Hawks Kick Themselves

The Seahawks were on fire Sunday at Husky Stadium but ended in a fizzle after Rian Lindell missed his second field goal of the day - a 29-yarder late in the fourth quarter that would have brought the Hawks within 1. The Seahawks were down 24-20 and faced fourth-and-four from the 12. Rather than go for it, coach/GM Mike Holmgren opted to kick what seemed to be a sure field goal. He wanted to rely on a steady defense to get the ball back from Miami and use his timeouts ...

to march down field in less than two minutes and kick the winning field goal. The way the defense had played; the way the offense had moved the ball - it seemed logical. But Lindell's kick went wide and Miami ended the game with quarterback Jay Fiedler taking a knee in the remaining seconds after converting a third down on a naked bootleg that faked out the defense and ended any hope of a comeback.

Lindell may have felt much of the blame for missing two field goals that could have won the game, but it wasn't completely his fault. Seattle played a solid game overall but were hurt by a handful of bad plays.

Cornerback Willie Williams showed that he is a gamer when he intercepted a Jay Fiedler pass on the second play of the game. Seattle quickly marched the ball deep into Miami's red zone, but Lindell missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. He was 2 of 4 on the day.

On the next Miami series, it was Williams again who made a big play. After Chad Brown sacked Fiedler for an 11-yard loss on first down, Williams picked off a pass intended for Chris Chambers. Seattle's offense, which was moving the ball well most of the day, marched to the Miami 36-yard line, where they faced a 2nd and 1. The give to Alexander proved fatal, as a hard hit by linebacker Zach Thomas jarred the ball loose. After a lengthy review of the play, the ball was given to Miami, which resulted in a late first quarter drive that gave Miami a the first score on a 45-yard Olindo Mare field goal.

Charlie Rogers returned the ensuing kickoff to the 30 and Alexander, who received a talking-to from Holmgren on the sidelines after the previous fumble, ran for five yards on his first carry. But then on the next play, Alexander fumbled the ball again and Miami recovered. At this point, Hasselbeck had completed four straight passes; the offense was on a roll, but couldn't find the end zone.

Neither could Miami, as Matt Turk punted the ball into the end zone for a touchback on the next series. Then Seattle went three-and-out and Miami put together a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive where Fiedler fumbled the ball shortly before crossing the plane of the goal line. When the smoke cleared and the pile of bodies receded, running back Travis Minor was in the end zone with the ball in tow and Mare's extra point put Miami on top 10-0.

After another three-and-out, Jeff Feagles punted for Seattle and big-play rookie Alex Bannister forced a fumble on the return that was recovered by Seattle at the Dolphin 28. Finally it looked as if the Seahawks would get on the board, and they did on a 15 yard pass to tight end Itula Mili, which marked the first regular season touchdown pass in Hasselbeck's career and Mili's second TD of the season. Hasselbeck threw another touchdown on the next Hawks series to Darrell Jackson - a 17 yarder that was set up by passes to Bobby Engram, Koren Robinson and a run by Alexander. Suddenly the Hawks had taken a 14-10 lead and appeared to have overcome their previous setbacks as they headed into halftime with the lead.

Seattle opened the second half with a 15-play, 59-yard drive that set up a 36-yard Lindell field goal and gave them a seven-point lead. But Miami tied the game on the next drive, where Seattle's defense nearly pulled out a miracle: from first-and-goal on the 1, Miami backup quarterback Ray Lucas couldn't punch the ball across the goal line in two tries. On third down however, ex-Seahawk Lamar Smith edged over the plane and a review by referees confirmed the score.

In the fourth quarter, Miami scored another touchdown and Seattle a field goal. Overall though, the Hawks made a handful of mistakes at inopportune times, such as the two Alexander fumbles and the two missed field goals. Bobby Engram missed a pass on third and 17 late in the game that would have given Seattle a first down in Miami's red zone. He was wide open and normally makes those types of plays. There was the illegal procedure call on Chris Gray late in the game that was part of Seattle's last drive where they fell short and opted for the field goal attempt on fourth-and-four. Steve Hutchinson was called for a rare hold-ing penalty. Ken Lucas was beat deep on a third-and-long pass play where he slipped as the ball was in the air.

There were a handful of mistakes that shouldn't be overshadowed by the heads-up play of guys like Bannister, who seems to make big plays every week and forced a fumble on special teams. Reggie Tongue scooped up a fumble late in the game forced by Ike Charlton, which is what made the final Lindell field goal a possibility in the first place. There were no serious injuries. Seattle is playing well on both sides of the ball and some of the breaks didn't go their way Sunday. At least they are playing at a high level and the games are exciting to watch.

That's football for you. Look out Washington.

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