Notebook: Defense Sets the Tone

The Seahawks regained their defensive swagger by beating up on the Raiders' inept offense Monday night. Confidence and attitude can be everything for a defense, so the Seahawks counted this as progress even though the opponent was badly overmatched.

The 16-0 shutout featured nine Seattle sacks, something the Seahawks will try to build upon heading into their game against the Rams.

"Our defense had a few things to prove, and I think they played very, very hard and very, very smart, which is something we need to do," coach Mike Holmgren said.

The Seahawks forced the Raiders to punt 10 times, a season high for the Raiders and as many as they had in their two previous games combined. Oakland never came close to the end zone. Seattle needed this kind of performance from its defense after allowing 499 yards and 30 first downs in Kansas City a week earlier.

"We've been getting talked bad about the last few weeks or so, and rightfully so," defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "So it was about time that we started showing a little bit of the reasons why (team president) Tim Ruskell brought us in here."

Oakland's longest pass play covered 18 yards.

"I did talk to the defensive team and the defensive staff (last) Monday because I really believe they are capable of playing better than we had been playing," Holmgren said. "I think they are athletic enough. We just have to bear down and be smart on how we do things.

"They took it to heart. They have a lot of pride. They concentrated and they prepared well."

The Raiders' offensive line is a dream for any opponent. Seattle defensive coordinator John Marshall blitzed early and often, with little fear of giving up the big play. Cornerback Marcus Trufant and free safety Ken Hamlin were on the same page when defending the deep ball, a good sign after weeks of breakdowns. For all the Raiders' problems, Randy Moss remains a home-run threat, allowing Seattle's secondary to take something positive from the matchup.

Seattle gets a much stiffer test against the Rams in Week 10. Rams receiver Torry Holt beat the Seahawks for a critical 67-yard touchdown last month. Seattle escaped with a 30-28 victory thanks to a last- second field goal, but the defense did not hold up its end.

"We know in our locker room, in our meeting rooms, we haven't played well, and that's all that really matters," defensive end Grant Wistrom said. "We have a lot of talent. We were expected to step up with Shaun (Alexander) and Matt (Hasselbeck) down to win some football games for us. We didn't do that at all last week. So we really needed to come out and play well, and fortunately we did."


--Defensive tackle Craig Terrill cheered up teammates following the Super Bowl by jamming on stage with team owner Paul Allen's band. Terrill plays guitar in a band of his own, and he was back on stage three nights before Seattle's victory over Oakland on Monday. Terrill went on to play a number on the Raiders' offensive line, collecting three first-half sacks. He celebrated with a mock guitar riff patterned after Pete Townshend of The Who.

"That was about all I had for tonight but I'm going to have to come up with something," Terrill said afterward. Sack dances haven't been particularly relevant for Terrill. Though a skilled interior pass rusher, he entered the game with two sacks in 25 previous regular-season games.

--The Raiders' best shot Monday night was a knee to the groin. Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens was on the receiving end of a blow that led to Tyler Brayton's fourth-quarter ejection.
"Football is a rough sport," Stevens said. "I was getting at him a little bit, and he started getting upset about getting beat. It happens. ... We were running the ball right at him every play, and he couldn't make the play. He only has the film to look at."

Stevens didn't exactly play a great game. He dropped a pass in the end zone and committed a taunting penalty of his own. But that didn't stop Stevens from rubbing the loss in Brayton's face.
"We were out there playing football, and it wasn't anything said," Stevens continued. "It was him getting beat on plays. I was trying to get away from the situation.
"He was obviously upset because he couldn't make the play. So I was out there trying to get away, not get a penalty, not hurt the team. I was shocked that he really tried to do that, but what am I to say?"


--QB Matt Hasselbeck will likely miss one more game before returning from a sprained knee. Backup Seneca Wallace is playing effectively in Hasselbeck's absence. The team won't rush Hasselbeck onto the field. Seattle is generally conservative with injury timelines.

--RB Shaun Alexander underwent an MRI exam Tuesday that could determine whether he plays against the Rams on Sunday.

--LG Floyd Womack returned to the lineup Monday night and had some problems with Raiders DT Warren Sapp. Womack played better than he had early in the season, however, and the ground game enjoyed its best performance of the season with more than 200 yards.

--WR Bobby Engram missed the Oakland game Monday night as he continued to recover from a thyroid condition. Engram has yet to gain back all of the weight he lost in the early stages of the condition. Seattle is strong at receiver, diminishing the impact of Engram's absence. D.J. Hackett has stepped up his game in Engram's place.

--WR Nate Burleson had punt returns of 16 and 17 yards against the Raiders in his first full game as the return man. Burleson replaced CB Jimmy Williams in a move the team had not announced. Burleson hasn't done much as a receiver, but he was effective as a returner. Burleson did see his offensive playing time increase against the Raiders. Top Stories