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Monday, November 25, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks

Seahawks offense comes alive to top Kansas City

Seattle Times staff reporter

You had to buy a ticket to see yesterday's Seahawks-Kansas City Chiefs game at Seahawks Stadium, because the local television blackout was in effect when about 10,000 tickets went undistributed.

Those who did buy tickets witnessed two things Seahawks fans had almost given up for dead: the Seahawks scoring lots of touchdowns, and a win at home.

And they might have gone home remembering how good the Seattle offense looked in the 39-32 victory, and thinking about just how good this team could be in the future if it can keep its young core together.

Finally, the Seahawks got the breaks and bounces to go their way on offense. At last, Shaun Alexander broke out of a five-game rushing slump, gaining 145 yards on 23 carries and scoring two touchdowns. After seven weeks since the Seahawks' last home win, there was something to celebrate and reason to cheer.

"They needed it for their confidence," Coach Mike Holmgren said of what winning meant to his players. "It's just one game and one win, but it was very important for us. I think it is a mark of the character on the football team that they battled (in) this game."

The Seahawks got momentum-shifting plays from linebacker Orlando Huff and tight end Jerramy Stevens, took advantage of career days for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and wide receiver Koren Robinson and reveled in the return of receiver Darrell Jackson and linebacker Anthony Simmons from injury. Their defense took yet another opposing running back's best shot — Priest Holmes' 197 rushing yards on 23 carries — but managed to avoid the knockout blow and improve to 4-7.

Holmes was just about unstoppable, adding 110 receiving yards to his rushing total and scoring three touchdowns. Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was more effective than any other quarterback the Seahawks had faced all season, with 343 passing yards and a season-high 26 completions. For a change, the Seahawks had enough offense to overcome their defensive shortcomings and made defensive stands when most needed.

Just when the Chiefs — up 17-14 with Holmes having established his dominance — seemed poised for another touchdown with 1 minute, 5 seconds left in the half, the turning point of the game occurred.

On first-and-goal from the Seattle 1, Green decided to shirk Holmes and pass for a score, spotting tight end Jason Dunn in the back of the end zone. Green must have missed Huff, who batted the ball in the air and came down with it before lurching out of bounds. Officials originally ruled the pass incomplete, but decided to review the play on replay. Huff was given the interception.

"I had my feet down, so I knew it was good after that, and it was just a matter of going upstairs (for the replay) Huff said. "I was ready to get off the field."

Enter Stevens, the local rookie desperate to contribute. Hasselbeck's 6-yard pass to him in the end zone seemed to be out of reach, but Stevens gathered it in while keeping two feet in bounds for a touchdown and an eventual 21-17 Seahawks lead.

First, however, came another replay review. The result? Touchdown, Seahawks. The aftermath? Twenty-one points in less than eight minutes.

"We felt we had the looks that we practiced all week and we had the blocking assignments down, we just weren't executing," Stevens said. "I would like to think that my play kind of sparked something and helped get things going."

Perhaps it did, as Hasselbeck opened the third quarter with a drive ending in a 17-yard pass to Robinson, who leaped up as if going for a rebound in basketball to make the catch.

Hasselbeck later left the field to the cheers of the fans after a 25-of-36, 362-yard, three-touchdown day. The latter two categories were career highs. Robinson tied a career high with eight catches and set another one with 168 receiving yards.

The Chiefs cut Seattle's lead to 28-25 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Holmes running 4 yards for his final touchdown. A Rian Lindell field goal put the Seahawks up 31-25 with 10:42 to play, and the crowd broke into the wave for the first time all season.

Alexander sealed the win with a 46-yard blast off left tackle for a touchdown with 1:52 left. The Chiefs added another touchdown, but their onside kick try was recovered by the Seahawks' Bobby Engram with 31 seconds left.

"I think they gave me enough holes to go out there and play," Alexander said of his offensive line, "and I feel like I was actually starting to get into a rhythm where I was getting enough carries to go out there and be an influence. I finally got enough opportunities to break the long one.

"It was truly a blessing to be a part of something special like this."

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com.

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