Seahawks Welcome Several Starters Back

The Seahawks expect to welcome back quarterback Matt Hasselbeck following a three-game injury absence. Center Robbie Tobeck, receiver Bobby Engram and right tackle Sean Locklear also could be back from various ailments.

"I think it makes everybody's life easier (to get guys back)," coach Mike Holmgren said. "It doesn't guarantee them anything, but it certainly is the team you expect to put out on the field for the most part. Now, having said that, injuries are a part of this business.

"But if you ask me if I feel better when they are all there, absolutely."

Hasselbeck was back at practice last week, albeit in a backup role. He served as the No. 3 quarterback while Seneca Wallace was tossing three interceptions during a 20-14 loss in San Francisco on Sunday. Hasselbeck is expected to start getting reps with the starters this week as Seattle prepares to face Green Bay on Monday night.

Seattle is 2-2 without Hasselbeck and 3-3 without running back Shaun Alexander, who returned against the 49ers.

"I am a little disappointed (in those records), to be honest with you," Holmgren said. "We've had some substitutes in there, but I don't think we have played very well at times. I think we have been undisciplined, I think we weren't great assignment-wise on occasion. I was hoping for better."

Wallace initially played well enough for Seattle to win, but he struggled during the loss to the 49ers. Wallace tossed three interceptions, including two on the first three drives, as Seattle fell behind 20-0 at halftime.

"He'll look at the film and he'll wonder why he did some of those things because he has not played the game that way when he has been playing," Holmgren said. "And Sunday, while he made some excellent throws -- the touchdown pass to Darrell Jackson was as pretty a pass as anyone could throw anywhere -- there were a couple he would want back.

"You see it every week in the league and it's hard to explain why a quarterback gets a little careless, and we did that yesterday. He is not expected to win the game by himself, ever. But at the same time, that position has a lot of responsibility and he has handled it very well, he really has. But (Sunday) was tough."

Counting second-half numbers against Minnesota (after Hasselbeck was injured), Wallace has completed 82 of 141 passes for 927 yards. He has eight touchdowns and seven interceptions, good for a 76.2 rating.

Wallace's numbers as a starter are better: 67 of 114 passing for 787 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. His rating as a starter is 84.9, but his record fell to 2-2 with the Seahawks' first divisional loss since the 2004 season.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Coach Mike Holmgren apologized to the team Monday for the manner in which he ripped them in the locker room after the team's 20-14 loss in San Francisco. The team deserved a good dressing down after giving up five turnovers and 262 yards rushing, but Holmgren felt he crossed the line in his treatment of players.

"It was hard, it was bad," Holmgren said. "In fact, I talked to them about it today when I talked to the team today. I don't like doing that. I really don't, and I said some things I wasn't too proud of.

"In essence, I said, 'I'm not going to do that again with you guys.' I don't feel good about it when I go home at night. I just don't want to do that anymore. But it was a little grim in there."

DE Grant Wistrom said he understood. "We played horrible, we deserved to get our butts chewed," Wistrom said. "I was surprised when he came and apologized to us, quite honestly. But we deserved everything he said, and I don't think he said anything that was out of line. You play that poorly in the first half, you obviously expect to get chewed on a little bit."

--Have the Seahawks surrendered dominance in the NFC West following their loss in San Francisco on Sunday? Not yet. But their 11-game division winning streak is over, and now the 49ers have some hope.

"It's huge," said former Seattle quarterback Trent Dilfer, now a backup with San Francisco. "They're the best team in the division and if you want to contend, you have to win these types of games at home and you have to earn the right to play in more big games. That's why it was so big for us."

Seattle had posted six consecutive victories over the 49ers dating to the 2002 season.

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to return Monday night against Green Bay. He has missed the last four games with a knee injury.

--RB Shaun Alexander felt fine Monday and should see increased work now that his broken left foot is not bothering him.

--RB Maurice Morris carried only two times against the 49ers as starter Shaun Alexander returned from a foot injury. The team wanted him to handle every third series, but with only 54 total plays, there weren't enough to go around.

--QB Seneca Wallace suffered three interceptions in his worst start of the season. The team expects Matt Hasselbeck to retake the starting job this week. Wallace's errors played a pivotal role in the Seahawks' loss to the 49ers.

--TE Jerramy Stevens continues to struggle. Against the 49ers on Sunday, he dropped a pass on third-and-9 and lost a fumble after an 18-yard gain. The 49ers turned the turnover into a field goal that gave then a 20-0 lead at halftime.

--QB Seneca Wallace was not with the team Monday. He was tending to his mother, who is ill. She is with him in the Seattle area.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. 49ERS

PASSING OFFENSE: D --
QB Seneca Wallace set the tone with two interceptions on the Seahawks' first three drives. His errors kept the defense on the field too long. Wallace tossed a third interception late in the game, when the pass protection also broke down. TE Jerramy Stevens dropped a key third-and-9 pass. He also lost a fumble following an 18-yard catch late in the first half, setting up the 49ers for a field goal that gave them a 20-0 lead.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F --
The Seahawks worked RB Shaun Alexander back into the lineup. He didn't find much rhythm because he wasn't on the field long enough. It also seemed as though the line might need some time to get re-accustomed to Alexander's running style. The line started working well with Maurice Morris in recent weeks. Morris is more of a hit-the-hole runner. Alexander stops and starts a little more. Seattle had big problems with 49ers DT Bryant Young (and friends) in this game. The team lost yardage on a key fourth-and-1 run late in the game, killing a promising drive.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Seahawks generally prevented against the big pass play, a top priority. The 49ers did strike with one deep pass, but a holding penalty wiped it away. Seattle's pass rush was not particularly effective largely because the Seahawks had to respect the 49ers' ground game. The 49ers' tackles also seemed to engulf Seattle's smaller defensive ends.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Seattle allowed 262 yards rushing, including runs of 51, 50, 23, 20 and 17 yards. The Seahawks' defensive speed worked against them at times. They often overran 49ers RB Frank Gore, who set a team record with 212 yards on the ground. Problems on offense left the defense on the field too long, but the 49ers averaged 9.6 yards per carry on first-and-10. There's no excuse for that.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The special teams continued to show improvement by avoiding mistakes. Rookie P Ryan Plackemeier posted a 44.6-yard net average on five punts. WR Nate Burleson nearly broke another long punt return, but the 49ers stopped him after 15 yards. Plackemeier also dropped three punts inside the 20.

COACHING: B -- Seattle did not seem ready to play emotionally, at least on defense. Is that the coaches' fault? Perhaps, although COACH Mike Holmgren stressed the importance of the game all week. Holmgren got burned with a fourth-and-1 play call that lost yardage. On defense, the blitz calls failed to get consistent pressure. The staff was unable to find a way to stop Gore, but the players appeared mostly to blame for this one.


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