News & Notes - Alexander Not Ready Yet

Running back Shaun Alexander could miss a couple more games while his broken foot heals, although the league MVP is feeling good. "If you would talk to him, he would say, 'Hey, put me in,'" coach Mike Holmgren said Monday. "But that's not how it works with this type of injury."

The Seahawks finally got their running game going in the second half of their 30-28 victory over the Rams on Sunday. It wasn't pretty and the production was sporadic, but backup Maurice Morris made just enough plays for the offense to have balance.

Morris is finding out what Alexander learned earlier this season: Seattle's blocking isn't what it was last season. The big question is how much better Alexander will fare when he is healthy. He had been playing with the foot injury since the season opener.

The team doesn't want to risk further injury.

"It appears as though it will be a couple more weeks," Holmgren said. "I met with him today and he's feeling great and really is champing at the bit to come back. Thinks he could practice.

"In meeting with the doctors and trainers, they took some more pictures, it is healing up, it's right on schedule, but they are going to play it safe. He probably won't be ready to go this week."
Alexander described himself as a quick healer.

"With that type of injury, even though some players are known as fast healers on different types of injuries, the bone really has to knit and the crack has to knit," Holmgren said. "I'm not so sure there is a lot of difference between players that way.

"When doctors say this type of injury takes 'X' amount of weeks -- even though a player may feel as though he is ready to play, and some people have put players out on the field a little earlier -- in Shaun's case, because he is a running back and because we can't afford to have him re-injure that if we can avoid it, we're going to err on the side of caution."

NOTES, QUOTES

--There was no teary-eyed reunion between Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren and former linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski, now with the Rams. Holmgren wasn't happy when Kacyvenski signed with the Rams instead of coming back to the Seahawks, who released him to add depth at running back before the team's Oct. 1 game at Chicago.

"I'm sure I'll see him down the road somewhere and be able to shake his hand," Kacyvenski said after Seattle's 30-28 victory in St. Louis on Sunday. Kacyvenski was one of the Seahawks' special-teams captains at the time of his release.

"The whole thing with 'Kaz,' the way it all went down, was a little bit of a distraction for our players -- for me for sure -- because of what I think of Kaz and what he means to our team," Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "I tried my best to block that out and focus on playing their defense. I really wish him all the best and wish him well and I'm happy he's found a spot here in St. Louis where they seem like they want him and they're excited to have him."

Kacyvenski had a chance to catch up with long-time friends on the field after the game.

"After the game, everyone -- pretty much it felt like the whole team -- came up and had good things to say," Kacyvenski said.

--Kicker Josh Brown came within two uprights of a perfect performance against the Rams. He made kicks from 54, 49 and 49 yards, but a 34-yard try bounced off the left upright, then the right one before falling short. Rookie holder Ryan Plackemeier took the fall for the lone miss.

"Blame it on the hold," Plackemeier said while Brown addressed the play with reporters following the game. "I didn't get the laces around."

Brown continued answering the question. "For whatever reason, we didn't make it," the fourth-year kicker said. "I didn't get the laces around," Plackemeier persisted.

Brown never did push the blame onto his holder. But he did seem to appreciate Plackemeier's input. "I don't have to do my own interviews now," Brown said.

PLAYER NOTES

--TE Jerramy Stevens practiced all week, but his surgically repaired knee did not feel good enough for him to play against the Rams. The Seahawks hope to have Stevens back on the field for their game against Minnesota this week. Stevens became a key component of the offense last season. He has not played since suffering torn cartilage midway through training camp.

--RB Shaun Alexander is not expected to return from his broken foot for at least two more weeks. Alexander has missed the last two games. He struggled through the first three games after injuring the foot in the season opener at Detroit. Alexander, 29, had not missed a game before this season.

--CB Marcus Trufant was in coverage for one of three touchdowns by Rams WR Torry Holt. He had no safety help on the play because FS Ken Hamlin was blitzing. Hamlin's blitz seemed poorly timed, and Rams RB Steven Jackson blocked him without much trouble.

--LB Kevin Bentley might not have been active Sunday had the Seahawks not released LB Isaiah Kacyvenski two weeks ago. Bentley recovered a pivotal Rams fumble during a kick return in the second half. The turnover led to the touchdown that gave Seattle its first lead of the game.

--K Josh Brown enhanced his free-agent prospects by making clutch kicks from 49, 49 and 54 yards against the Rams. Brown has made two game-winning kicks as time expired this season, including his 54-yarder Sunday. Brown has also improved his kickoff depth.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. RAMS

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus --
QB Matt Hasselbeck tossed three TD passes without an interception. His 42-yard strike to WR Darrell Jackson in the end zone got Seattle back in the game after a sluggish first half. The pass protection also improved. Seattle started picking up the Rams' blitzes, allowing Hasselbeck to make plays downfield. Once that happened, the Rams backed off on their blitzes, taking pressure off the Seahawks' offensive line. WR Deion Branch caught two TD passes in a breakout performance.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Seattle gained 121 of its 125 rushing yards in the second half, but RB Maurice Morris lost a key red-zone fumble when Seattle was trying to put away the game in the final three minutes. The fumble set up the go-ahead touchdown for the Rams. Seattle also had a 32-yard TD run wiped out by a holding penalty against LG Chris Spencer.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- The Seahawks gave up too many long pass plays, a continuing problem against teams with strong-armed quarterbacks. The Rams passed for 360 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead 67-yard scoring pass in the final two minutes. Seattle did manage to collect six sacks, including a key takedown to end the second half. DE Bryce Fisher and LB Julian Peterson had two sacks apiece, and MLB Lofa Tatupu picked off a pass, the first time Rams QB Marc Bulger had been intercepted this season.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Seattle held Rams RB Steven Jackson to fewer than 3.0 yards per carry, with a long run of nine yards. MLB Lofa Tatupu made a few key tackles to prevent longer gains, and DT Marcus Tubbs dominated at the line of scrimmage. The Rams still made their share of plays downfield in the passing game, but the run defense was mostly stout from start to finish.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- K Josh Brown made the winning 54-yard field goal, plus two 49-yarders, and Seattle recovered a key second-half fumble on a Rams kickoff return. The punting was again mediocre as rookie P Ryan Plackemeier finished with a net average below 35 yards. Brown has now made two game-winners in five games this season.

COACHING: A-minus -- Players credited Mike Holmgren's halftime tirade for jolting them back to form following a brutal first two quarters. Holmgren told the players, point-blank, that they were not leaving St. Louis without a victory -- this despite a 21-7 halftime deficit. Rah-rah speeches work in moderation and this one clearly got the job done. Seattle also smartly recommitted to its two-back, two-receiver offense. The team used only one four-wide set after using 42 of them in the last two games. The change allowed Seattle to rediscover its identity on offense.


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