SEATTLE (AP) — Matt Hasselbeck barely had time to hear his name announced as the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback before he was watching his former team headed the other way for a touchdown.
On the first play of the game.
"I was just like 'No, you've got to be kidding me!'" Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck had a rocky return to the stadium where he created so many memories wearing a Seahawks uniform, throwing a pair of interceptions in his limited appearance, while Seattle rookie Russell Wilson dazzled with touchdowns running and throwing in the second half to help the Seahawks open the preseason with a 27-17 victory Saturday night.
Hasselbeck, who was Seattle's anchor at quarterback for nearly a decade, saw the first play of the game — a pass intended for Nate Washington — get deflected into the arms of Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner and returned 23 yards for a touchdown. Seattle (No. 22 APPro32) went ahead 17-3 on the first drive of the second half when Wilson, in a three-way competition for the Seahawks' QB job, threw a 39-yard scoring pass to Braylon Edwards. Wilson added a 32-yard bootleg touchdown run with 1:51 left to cap an impressive debut by the third-round pick.
"I felt like I did a really good job, especially for the first time being out there," Wilson said. "I was really, really calm (and) just trusted what I saw."
Matt Flynn got the start at quarterback for Seattle while incumbent Tarvaris Jackson was left to watch this week. Coach Pete Carroll gave no indication afterward how the rotation will be next week when Seattle travels to Denver.
"The quarterbacks did a really nice job," Carroll said. "Nothing but good stuff came out of this game."
Hasselbeck was greeted with cheers and signs before the game with plenty of fans still donning No. 8 Seahawks jerseys. Hasselbeck said he got choked up speaking before the game.
"It means a lot to me to see someone wearing my jersey especially when I'm gone," Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck threw a quick out for Washington on the first play from scrimmage. But Hasselbeck's throw was poor — low and too far behind Washington. The receiver tried to pull in the pass, but instead knocked it off the arm of safety Earl Thomas and into Browner's arms. The 23-yard interception return gave Seattle a 7-0 lead just 9 seconds into the preseason.
"It was kind of a freak thing," Hasselbeck said. "It reminded me of my first pass the last time I was in this stadium which was intercepted against the Saints. ... It was disappointing it started that way, not at all how I envisioned it."
That came in the NFC wild card game when Hasselbeck was engineering an upset of the defending Super Bowl champions. Seattle opted to go a different direction at quarterback before the start of the 2011 season and Hasselbeck ended up in Tennessee (No. 21 APPro32), where he finds himself this preseason battling Jake Locker for the starting job.
Continue reading this story on the...