Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Your 2005 Pro Bowl Selections

from the official site of the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander, G Steve Hutchinson and T Walter Jones were selected to represent the club in the 2005 Pro Bowl, it was announced by the NFL Wednesday.

Alexander is the NFC’s leading rusher with a career high 1,462 yards and is second in the conference with 1,617 yards from scrimmage. He also leads the NFC in scoring (96), rushing touchdowns (12), and total touchdowns (16).

Alexander, who tied a Pro Bowl record with three total touchdowns last season in his first appearance, became the first player in NFL history to score 15 total touchdowns in four consecutive seasons. This season, he and San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson joined Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson and Walter Payton as the only backs in League history to rush for 10 or more touchdowns in four consecutive seasons.

Alexander has totaled 58 career rushing touchdowns and this year eclipsed Curt Warner’s franchise record of 55.

For Jones, this will mark his fourth consecutive trip to the NFL’s annual all-star game, fifth overall (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). Jones was the first and only Seattle offensive lineman to have ever been selected to participate in the Pro Bowl until Steve Hutchinson joined him in Hawaii last season. His fifth selection ties him with Kenny Easley for the third-most in team history behind Cortez Kennedy (8) and Steve Largent (7).

This will mark Hutchinson’s second consecutive trip to Hawaii.

Hutchinson and Jones have started all 14 games this season and have served as the foundation for the NFL’s seventh-ranked offense. They have helped put Alexander in a position to break the franchise’s rushing record. He needs just 84 yards to break Chris Warren’s 1994 record of 1,545. The two have also helped Alexander rush for 150 or more yards four times this season including a season-high 195 versus Carolina (10/31).

When running behind Hutchinson and Jones, Seattle has gained 631 yards on 103 attempts (6.1 avg.). No other left side in the NFL has been as productive. New England has the next best total running left having gained 580 yards on 23 more attempts (4.6 avg.). Seattle is only one of three teams in the NFL to average better than 6 yards running left.

Seahawks K Josh Brown, QB Matt Hasselbeck, CB Ken Lucas and FB Mack Strong are alternates and will make the trip if a selected player is injured or chooses not to play.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Game Summary

from the official site of the Seattle Hawks
Enough with losing the late leads. The Seahawks made the big plays down the stretch when they needed them to hang for a 27-23 win against the Vikings.

The play of the game has to go to Michael Boulware's interception of a Randy Moss pass into the endzone that snuffed a potential go-ahead touchdown with a little over two minutes to play. The rookie strong safety, making his first start of the season for the Seahawks, leaped in front of intended receiver Marcus Robinson for the snatch and came down with his fifth pick of the season.

The player of the game has to go to Darrell Jackson. Jackson learned before the game that his father had passed away from cancer, yet elected to go ahead and play in what turned out to be one of his best games of the season. Jackson had 10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, and one can only imagine the level of concentration after losing a parent.

"I talked to him before the game and said 'you don't have to play', and he said 'no, I need to'," said Mike Holmgren. "I think it's going to hit him in the next couple of days."

"It wasn't a tough decision to play," said Jackson. "It's what my father would've wanted."

The win for Seattle, now 7-6, gives them a one-game lead atop the NFC West over St. Louis (6-7), who lost 20-7 at Carolina.

The Seahawks defined the term "gut check" in their performance. Facing one of the NFL's top offenses, a patch-work defense held quarterback Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings in check, while Matt Hasselbeck turned in another outstanding effort in leading the offense with three touchdown passes in the first half.

Hasselbeck attributes his good performance to being healthy again. "It's nice to have your legs back and be able to run around and push off when you throw," said Hasselbeck afterwards."

The Seahawks injury list took another hit on defense, with Grant Wistrom suffering a sprained left knee late in the fourth quarter. Wistrom had to be helped off the field and was carted to the locker room for examination.

The Seahawks offensive line played without Steve Hutchinson, who was sidelined with the flu, and Chris Terry, who is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Jerry Wunsch stepped in for Hutchinson at left guard and Floyd Womack took over for Terry at right tackle. The substitutions didn't hurt the team's ground game, with Shaun Alexander gaining 112 yards on 27 carries, and the offense gained 455 total yards to 374 for the Vikings.

