After all, Hasselbeck is playing with sore ribs that he suffered
in a win over Chicago two games ago, and the injury clearly affected him in Sunday's
win over St. Louis. After the game, Hasselbeck was in the bathroom retching multiple
times. He only practiced one day last week.
Also, backup Seneca Wallace has looked extremely sharp in practice recently, especially
the week that he stood in for Hasselbeck while the starter was resting and rehabbing
And with Arizona booting away that game to San Francisco, the Seahawks now hold
a two-game lead in the division, with the Cardinals forced to play the surprising
Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Phoenix.
In Philadelphia, there is some question whether Donovan McNabb is healthy enough
to play, and certainly that team will be distracted by a quarterback controversy
this week after A.J. Feeley nearly led the Eagles to an upset of New England on
But regardless of what happens in Philadelphia and in Phoenix on Sunday, the Seahawks
will have a chance to extend their lead back to at least two games if they beat
the Cardinals at Qwest Field, where the Seahawks are 5-1. With three games left
after that, it would be very difficult at that point to lose the division and
the automatic playoff berth that comes with it.
So it may make sense for Hasselbeck to be completely healthy for that game and
for the stretch run as they head into the playoffs, rather than Sunday's game
against a tough NFC East opponent that likes to blitz, as it did successfully
against New England.
However, coach Mike Holmgren said he is not going to consider that possibility
as long as Hasselbeck is able to play, even if he is restricted in practice this
"We have not won anything yet," Holmgren said, adding that once the
team clinches the division title he may consider resting Hasselbeck, but not until
--For the second consecutive week, DE Patrick Kerney had three sacks, and for
the third consecutive week, he forced a fumble. Kerney, the team's biggest offseason
acquisition, also had an interception. Kerney had only 4.5 sacks through the
first nine weeks, but now he leads the team with 10.5 sacks, doing his best
to earn his $39.5 million contract. Oddly, he accomplished all this after straining
his oblique. "I'm just able to reap the benefits of everybody else's hard
work; sacks are a team thing and lately I've just been the beneficiary,"
Kerney said. "It's been a great job by our coverage and by the defensive
line pinning the guy in for me."
--Defensive coordinator John Marshall installed a new goal-line defense last
week that was more focused on man-to-man coverage and gap control. It was that
defense that Marshall called on Seattle's final play of its victory over St.
Louis on Sunday. Rams QB Gus Frerotte fumbled the snap, which made the running
play for Steven Jackson fall apart before it ever got started. But the Seahawks
felt they would have stopped the play anyway because they knew where the ball
was going and they were set up properly. "It never got tested," Brian Russell said, "but we were in the position to stuff the play. I'm confident
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--It is not yet certain if RB Shaun Alexander will practice this week after
suffering a sprained knee that has kept him out for two straight games. If he
practices Wednesday, he has a chance to play Sunday against Philadelphia.
--WR D.J. Hackett re-injured a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 1 and is
out at least two weeks.
--LB Lofa Tatupu has sore ribs rather than the oblique injury that the Seahawks
originally thought. Tatupu should be ready to play Sunday.
--QB Matt Hasselbeck has sore ribs and may be limited in practice this week.
He is expected to play Sunday against Philadelphia.
--RB Maurice Morris injured his neck when he was face-masked in Sunday's game
but is expected to play this week in Philadelphia.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
REPORT CARD VS. RAMS
PASSING OFFENSE: C -- This portion of Seattle's offense never seemed to get
in a rhythm primarily because St. Louis sent just about everybody on the field
to pressure Matt Hasselbeck, who was sacked five times and hurried nine. Hasselbeck
was 21-for-38 for 249 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His receivers,
including Deion Branch and Nate Burleson, also dropped a few passes.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Seahawks totaled just 87 yards, 46 of which came on
one draw play -- though, admittedly, that play was hugely important because
it loosened up St. Louis' defense. The other positive was that the Seahawks
rushed for a touchdown for the third consecutive week, this one coming by fullback
Leonard Weaver after Maurice Morris went to the sideline after being face-masked.
PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- Though it gave up a touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte
to Isaac Bruce, it generally held Frerotte in check; Marcus Trufant picked him
off once. The pass rush knocked Marc Bulger from the game early and was able
to record four sacks, three by Patrick Kerney, who also forced a fumble.
RUSH OFFENSE: A-minus -- It gave up a 53-yard touchdown run to Steven Jackson,
though that in large part came about because the defense was blitzing. More
important, it had two goal-line stands in which it did not give up a touchdown,
including the final set of downs, when the Rams had first-and-goal from the
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Josh Wilson gets an A for his 89-yard kickoff return in
the first quarter that kept Seattle in the game when it was trailing 9-0. But
Josh Brown gets an F for two missed field-goal attempts, including one with
less than three minutes to go that would have sealed at least a tie if St. Louis
COACHING: B -- Mike Holmgren made some nice halftime adjustments to keep the
pressure off Hasselbeck, including pulling out the hurry-up offense, going to
the draw play -- including the 46-yarder by Morris -- and calling plays for
Hasselbeck to roll out. Defensive coordinator John Marshall's unit held the
Rams scoreless in the second half.