Holmgren talks about victory over Cincinnati

It was back and forth as many had predicted. However, it wasn't as high-scoring as the experts thought it would be and it took a gutsy final drive with a touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson with one minute remaining to pull out a thrilling 24-21 victory in front of 64,000 crazed fans at Qwest Field.

"Wonderful win, great win for us," a calm and cool Holmgren told the assembled media shortly after the game. "Give credit to Cincinnati, first of all, they came in, on the road. They are a really good offensive football team, and they played good defense today, as well. So, they are a good football team, and they are a team to be reckoned with during the season."

Seattle's offense, which has sputtered early in their first two games of the season, got off to a quick start thanks in no small part to rookie Josh Wilson's 72-yard kickoff return that resulted in a 15-yard Hasselbeck to Engram touchdown three plays into the game.

The passing game had to take the lead in the game – Hasselbeck totaled 248 yards and three touchdowns through the air – because again the Seattle running game sputtered early on.

"I wouldn't have guessed that (Shaun Alexander) had 100 yards, but I'm happy that he did," Holmgren admitted. "We did not run the ball, as I said earlier, as well as I would have liked to. But, we're going to build on that.

"It's never just one thing. It's not like, last year, as an example, we said that we had young linemen – that was kind of our mantra. Well, they're not young any more. They're not old, but they're not young. So now, Shaun has the cast on his hand. It's not one thing or another. We will continue to work on it, and get better. We have the potential, in my opinion to be a good rushing team. You just can't give up on it. We have to keep working, and we'll get better."

Holmgren turned to his shaky running game when the team was looking at a fourth-and-one from the Bengals 36 yard line and Alexander busted over the right side for 14 yards.

"The play I had last week, I thought it was a good call, we just didn't do it very well," Holmgren said. "Today they executed and Cincinnati kind of bunched in there to stop something, I think right up the gut, and we popped it outside and sometimes that works for you."

It did work and then Hasselbeck hit Burleson with the game-winner on the very next play.

Burleson's catch made up for a drop in the back of the endzone a drive earlier where as he was trying to get his feet down he dropped the ball when he landed.

"Nate is one of the players we have on our team who is tremendously talented, that will develop more consistency the more he plays," Holmgren said. "He made great plays today and he made a couple of things that I wish we could take back and so does he. But he is a talented young man.

"Matt obviously has confidence in him, because he went to him on the last throw, when he could have gone…we had the same thing going on both sides, so he could have chosen Deion (Branch). But, I was very happy for Nate on the last touchdown, and he just has to develop a little more consistency and he will be the player he wants to be."

Even though Cincinnati rang up 412 yards total including 328 through the air, they only managed 19 points – they got two points off a safety – from an offense that is generally considered to be one of the best in the NFL. Holmgren credited his defense, especially his safeties – Deon Grant and Brian Russell – with making plays including intercepting two Carson Palmer passes.

"I thought they had a pretty good game," Holmgren said. "They were involved in turnover situations, they hit pretty well, they broke up a couple of passes. That is the safety play that you need in this league – solid, lining up people properly.

"I don't think we had many breakdowns assignment-wise, it was just that they are a good football team, and they get you every once in a while. In fact, they get you often, but they'll get a lot of people. I think after I look at the film, I'm going to be pleased with how the safeties played."

Now Holmgren and his team prepare for another division road game, this one in San Francisco, and he hopes his team can build off of the hard-fought win over the Bengals.

"A game like this, if you are fortunate enough to win a game like this, it is a good building block for your season," Holmgren said. "We're not operating on all cylinders yet, but they are trying hard and there is a good team feeling. If we hadn't run into each other last week, our record would be a little bit better, maybe.

"When you win a game, in the end, everyone feels real good. And every phase of our football team contributed. You can build on that. Now we have to keep getting better, keep eliminating the mistakes that are plaguing us. Keep being a little sounder, a little more technically good, and improve. I think our best football is still ahead of us, no doubt about that."

And that thought is what will propel Seahawks fans for the rest of the season.

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