Notebook: Seahawks Win Despite Flaws (Again)

Notebook: Seahawks Win Despite Flaws (Again)

The Seahawks are not playing particularly well. They are not playing with much consistency. But they are winning, and that's what counts. The team finds itself 8-4 and holding a three-game lead in the NFC West with four games to play.

That's more than Seattle could have expected after losing Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander and several other starters for long stretches. The Seahawks should continue getting healthier as the playoffs approach. Right tackle Sean Locklear could be the next starter back, providing a boost to the pass protection.

As long as Hasselbeck and Alexander are healthy, Seattle will have a chance to pull out games even when things aren't going great. That's what happened in Denver on Sunday night. The offense sputtered through three-plus quarters, only to come alive when it mattered.

"When we had to have some stuff at the end, we got it," coach Mike Holmgren said.

Hasselbeck found Darrell Jackson for gains of 27 and 33 yards, setting up Alexander's go-ahead touchdown run. Alexander's clutch 8-yard run set up Josh Brown for the winning 50-yard field goal. The overall performance wasn't pretty, but the Seahawks showed they still know how to pull out a victory against a flawed opponent.

Which brings us to Seattle's schedule. The team visits Arizona this week before coming home for a Thursday night game against the 49ers. Those games stand between Seattle and a 10-4 record. Given the schedule, and given the Giants' loss Sunday, Seattle is in strong position to make a run at the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

The Seahawks showed mettle in bouncing back from the Broncos' 71-yard touchdown pass in the final three minutes. The touchdown tied the game at 20-20 while giving the momentum to Denver. Hasselbeck calmly moved the Seahawks down the field, and Brown made his fourth game-winning kick of the season.

"That's devastating to a lot of teams," tight end Jerramy Stevens said of the Broncos' 71-yard score. "We got enough resiliency and we've been there enough times that we can still get it done, keep us in the playoff run and get us where we want to go."

The Seahawks hadn't won in Denver since 1995. The Broncos had won their last 12 home games in December. All signs pointed to another Seahawks defeat. And when Broncos running back Tatum Bell topped 100 yards in the first half, the Seahawks seemed doomed.

"Coming into Denver and playing the Broncos here in this environment is a tough task for any team," Holmgren said. "I was very proud of our guys.

"We couldn't do much at all against their defense early. In fact, we just had a couple things going for us all night offensively, but our defense kept us in the game. We got some turnovers and then at the end of the game, coming out, the guys did a nice job of moving the football to put us in position for the long field goal."

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Shaun Alexander scored his first touchdown since returning from a broken foot. His 1-yard run ended a string of 20 consecutive passing touchdowns for the Seattle offense.

--K Josh Brown tied an NFL single-season record Sunday with his fourth winning field goal in the final minute. Brown had missed twice earlier in the game, but his 50-yarder with five seconds left was the difference for Seattle.

--FB Mack Strong suffered an ankle injury of unknown severity Sunday night. He tried to return, but could not play well enough to stay in the game. The team went with TE Will Heller at fullback down the stretch.

--TE Will Heller saw extended playing time at fullback Sunday after Mack Strong suffered an ankle injury. Strong tried to return, but could not move well enough. Seattle went away from its base offense as a result.

--DE Darryl Tapp's 25-yard interception return for a touchdown kept Seattle in the game during the first half Sunday. Tapp caught the ball in stride and raced for the end zone untouched.

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