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Hasselbeck needs one more win to match franchise history

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Associated Press
12/9/2010 7:54:23 PM
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RENTON, Wash. -- With his next victory, Matt Hasselbeck will tie Dave Krieg for the most wins by a quarterback in Seattle Seahawks history.

Doesn't seem like Hasselbeck's been around long enough to amass 69 wins.

"It just falls in line with the feeling of pride I have for being with this organization so long," Hasselbeck said on Thursday. "There's been a lot of turnover, a lot of people kicked to the curb, run out of town so to speak. It hasn't been easy weathering the storms of all the changes, but I think also, more than any of that, I feel a sense of pride that we're back on track to where we were."

Hasselbeck is in his 10th season with the Seahawks and he can take a major step toward getting Seattle back to the playoffs with a win Sunday at San Francisco. The 49ers are the last remaining team on the Seahawks schedule currently with a record below .500 and a victory will at the very least keep Seattle even with St. Louis in the woeful NFC West race.

It's a place Hasselbeck got used to between 2003 and 2007 when Seattle made the playoffs in five straight seasons, including Hasselbeck leading the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance in 2005.

"It was really hard when I got here to become a team that was in playoff contention, become a team that could win our division," Hasselbeck said. "It was hard to turn the corner and we turned the corner and we were good for a while, then we struggled a bit and have sort of gone back to the drawing board and built something back up. I feel really good about the direction we're headed, so to be a part of that is cool."

As this season has progressed, Hasselbeck has put to rest any notion he was being phased out by Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

Playing for his third offensive co-ordinator in three seasons, Hasselbeck is far from having his best season. He's thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, including two picks in each of the last two games after going five games -- and 220 pass attempts -- with just one interception. His completion percentage is under 60 -- barely -- and his quarterback rating at 76.9 is below his career average of 82.1.

But right now, with Seattle in a playoff chase, where his numbers stand matters little -- except for maybe those interceptions.

"He's working real hard to take care of the football and he's got to keep doing it. It could spell the difference of winning and losing," Carroll said. "... But I think he's working hard at it and he went through that long spell of giving up one ... somewhere they're going to get you. His conscience is in the right place. He's working hard at it."

Hasselbeck's job was thought to be in jeopardy when the Seahawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst to compete for the starting job in the off-season. But Hasselbeck was the clear winner of whatever competition there was, a point only reinforced when Hasselbeck missed a game with a concussion last month and Seattle scored just seven points with Whitehurst in charge.

When Hasselbeck came back from his concussion and a struggling run game, offensive co-ordinator Jeremy Bates put the bulk of the offence on Hasselbeck's arm. It was never more evident than the first half at Arizona when Hasselbeck threw for a club-record 273 yards. He finished with 333 that day, slowed by a cracked bone in his left, non-throwing wrist suffered on a quarterback sneak.

A week later, Hasselbeck threw for 366 yards against New Orleans, the fourth-highest total of his career.

But the last two weeks haven't been as smooth. With leading receiver Mike Williams missing all but one series of the past two games, Hasselbeck has forced more throws. He got away with his mistakes against the 1-11 Panthers because Seattle's run game finally provided a little pop.

"I think we're getting a lot better offensively, I really do," Hasselbeck said. "The healthier we get -- or stay -- the easier it'll be. But I'm feeling good about where we are."

Matt Hasselbeck (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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