No other word is better suited to sum up the Seahawks’ 17-13 season-ending loss at home to the Tennessee Titans as well as the season as a whole.
For the first time since 1992, Seattle finished its season off by dropping each of the last four games to its opponents.
In the season finale, Titans running back Chris Johnson etched his name in the history books three times. The second-year back out of East Carolina dethroned Earl Campbell as the rusher with the most yards for a single season in the Titans’ franchise history. He also knocked Marshall Faulk off the top of the list of players in the National Football League with most single-season yards from scrimmage. The final accomplishment occurred when Johnson dashed over the 2000-yard mark, becoming the sixth running back in the history of the N.F.L. to rush for at least that many yards in one season.
Tennessee’s (8-8) two touchdowns both came from Johnson. The first, a six-yard scamper with 7:56 left in the first quarter. The second came when Johnson lowered his head and plowed across the goal line for one yard with 4:33 left in the game.
Prior to Johnson’s second score, Seattle (5-11) was nursing a 13-10 lead. That lead came from a 20-yard field goal by Olindo Mare just minutes into the fourth quarter that capped a nine-play drive that started at the Titans’ 31-yard line thanks to a Johnson fumble.
With 4:33 to go in the game, the ball on the Seattle 20 and the team down by four, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took the field looking to pull out a late come-from-behind victory.
Hasselbeck found wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh for a 25-yard gain and then a run by Justin Forsett, a completion to wide out Ben Obomanu, a sneak up the middle by Hasselbeck and a run by Julius Jones brought the Seahawks to the two-minute warning with the ball on the Tennessee 28-yard line.
That is when things fell apart for the Seahawks.
Two incomplete passes followed a short one-yard pass-and-catch from Hasselbeck to fullback Justin Griffith, forcing the Seahawks into a fourth-and-nine situation from the 27 with 1:19 on the clock.
With the game on the line, Hasselbeck dropped back into a crumbling pocket, avoided pressure and tried to get the ball to his running back, Forsett, along the right sideline around the Tennessee 10-yard line. Instead, a leaping Gerald McRath snatched the pass out of the air, fell to the turf and sealed the Titans’ victory.
The interception was Hasselbeck’s ninth in three games and his tenth in the past four. He finished the day completing 15 of 30 attempts for 175 yards, a first-quarter touchdown to tight end John Carlson and the interception that ended Seattle’s last possession of the game.