Matt Hasselbeck couldn't breathe deeply without pain last week. On Tuesday he couldn't even work out without pain medication.
SEATTLE — Matt Hasselbeck couldn't breathe deeply without pain last week. On Tuesday he couldn't even work out without pain medication. The next day, he finally practiced but admitted he looked "ugly."
Sunday, thanks to more marvelous medicine, Hasselbeck returned. So did his Seahawks, to their playoff-like form of two years ago.
Jacksonville was back in previous form, too — its one from 2008. Talk about ugly.
Late to the field before the game and after halftime while taking painkilling injections, Hasselbeck threw four touchdown passes, two to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the Seahawks rolled to their biggest home shutout in 25 years, 41-0 over the bewildered Jaguars.
The Seahawks (2-3) were still missing seven starters, including three-fifths of their offensive line. It didn't matter: Hasselbeck was back. He brought Seattle to within a game of San Francisco for the division lead.
"It depends if you follow it up," coach Jim Mora said. "Our job is to validate this thing. Go out and back it up."
Hasselbeck said he felt tightness more than pain, predicting that the latter will come Monday. That's fine by his Seahawks. They don't play Arizona (2-2), the team that took their NFC West title away last season, until Sunday.
After consecutive division wins left the Jaguars a surprising 2-2, they were primed for a surge with games at ailing Seattle, then against a winless trio of St. Louis, Tennessee, and, after a bye, Kansas City. Instead, Jacksonville absorbed its worst road shutout loss since its inaugural season of 1995.
It was reminiscent to last year, when at 3-3 the Jaguars were facing 2-4 Cleveland, winless Cincinnati and winless Detroit. They lost two of three and flopped to 5-11.
"There wasn't much to like," coach Jack Del Rio said.
Asked when he knew he would be able to play, Hasselbeck said, "Never."
Yet, he completed 18 of 30 throws for 241 yards against the league's 31st-ranked pass defense. He exposed cornerback Rashean Mathis on three of his touchdown passes before resting in the fourth quarter.
He last threw for four touchdowns against Arizona on Dec. 9, 2007. He has seven touchdown passes in the two games in which he's been completely healthy this season. Those are the only games Seattle has won.
Mora said this was what he expected from the three-time Pro Bowl passer.
"I mean, I sound glib, but with Matt I do (expect this)," Mora said. "I watched him from Monday to Sunday just transform himself."
His teammates were giddy that their captain was returning following three straight defeats. So giddy, they pounded him with ill-advised chest bumps before kickoff.
"I should have worn a sign," Hasselbeck deadpanned.
Houshmandzadeh kept the two touchdown balls he caught, to commemorate his first Seattle touchdowns. The former Bengals star said he was giving them to his daughter for her seventh birthday Sunday.
While their defense stonewalled Jacksonville into five consecutive three-and-outs, the Seahawks essentially ended this one by scoring two offensive touchdowns in the first two quarters. They had scored three touchdowns with backup Seneca Wallace leading them over the 10 quarters Hasselbeck missed from Sept. 20 until Sunday.
Jacksonville's first trip to Seattle since 2001 was a bust even before kickoff. Top wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker was inactive for a violation of team rules after the team's flight west on Friday. Sims-Walker had two touchdown receptions last week.
"He definitely didn't cost us a loss or anything. But whenever you have a dynamic player like that, you want him on the field," quarterback David Garrard said.
Del Rio didn't specify the violation, but gruffly said he didn't regret the benching.
It left Jacksonville with Torry Holt and three rookies. The Jaguars didn't have a wide receiver besides Holt catch a pass until Jarett Dillard did in the third quarter. Seattle led 20-0 by then.
One week after tying his career high with three touchdown passes and completing 73 percent of his throws in a win over Tennessee, Garrard missed on 10 of his first 15 while constantly backed up to his goal line by poor field position. He was sacked four times.
The Jaguars' did march to the Seahawks 8 early in the fourth quarter. But Lawrence Jackson got Seattle's fourth sack, and rookie defensive end Nick Reed picked up Garrard's fumble and ran 79 yards for a touchdown.
It mercifully ended Garrard's day. He was 18 for 31 for 188 yards, as Jacksonville endured its worst road shutout loss since Dec. 17, 1995, its inaugural season.
"Just a terrible day, terrible performance by all of us," he said.