The Seattle Seahawks suffered their first loss at home since 2004 on Oct. 22. A streak of 12 consecutive regular-season wins at Qwest Field came to an end with a 13-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
But that's not all the Seahawks lost: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and sole possession of first place in the NFC West also went by the wayside.
Hasselbeck went down early in the second half with a sprained right knee when Viking linebacker E.J. Henderson rolled on his leg; he is expected to miss at least three weeks. Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace came off the bench for Hasselbeck and will get the first start of his NFL career on Sunday when the Seahawks travel to Kansas City to face the 3-3 Chiefs.
"I think any time you have to play without Matt it will change some things, but I'm not nervous about it. Seneca's a good player," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said.
The Chiefs are also going with their No. 2 passer, former University of Washington quarterback Damon Huard, brother of former Seahawk quarterback Brock Huard. In order to acquire another quarterback, the Seahawks waived wide receiver Willie Ponder and have re-signed Gibran Hamdan from the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad. Hamdan was previously released by the Seahawks this summer.
The Seahawks defense allowed too many big plays against Minnesota, including Vikings defensive back Chester Taylor's 95-yard touchdown run in the third quarter — the longest ever by a Seahawks opponent — and a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marcus Robinson that tied the score 10-10 in the second quarter.
The offense again allowed too many hits on the quarterback — giving up four sacks — and couldn't run the ball effectively. Just before the end of the first half, running back Maurice Morris rushed for 27 yards, the longest run of the season for the Seahawks.
And the special teams allowed a 49-yard kickoff return to set up a Minnesota field goal.
One highlight on defense is linebacker Julian Peterson, who continues to terrorize opposing offenses. Peterson has racked up two sacks, eight tackles and four assists on Sunday, and has six sacks on the season.
"It's the big plays that hurt us, three big plays. … Last year, the same thing happened at the Super Bowl — a couple of big plays and that was it. So we have to stop the big play and be more consistent," Peterson said. "They outplayed us today.
"We're going to look at the film, see what we did wrong and make sure everyone has their assignments straight for next week."
With Wallace taking all the snaps this week in practice, the team is prepared for him to be their starter.
"We have a good quarterback in Seneca. I think he'll come in and do a good job. We can't worry about if Matt can go or not; we have to prepare for Seneca to be the starter," Peterson said.
"Everyone feels totally confident with Seneca," fullback Mack Strong said. "He's a phenomenal quarterback — he's got a strong arm, great legs to run the football, and if he gets in trouble he can run for the first down and get himself out of taking a sack. Each one of us as individuals need to try to get better as a player and if we do that collectively we'll be able to do some great things."
Seeing his first action since the Super Bowl, tight end Jerramy Stevens said he feels close to 100 percent after arthroscopic surgeries in April and again in August to repair a damaged meniscus.
"They did a great job of pressuring us — forcing us to change our line calls — and any time you get pressure right up front in your face it's hard," Stevens said. "But you have to give them credit, they came out with a great game plan and executed it."
The Seahawks' only touchdown was from wide receiver Darrell Jackson, who caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from Hasselbeck, putting the Hawks up 7-3 in the first half. Josh Brown put the rest of Seattle's points on the board with 42-yard and 26-yard field goals.