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Time to unwind in Seattle

Seahawks' focus shifts to Chicago

SEATTLE -- The same Seahawks who all season couldn't buy a break with all of team owner Paul Allen's Microsoft money finally got lucky.

But now they're going to have to be good, too. Or at least better than they've been.

All of Seattle -- players, coaches, and fans alike -- reveled in advancing to the NFC's divisional playoffs. The day of exhale yesterday was time for reflection upon the Seahawks' 8-point rally over the final seven minutes of Saturday night's amazing 21-20 win over Dallas.

It was also part appreciation for Jordan Babineaux preserving the season by tripping Tony Romo with a shoe tackle after the Cowboys quarterback and holder dropped the snap on a 19-yard field goal attempt with 1:19 to go.

"The players certainly deserve Sunday off. And I'm looking forward to spending Sunday with my family," coach Mike Holmgren said late Saturday night.

But the day of rest also included some important evaluation. Seattle (10-7) will face top-seeded Chicago (13-3) on the road next Sunday. The Bears routed Seattle, 37-6, at Soldier Field during the regular season.

"Obviously, that was probably the worst we have played as a team this year -- and for sure me," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said of that October night.

He was 16 of 35 for a season-low 45.7 completion percentage, with two interceptions in the first of six games Shaun Alexander missed with a broken foot.

"We have to worry about ourselves," defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "We are our own biggest enemy."

Foremost, Hasselbeck must improve.

Last season's Super Bowl and Pro Bowl starter was 18 of 36 for 240 yards Saturday night, with two touchdown passes to Jerramy Stevens. The second gave Seattle a 21-20 lead with 4:24 left.

But Hasselbeck also threw two interceptions that led to two Dallas field goals. He has thrown 10 interceptions in seven games since returning from a four-game absence with a sprained knee.

Hasselbeck threw one of his better passes to put Seattle up, 13-10, in the third quarter. His dart was perfectly timed to Stevens's break outside away from Roy Williams for a 15-yard touchdown.

But he was errant again on fourth and goal from the Dallas 2 with 6:48 left and his team down, 20-13. Hasselbeck's bootleg pass to tight end Will Heller sailed 3 yards out of bounds.

The Seahawks must also get more from Alexander next week than 69 yards on 24 carries he had against Dallas. Twenty of those yards came on the first play after Babineaux's heroic stop, pushing Seattle away from its goal line and essentially ending the game.

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