Updated Dec 10, 2010 - 1:12 pm
A changed team
By Liz Mathews
The last time the Seahawks played San Francisco - a 31-6 Seattle win in the regular season opener at Qwest Field - they were a completely different team.
"The personnel has changed," said QB Matt Hasselbeck. "There's a lot of guys on that were playing in that game, we watched the film, they're not on our team anymore. They're on other teams, it's interesting."
Another thing that has changed is the speed of the play. Hasselbeck explained how earlier in the season, everyone was faster and in shape. "You're coming right out of training camp," he said. "The speed of the film that we're watching is incredible. (In) December, guys are a little more beat up, everybody's just doing the best that they can. So it does look different on film."
The injuries plaguing the Seahawks have been significant - nine players are now on injured reserve and numerous others have missed valuable playing time. As for personnel changes, the Seahawks have made over 260 roster moves this season.
Recalling the September match up, Hasselbeck thinks the big difference in that game was how the Seahawks scored touchdowns in the red zone while the 49ers didn't. "That was really, I think, the big factor," said Hasselbeck. "We had red zone opportunities and walked away with seven points and it was huge. We haven't done that in every game but in that game, in particular, we did a nice job."
The Seahawks have struggled since starting 4-2 early in the season, flopping their record to just 2-4 in recent games, winning two battles that the statistics don't really support.
"Well, there's unfortunately been some tough first quarters for us this year," said Hasselbeck. "But, like Pete (Carroll) says, it's not how you start but how you finish and I think it's a good lesson. So we're learning as we go; we're figuring out who we are as a team and then you can draw on those experiences further down the line when you get into a situation."
"The thing that unraveled us a little bit is when Mike Williams has gone down," said Hasselbeck. "He's become such a big part of our offense. We've gotten a little unraveled when he's gone down and just trying to figure out who was where and last weekend in particular with John (Carlson) out, with Obo (Ben Obomanu) out and with Mike out, it was a challenge."
"But I think we're getting better at that. I'm getting better at that but I think we're getting a lot better offensively, I really do. The healthier we get - or stay, the easier it'll be. But I'm feeling good about where we are."
Facing a team on the road, and still in the hunt for a division title, Hasselbeck isn't taking this game lightly despite the 49ers' losing record.
"These guys are very physical," said Hasselbeck. "They're very talented, like we talked about before. They're the team that everyone, I mean, everyone, picked to win our division this year. So there's a lot of respect there."
"They've got weapons," he continued. "They've had some really tough losses this year and they've had some injuries but there's definitely respect there from us. They've earned it by the way that they play. It is what it is in terms of just a rivalry game that way."
And for those of you counting, if Hasselbeck gets the win, he will tie Dave Krieg for the winningest quarterback in Seahawks' history.
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