Help Needed: Receivers Who Won't Drop the Ball in Seattle

Tom JacksonCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2008

In a league where the quarterback and the receivers must both contribute to make a potent passing attack, Matt Hasselbeck has to resort to taking out ads in the classifieds for someone who's hands he can trust.

Over the years that Hasselbeck has been a starter for the Seahawks, the receivers were notorious for dropping the ball.

In 2004, it reached such a level that his success suffered as much as his stats. In the Wild Card game that featured the Seahawks facing the Rams for the third time of the season, Hasselbeck scrambled through the offensive and defensive lines and threw the ball to Bobby Engram, who let the fourth-down pass go right through his hands.

That was Seattle's last chance at tying the game. One drop was all it took for Seattle to lose to the Rams for the third time that year and, ultimately, end the Seahawks' season.

With all the success Hasselbeck and the Seahawks' passing game has gotten, things still haven't changed.

The Super Bowl loss had its fair share of dropped passes. But the thing that must have stung Hasselbeck the most was the way his receivers let him down in the snow storm that was the divisional matchup between the Seahawks and Packers.

Matt had literally taken the Seahawks to the playoffs after their disastrous 4-4 start. Then Mike Holmgren told him to throw the ball more than he ever had. With that, came success.

The Seahawks went on a five-game winning streak that ultimately led them to a showdown between Hasselbeck and his mentor and close friend, the one and only Brett Favre.

With his No. 1 receiver, Deion Branch, injured in the early minutes of the game, Hasselbeck instilled trust into his receiving corps. This proved futile as the Seattle receivers dropped balls, one by one, whether it bounced off their chest or just flat out slipped through their hands.

With Seattle trailing by several points, Matt threw a third-down pass to a wide open Marcus Pollard in the end zone. The ball, along with any chance of a Seattle comeback, was not addressed.

Pollard's drop left Hasselbeck alone in the snowfall, as he was once again eluded of beating Favre in the playoffs.

Now, with Deion Branch out indefinitely from surgery on his knee, D.J. Hackett off to Carolina via free agency, and Bobby Engram bucking for a raise, Hasselbeck is left with the questionable, yet dynamic, Nate Burleson, and a bunch of youngsters who he doesn't have time to babysit on his way to a hopeful Super Bowl win.

It seems as if the Seahawks are committed to their inexperienced receivers. This leaves Hasselbeck in the same situation as last season: carrying his team to the playoffs.

Without much help, he'll have to give it all he has, in what could be his and Mike Holmgren's last chance at a Super Bowl title.