The game didn't have a great start for the Seahawks, who found themselves in an early 10-0 hole in the first quarter. After the Vikings scored on a field goal, the Seahawks had a chance to tie the game on a 38-yard field goal. But Josh Brown hooked it and the ball sailed wide left, breaking a streak of 16-consecutive field goals made this season.

Minnesota answered with a 6-play drive that saw Marcus Trufant whistled for pass interference on the first play, a 31-yard penalty that put the ball at the Seattle 41. Five plays later Ontario Smith's 5-yard run into the endzone increased the Vikings' lead to 10-0.

The Seahawks used a very efficient offense in their next two possessions. The first was a 6-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Hasselbeck's 35-yard strike to a wide open Bobby Engram, who sailed untouched into the endzone. 10-7 Vikings entering the second quarter.

Hasselbeck was 4-for-4 passing in the next possession, hitting Alexander with a 12-yard touchdown completion for a 14-10 Seattle lead. The drive was highlighted by a 36-yard completion to tight end Ryan Hannam to the Vikings 12.

Minnesota answered with a field goal, and then got the ball back when cornerback Brian Williams intercepted a Hasselbeck pass intended for Jackson at the Seattle 49. The Vikings used a 10-play drive that ended with a 3-yard pass to Randy Moss in the endzone to take a 20-14 lead.

A 37-yard kick return by Maurice Morris to the Seattle 40 helped set up another quick touchdown drive. Hasselbeck was 3-for-3 for 46 yards on that drive, with his 19-yard pass to a wide-open Jackson in the endzone giving the Seahawks a 21-20 lead at halftime.

The third quarter saw the Vikings get their second interception of the game, this time free safety Brian Russells picked off a pass intended for Jerheme Urban and returned it to the Seattle 41. Minnesota converted the turnover into an eventual 31-yard field goal to take a 23-21 lead.

The Seahawks came back with a 9-play, 60-yard drive, with Josh Brown's 33-yard field goal putting the Seahawks back on top 24-23.

And the 'Hawks defense would make sure that lead would stick.

Both teams would trade possessions entering the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks forced a break their way when Niko Koutouvides pressured Culpepper on the snap at the Minnesota 26, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Rashad Moore. The Seahawks then burned nearly three minutes off the clock, and a 28-yard field goal extended the lead to 27-23.

The Vikings got a break on their following drive when Seahawks free safety Marquand Manuel was called for defensive pass interference in an incompletion to Randy Moss. That spotted the ball at the Seattle 31 with under three minutes to play. Michael Bennet's 11-yard run up the middle to the 20 gave the Vikings a first down with barely two minutes remaining.

Time enough for Michael Boulware to shut down any scoring threat.

Boulware perfectly read Randy Moss' pass into the endzone and timed his leap for the clean interception, giving the Seahawks the ball at their own 20 with a little over two minutes to play.

"This will give us confidence," said Boulware. "We've been down, but we know that we'll never give up."

Facing a 3rd and 7 at their own 23, the Vikings expected the run while the Seahawks elected for the pass, with Hasselbeck's 37-yard bomb finding Darrell Jackson in stride down the right sideline for a huge first down.

"Mike called a huge play; they were expecting a run and we made a huge play," said Hasselbeck on Holmgren's call for the 3rd-down pass. "We've been in situations this year where we've played conservative and it's come back to bite us."

The Seahawks kept the ball on the ground to eat up the clock and punted away with under a minute remaining in the game.

The Vikings were out of timeouts and used a hurry-up offense to pull to the Seattle 28. Culpepper spiked the ball with four seconds to play, and on the final play he was brought down by Antonio Cochran to end the game. Culpepper got up and threw an incompletion into the endzone to Jermaine Wiggins, but Culpepper's knee had touched the ground prior to the throw.

"It happened right in front of me," said Holmgren on the final play. "I saw Culpepper go down and I ran out there and hugged Cochran. The referee was close to me and I heard him say 'game over'."

And as topsy turvy as the season has been for the Seahawks, it's really no surprise that they come away with the win. Last week they lose a heartbreaker they were favored to win. This week they win a shootout in which they were the underdog.

The Seahawks locker room was a very happy place following the game.

"It would be louder in there if everyone wasn't so 'danged tired," said Holmgren afterwards.

"I'm very, very proud of the players."