Matt Hasselbeck may have saved his best for last.
Sure, Seattle’s NFC Championship game win over the Panthers was more meaningful. But Saturday’s 272-yard, four touchdown masterpiece against the defending champion Saints is one Hasselbeck will savor forever.
The win shows Hasselbeck transformed from an inconsistent young quarterback to a true student of the game. He picked apart the Saints’ weak links. With centerfielder Malcolm Jenkins out, Hasselbeck repeatedly picked on strong safety Roman Harper and cornerback Patrick Robinson. Aging safety Darren Sharper was beat on a bomb to Mike Williams to start the second half.
Hasselbeck knew exactly where to go with the ball all night, and dropped the ball into tight windows. It was a reminder he can still sling the ball when he gets a little protection.
This was Hasselbeck’s tenth playoff game in an underrated career. He’s widely expected to leave via free agency after the season, and just made himself some money Saturday.)
His era will be remembered fondly in Seattle, but the last three consecutive seasons were miserable. Hasselbeck suffered through three different head coaches. He was often hurt, played with a terrible supporting cast, and became a turnover machine with 34 touchdowns and 44 interceptions.
It was all worth it have a night like the one he did Saturday.