle seemed to be throwing to its running backs a lot. Seattle’s backfield had 10 receptions while the receivers had 13. But short passes were the key, as Seattle only averaged 6.4 yards per pass and Tennessee averaged 5.9.
Titans QBs Locker and Smith did well. Locker was 7/13 for 80-yards and Rusty Smith was 7/10 for 76-yards.
All quarterbacks had a high completion percentage, and both defenses struggled defending the pass. But they limited each other to respectable amount of yardage. Seattle had 321, Tennessee had 305.
For Seattle, Tarvaris Jackson and Josh Portis did not play. Both will most likely play in the week 2 game at Denver. Flynn played well enough to keep the starting job, but it will be interesting to see what Wilson can keep doing. He played exceptionally well and like all rookie QBs will have flashes of greatness at times. Hopefully it can be a sign of things to come. Terrell Owens did not play, but was visible at all times on the sideline. Both he and Braylon Edwards could be in a battle to stay on the team past the preseason, and with Edwards impressive touchdown grab, Owens needs to get on the field quick. Marshawn Lynch did not play much, with only one carry for no yards. Robert Turbin did a great job playing as a receiving back and if Lynch is playing in the regular season, we could see Turbin used as a short yardage dump off option. Heavily criticized first round pick Bruce Irvin did not register a single stat in his first game as a Seahawk. Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette, and Sidney Rice also did not play.
For Tennessee, all quarterbacks played for the Titans. Hasselbeck did struggle, only adding fuel to the fire of letting Locker start. Locker had a very decent game, and third string Rusty Smith did as well. But with Hasselbeck and Locker ahead of him Smith will not be higher than #3. Chris Johnson had a tough time running the ball, but Javon Ringer was able to pick up 22-yards on only 4 carries. The MVP of the game for Tennessee goes to Darius Reynard. Reynard was an UFA in 2008 out of West Virginia. After spending time with the Vikings and Giants, he signed with Tennessee this off-season. He has never registered a single reception but has returned many kicks. But with his performance tonight he should not have much left to lock up a roster spot. While he is listed as a receiver, he played running back, finishing with 29-yards on only five carries (good for a pre-season game) and added a touchdown. He also had the 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. Titans first round pick Kendall Wright had 3 receptions for 47 yards. Nate Washington, fresh off a 1,023-yard season, had 3 receptions for 24-yards. G Steve Hutchinson also returned to Seattle for the first time with Tennessee.
65,589 people were in attendance for tonights game.