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Hasselbeck matches career high with five TD passes

Sep 24, 2006 - 11:39 PM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Matt Hasselbeck matched a career high with five touchdown passes. Eli Manning's latest comeback couldn't overcome that.

Hasselbeck threw four of his scoring passes in the first half and added his fifth in the third quarter as the Seattle Seahawks built a 39-point lead before holding on for a 42-30 victory over the New York Giants.

The Seahawks (3-0) improved to 3-0 for the third time in four seasons and extended their home winning streak to 14 games, including playoffs.

Four of Seattle's touchdowns came after turnovers by the Giants, including three interceptions of Manning.

After rallying the Giants from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit and throwing for a career-high 371 yards in a 30-24 overtime win at Philadelphia last week, Manning was in too big a hole to dig out of this time.

Seattle scored the first 35 points of the game and increased its lead to 42-3 when Hasselbeck connected with Darrell Jackson on a 12-yard scoring play with 3:18 left in the third quarter. Jackson earlier caught a four-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

"There is no way for them (the Giants) to have prepared for what we were doing, because we had never done a lot of that stuff," Hasselbeck said. "We went out there running plays and throwing routes we had never shown before and were in formations that they probably hadn't seen."

Manning threw scoring passes to Amani Toomer, Tim Carter and David Tyree in a 27-point fourth quarter for the Giants (1-2). The other touchdown came on a 27-yard interception return by nickel back R.W. McQuarters.

"It was too late by then," Manning said of New York's fourth quarter. "We as an offense have to find a way to make some plays and not shoot ourselves in the foot early in the game."

Deion Branch made his debut for the Seahawks and caught two passes for 23 yards and gained eight yards on a reverse. Seattle acquired the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX from New England on September 11 for a first-round pick in 2007.

"I had a real good time out there," Branch said. "Coach did a good job of game planning for this game. We went out and executed plays."

Hasselbeck, who threw for five touchdowns in a game at Baltimore on November 23, 2003, connected with Nate Burleson, Jackson, tight end Will Heller and Bobby Engram on scoring plays after Shaun Alexander rushed for a two-yard touchdown.

Hasselbeck completed 17-of-24 passes for 176 yards in the first half while Manning was 8-of-16 for 65 yards with three interceptions.

On Seattle's first possession, Hasselbeck threw a deep pass that was intercepted by cornerback Corey Webster at the New York 34.

Three plays later, Manning was intercepted by safety Ken Hamlin, who returned it 37 yards to the New York 15. After Hasselbeck hit Jackson with a 13-yard pass, Alexander scored on a two-yard run 2:21 into the game.

It was the 102nd career touchdown for Alexander, moving him ahead of Steve Largent (101) on the franchise's all-time list.

Hasselbeck's 12-yard touchdown pass to Burleson with 6:54 left in the first quarter increased the lead to 14-0.

On New York's next possession, Hamlin recorded his second interception of the game, returning it 26 yards to the New York 27. Three plays later, Hasselbeck hit Engram with a 22-yard pass before firing a four-yard touchdown to Jackson with 4:12 left in the first quarter.

"He (Hasselbeck) threw the ball all over the place and kept their defense off balance," said Jackson, who finished with seven catches for 57 yards.

Manning was intercepted for the third time, getting picked off by safety Michael Boulware at the Seattle 37 with 10:36 left in the half.

The Seahawks then went on a 12-play, 67-yard drive which featured a 15-yard catch by Branch. Hasselbeck capped it with a 10-yard touchdown to Heller with 5:27 left in the half.

"Our defense has really created a lot of turnovers," Hasselbeck said. "Our offense hadn't been playing that well before today. But our defense has been great, and the turnovers today were great."

New York's fourth turnover - a fumble by wide receiver Plaxico Burress recovered by linebacker Leroy Hill at the Seattle 32 - set up Seattle's fifth touchdown - a 21-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Engram with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

A 51-yard return by Chad Morton on the ensuing kickoff helped set up a 46-yard field goal by New York's Jay Feely on the last play of the half.

"We just gave the game away in the first half and handed it to them," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We gave them the ball at point-blank range and gave them great field position. We turned the ball over and it cost us the game."

Seattle consumed nearly 10 minutes of the third quarter with a 17-play, 70-yard drive which resulted in Jackson's second touchdown catch of the game with 3:18 left in the third quarter, increasing the lead to 42-3.

"You don't expect to be in that situation very often," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said of the big lead. "We got a little sloppy at the end of the game. But it's hard to convince the players to stay at it when you're ahead by so much. It's a hard sell."

Hasselbeck was 7-of-9 for 51 yards with two interceptions in the second half. Manning completed 16-of-20 for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.

Manning threw scoring passes of 13 yards to Toomer and 25 yards to Carter in the fourth quarter.

Just 11 seconds after Carter's touchdown, McQuarters scored on a 27-yard interception return.

Manning capped the 27-point fourth quarter with a nine-yard TD pass to Tyree with 2:42 left.

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