Hawks hot in the cold
Seattle Times staff reporter
It was Green Bay-style weather, just the way the Packers wanted to start the game.
Snow, frigid temperatures, a Seahawks turnover and an early Packers touchdown. But this game came down to which team's offense got hot at the most critical time, and that team wore Seahawks blue.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, the snow eased up. And they overcame five huge mistakes in the first half and five dropped passes in the game to post a critical win, 34-24, on "Monday Night Football" at Qwest Field.
Credit the Seattle defense for keeping the Packers from taking over the game. Credit the offense, despite four turnovers in the first half, for scoring when it needed to. Credit seldom-used wide receiver D.J. Hackett for his sure hands when other Seahawks were dropping passes, and credit the hard running of Shaun Alexander, the likes of which hadn't been seen this season.
Things started badly for Seattle but got better.
On just his second pass of the game, the Seahawks' second offensive play of the game, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had his throw tipped high in the air by Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, and cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted it.
The Packers took over possession less than a minute into the game, and scored the game's opening touchdown in four plays. Former Seahawk Ahman Green bulldozed his way 5 yards for a touchdown after Brett Favre, playing the Seahawks for perhaps the final time, completed a 26-yard pass to Ruvell Martin.
The Seahawks rallied and put together drive after drive deep into Packers territory but managed only field goals, four of them by Josh Brown in the first half.
Hasselbeck, making his first start since suffering a sprained right knee on Oct. 22, was intercepted twice again in the half. Seattle almost gave the ball up a fourth time when Alexander was stripped but somehow got back on the ball in a pile.
The Seahawks trailed 7-3 when they forced the Packers to try a field goal early in the second quarter. Seattle's Craig Terrill blocked the 28-yard try for his second block in the past two games.
The Seahawks drove for a second field goal to make it 7-6, propelled by the running of Alexander, who had four carries on the nine-play drive to set up a 41-yarder by Brown with 8:36 left in the second quarter.
Alexander, his prime-time success well-documented in his career, rushed for 104 yards in the first half in his second start since a foot injury cost him six games. He finished with 201.
The Seahawks were leading 9-7 after Brown's third field goal when disaster struck again. Hasselbeck was sacked by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and the ball popped out of his hand. There was rookie linebacker Abdul Hodge, making his first NFL start, to pluck the ball out of the air and run 29 yards with the recovery for a touchdown.
The Seahawks managed one more scoring drive to close out the half, making it to the Green Bay 10 before settling for Brown's fourth field goal. They trailed 14-12 at halftime.
If not for a few nifty returns from Nate Burleson and improved defensive play for the most part, the Seahawks would have been in major trouble. And then the defense let them down.
The Packers opened the second half with a big play, Favre connecting with Donald Driver on a crossing route. Driver made Seattle's Ken Hamlin miss and was gone, outrunning cornerback Kelly Herndon to the end zone for a 48-yard score. The Packers led 21-12.
But the Seahawks rallied again. Hackett caught two passes on a third-quarter drive that was helped by an illegal-contact penalty on the Packers on third down. The Seahawks cashed in when Hasselbeck found Hackett for a leaping touchdown catch with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
The score led to more success. On their next possession, the Seahawks faced fourth-and-inches from the Packers' 21. A penalty gave them a first down, and three plays later, Hasselbeck found Darrell Jackson on a 4-yard touchdown pass that gave the Seahawks the lead. Jackson dragged one leg inbounds in the upper right corner of the end zone on the scoring pass.
The Seahawks went for two and got it when Hasselbeck drilled a pass to Jerramy Stevens for a 27-21 lead.
The Packers cut the Seahawks' lead to 27-24 with a 34-yard field goal with 10:50 left in the game. But the Seahawks then drove for the decisive touchdown, gaining a first down on another fourth-and inches when Alexander tossed the Packers' A.J. Hawk aside on a 6-yard run.
Alexander ran left for 15 yards on second-and-12, and three plays later, Hasselbeck hit Stevens for a 3-yard TD pass with 6:13 to play.
Stevens had dropped two long passes earlier and drew boos from the crowd. But he held on this time, as did the Seahawks.
Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings sealed the win with interceptions on back-to-back drives, two of the three picks for the Seattle defense.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
|A look at each of Shaun Alexander's prime-time rushing efforts since becoming the Seahawks' featured running back in 2001:|
|Nov. 11, 2001||vs. Oakland||266||3||W, 34-27|
|Dec. 9, 2001||at Denver||28||0||L, 20-7|
|Sept. 29, 2002||vs. Minnesota||139||*5||W, 48-23|
|Oct. 14, 2002||vs. San Francisco||96||1||L, 28-21|
|Oct. 12, 2003||vs. San Francisco||77||0||W, 20-19|
|Dec. 6, 2004||vs. Dallas||83||2||L, 43-39|
|Oct. 16, 2005||vs. Houston||141||4||W, 42-10|
|Dec. 5, 2005||at Philadelphia||49||2||W, 42-0|
|Monday||vs. Green Bay||201||0||W, 34-24|
|* — Includes one receiving touchdown.|
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