Matt Hasselbeck said he is stunned. He's largely solo, trying in vain to win without six injured wide receivers.
RENTON, Wash. — Matt Hasselbeck said he is stunned. He's largely solo, trying in vain to win without six injured wide receivers.
And he's sorry.
"I apologize to all the people who 'own' me, on their fantasy teams. They can put me on the bench, for a little while," the Seahawks' three-time Pro Bowl quarterback said Monday, using dry humor to deflect attention from his completion percentage of 45.5 through two games.
He is the NFC's lowest-rated passer. It's a primary reason the four-time defending NFC West champions are 0-2 for the first time since 2002 — their last losing season — entering Sunday's game against also-winless St. Louis.
But it's actually the fallout from a bigger reason, an epidemic in Seattle.
Hasselbeck, a career 61 percent passer entering this season, had the goal of getting to 65 percent this season. But that was before wide receivers Bobby Engram, then Nate Burleson, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne and Seneca Wallace all got hurt.
Payne started Sunday's overtime loss to San Francisco but an MRI Monday revealed he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee while getting hit as his leg was planted in the turf during the first quarter. He is joining Burleson and Obomanu on injured reserve, out for the season.
The dynamic Wallace had a lead role in the game plan as a receiver. Then the backup quarterback injured his calf — during pregame warmups. Coach Mike Holmgren said Wallace, who had a walking boot and crutches in the locker room Monday, will miss as much as a month.
"It wasn't a complete tear," Holmgren said. "I was always concerned about Seneca's health, but I didn't think it'd be in warmups. I thought maybe someone might hit him or something."
Holmgren said the team will be looking to sign or possibly trade for more receivers before Sunday's game against the Rams.
"We have to go looking for some people. That's the number one order of the day," he said before heading into a personnel meeting with team executives to find those people.
One could be former Seahawk Koren Robinson, currently unsigned and at home in Raleigh, N.C., waiting for a call. Last week, Holmgren said he'd welcome bringing back Seattle's No. 1 draft pick in 2001, whom the team released after the 2004 season following problems with alcohol. But he was apparently overruled then by team president Tim Ruskell.
"The value is, he's played here," Holmgren said Monday of Robinson, knowing that getting a free agent to contribute significantly right away is difficult because most don't know Seattle's offense.
For now, Hasselbeck is throwing to Billy McMullen, signed last week off his couch in Richmond, Va. Sunday was his first game since 2006. Hasselbeck is also throwing to Michael Bumpus, signed off the practice squad on Saturday. The quarterback said he didn't even know the undrafted rookie from Washington State was going to play against the 49ers.
And he's throwing to Courtney Taylor, the only healthy receiver who was with the team before this season. He has nine catches in 10 career games. And Hasselbeck obviously does not trust him yet. The two were disconnected on multiple route assignments during the 33-30 loss to the 49ers, in which Hasselbeck was 18-for-36 with two deflected interceptions.
One of the misfires was to an open Taylor in the end zone in the third quarter. Hasselbeck threw the ball to the back corner. Taylor, a secondary option on the play, was looking toward the goal post. Hasselbeck angrily turned to the sideline and talked to himself as the potential touchdown pass skipped uselessly past the end line.
When asked if Taylor was up to the challenge of being the only healthy receiver with experience in the offense — for now, anyway — Holmgren said: "That's a good question. ... I'll do what I have to do to try and move the football, but at the same time, just like anything else, my confidence level in choosing a play is in direct proportion to how that player has practiced or what he's shown me so far during a game.
"I think the jury's still out in that regard."
Hasselbeck chooses to laugh at the dire situation. Better than a grown man crying one week before his 33rd birthday.
"My percentage right now, I might have to move to baseball. Not going to cut it as a quarterback," he said. "It's in the forties right now. How about .400?
"Not good. It's obviously important. I'm not trying to dwell on it. ... But I'm going to get that turned around."
On defense, cornerback Kelly Jennings has a broken rib. He played on Sunday with the help of a painkilling injection, after getting hurt in the first half. Both Holmgren and Jennings said he will start against the Rams.