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Hasselbeck absorbs barbs

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was slowed down during Sunday's second half against Jacksonville. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was slowed down during Sunday's second half against Jacksonville. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Tim Booth Associated Press

KIRKLAND, Wash. – Matt Hasselbeck was stiff and sore – and then coach Mike Holmgren started describing what he thought of his quarterback’s performance in the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to Jacksonville.

“I probably bruised him today myself,” Holmgren said Monday in the wake of Seattle’s 26-14 defeat. “I didn’t think we played very smart on offense.”

Leading 14-13 at halftime Sunday, Seattle’s offense sagged in the second half, gaining just 100 yards as Hasselbeck turned over the ball three times in the fourth quarter.

“He had some strong words for our offensive team, and they were justified,” Hasselbeck said. “He has very high expectations for us and me personally. It’s nothing that we need to get all upset about. It’s true: We’ve got to play better.”

Perhaps no turnover was uglier than Hasselbeck’s interception with 6 minutes, 29 seconds left and Seattle trailing 20-14. Hasselbeck appeared to be throwing away the ball while pressured in the pocket, but instead of sailing the ball out of bounds, Hasselbeck’s sidearm pass fell into the arms of Jacksonville’s Daryl Smith at Seattle’s 15.

The Jaguars converted the interception into a field goal and a 23-14 lead. On Seattle’s next possession, Hasselbeck was sacked and fumbled, and Jacksonville kicked another field goal, putting the game out of reach.

It was one of Hasselbeck’s worst days as a pro, with a quarterback rating of 61.3. The four turnovers tied a career high – he threw four interceptions at Arizona last year.

“Matt can sometimes be his own worst enemy with an attempt to make a play. He’ll hold on till the last second and absorb punishment when I’d just as soon he throw the ball away and live for another day,” Holmgren said.

The second-half breakdowns were not isolated to Hasselbeck. There were missed assignments on Seattle’s offensive line that left Hasselbeck open to extra hits by the Jaguars’ defense.

Jacksonville sacked Hasselbeck only twice, but a change in the Jaguars’ blitzing scheme in the second half caused headaches for Seattle’s offensive line.

“The breakdowns that happened shouldn’t have happened,” center Robbie Tobeck said. “Each game is too valuable.”

Shaun Alexander also disappeared from Seattle’s offense. After carrying the ball 10 times for 67 yards in the first half, Alexander had four carries for 6 yards in the second half.

Alexander, who ripped the team last year after coming up 1 yard short of the NFL rushing title, was quiet and understated on Monday, wanting to talk more about Seattle’s defense and said the running game, when given a chance, was effective.

“The Seahawks signed veteran defensive end Rodney Bailey. To make room, the Seattle released wide receiver Jerheme Urban.

Bailey spent last season on injured reserve with New England, after spending his first three years with Pittsburgh. Bailey has played in 48 games with one start, and has 39 tackles, 9 1/2 sacks and one fumble recovery.

Urban spent his first two years with the Seahawks and won a roster spot during a heated training camp competition this year. Last year, Urban played in six games, starting one, and caught six passes for 117 yards and one touchdown. He was on Seattle’s practice squad during the 2003 season.

Urban was inactive for Seattle’s loss at Jacksonville.

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