Notebook: Power, Pro Bowls Provide Boost

The Seahawks got some good news Tuesday morning when work crews restored power to team headquarters following a brutal windstorm. The team had been without power since suffering a 24-14 loss to the 49ers on Thursday night last week.

The power outage provided appropriate symbolism for a team that has fallen from the ranks of NFC contenders.

Seattle leads the NFC West by two games with two to play, but the Seahawks have played poorly enough to raise the possibility of losing out. If the Seahawks lose to the Chargers at home and Bucs on the road, the 49ers could win the division by beating Arizona and Denver.

That would mark one of the bigger collapses in team history. The 1999 Seahawks went from 8-2 to 9-7, but they still managed to win the AFC West division. Miami beat that team in the first round of the playoffs, Dan Marino's final victory as an NFL quarterback.

Seattle moved to the NFC West in 2002, a move that has been very kind to the Seahawks. The team won 11 consecutive division games until suffering a 20-14 loss in San Francisco last month. The team has now lost three consecutive division games, falling to the Cardinals and 49ers over the last two weeks.

The ongoing slide was bad enough. Losing power made things even worse, particularly with the 12-2 Chargers coming to tow. The Seahawks would have had a hard time functioning had power remained out deep into the week. Coaches had been watching video with help from generators, but the team remained without enough power to run its kitchen and locker room at full capacity.

Getting power restored gave the team a lift. Getting four players on the Pro Bowl team didn't hurt, either. Left tackle Walter Jones, fullback Mack Strong, outside linebacker Julian Peterson and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu made the NFC squad despite what is shaping up as a disappointing season for the defending conference champs.

Jones, Strong and Tatupu are not enjoying particularly strong seasons. Peterson has been a rare bright spot, leading NFC linebackers with nine sacks. The Seahawks need their best players - Jones, Strong and Tatupu among them - to pick up the slack in the final two games.

Otherwise, the Seahawks could be looking at a first-round playoff exit, or worse. Missing the playoffs is not out of the question.


--QB Matt Hasselbeck has been sacked more times in 10 games (27) than he was in 16 games last season (24). The protection hasn't been as good. The ground game hasn't taken heat off him the way it did in the past. Seattle has started seven combinations on its offensive line.

--RB Shaun Alexander will almost certainly fall short of 1,000 yards rushing for the first time since his rookie season, when Ricky Watters was the starter. He needs 336 yards over the final two games to reach 1,000 yards. Alexander had also scored at least 15 touchdowns in five consecutive seasons. That streak will end as well.

--FB Mack Strong is headed to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Strong was very much deserving when he went after the 2005 season, but his play has dropped off amid injuries to himself and others on offense.

--TE Will Heller is getting a few snaps at tight end and fullback, but he is not playing a significant role in the offense. Seattle used six two-TE sets against the 49ers, a season-high for a game this season. Heller will continue to be the second tight end while Itula Mili recovers from a concussion. Mili's status is not known.

--TE Jerramy Stevens ranks second on the team with four touchdown receptions, but he could be entering his final two games as a member of the Seahawks. Stevens' contract expires after the season. He put up good numbers in 2005, but this season has been a disappointment.

--WR Deion Branch continues to stick to split end in his first season with the team. Seattle moved Nate Burleson into the flanker spot when Darrell Jackson went down with a toe injury. D.J. Hackett is playing the slot position from some three-wide sets.

--WR Darrell Jackson is not expected to play Sunday against the Chargers. He might not play in the regular-season finale in Tampa Bay, either. A turf-toe injury has knocked Jackson from the lineup.

--WR D.J. Hackett remains a focal point in the offense and that won't change as long as he keeps producing. With Darrell Jackson sidelined by injury, Hackett should continue to get plenty of chances even with Bobby Engram coming back from a thyroid condition.

--LB Julian Peterson leads NFC linebackers with nine sacks, one reason he's headed to the Pro Bowl in his first season with Seattle. Peterson was a two-time Pro Bowl choice with the 49ers.

--SS Jordan Babineaux will split time with SS Michael Boulware, who is being given another chance to get on the field after allowing several big plays earlier in the season.

--CB Marcus Trufant is enjoying one of his better seasons. He has not risen to a Pro Bowl level, but he is solid. Trufant can be a very good tackler. His speed and proper use of angles allows him to chase down players from anywhere on the field. Top Stories