DENVER - He didn't play well.
And Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck knows he has to take care of the ball for his team to win games, especially on the road.
Hasselbeck expressed frustration with his performance in an honest conversation with reporters after the game Sunday.
For a second straight week Hasselbeck threw an interception on the first series of the game, a fade route to Deion Branch that was under-thrown and picked off by Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey near the end zone.
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“Sometimes you have no choice other than to go to Champ,” Hasselbeck said. “He’s a great player and we respect him, and he is one of the best of all time.”
Hasselbeck made a similar throw to tight end John Carlson near the end zone in the second quarter that Broncos safety Brian Dawkins corralled at Denver’s 9 to thwart another Seattle scoring chance.
“I was probably a little late with the throw,” Hasselbeck said. “I was having a tough time getting a grip on the ball. I thought he was open, and I think I could’ve made a better throw to get him the ball. Maybe I didn’t step into it like I should have.”
Hasselbeck’s final interception came with under two minutes remaining with the outcome already decided.
Hasselbeck’s 20-of-35 passing gained 233 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown to Ben Obomanu and the three picks.
With rookie Walter Thurmond’s muffed punt, Seattle finished with four turnovers. Denver did not have a single turnover.
“Across the NFL, if you lose the turnover ratio like we did today, you’re going to make it very, very hard to win a game,” Hasselbeck said. “I don’t care who you are. And that’s what we did today. I turned the ball over and didn’t give us a great chance to win the game.”
Hasselbeck addressed Seattle’s fourth-and-2 call from Denver’s 20-yard line with the Seahawks down 24-7 late in the third quarter.
Hasselbeck said the call was a screen pass to Julius Jones that Denver covered, so his last resort was a fade route to Branch. But Branch was blanketed by Bailey, and Hasselbeck’s throw sailed out of the end zone.
“They ran two guys to Julius, so it’s just kind of a bad break, a little bit of bad luck,” Hasselbeck said. “Rather than try and concede the play I just tried to throw it up again to Champ Bailey, which probably isn’t going to work.”
If Seattle kicks a field goal the deficit is 14 points with a little more than a quarter left.
Coach Pete Carroll has emphasized taking care of the ball and keeping turnovers to a minimum in order to give Seattle a chance to win.
Hasselbeck didn’t do that Sunday.
“We knew that is one of the keys to victory,” Hasselbeck said. “Turnover ratio is one, and getting touchdowns when you get opportunities is two. And we kind of just flipped it from last week. We had opportunities and we didn’t come away with touchdowns.”