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Hasselbeck, Alexander lift Seahawks

12/23/2002

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks are making a late-season
surge behind improving quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck threw for 303 yards and one touchdown, giving
Seattle's porous run defense ample time to rest as they tightened
against Marshall Faulk and the Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams
30-10 on Sunday.

Question on the Rams: Do you see them trying to deal either Warner or Bulger, or will they both be back next year?
Because they both suffered injuries this season, I think they'll both be back in St. Louis next season. But I'm not sure how long the Rams can keep them both beyond next year. Whoever winds up as the backup next year probably won't be back in 2004.

Question on the Seahawks: So do these recent wins increase the chances of Mike Holmgren coming back?
It will be difficult to fire Holmgren. There have been enough problems with injuries that he should get at least another year to make it work before the sentiment turns against him. But he might initiate a change if a job opens up that he would like to pursue (such as in San Francisco).

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"Matt's a good guy and he deserves to have a few good things
happen to him,'' coach Mike Holmgren said. "He's making plays. You
see what he can do. He has played pretty well in these few weeks,
and I'm happy for him.''

Hasselbeck completed 20 of 32 passes without an interception,
his third 300-yard passing game since replacing the injured Trent
Dilfer eight weeks ago. Seattle (6-9) is 5-4 since then and won for
the second straight week.

"It's been fun having wins the last couple of weeks,''
Hasselbeck said.

The Rams, meanwhile, were stunned by the loss of Marc Bulger.

Bulger, who had been 6-0 as starting quarterback of the Rams
(6-9), wasn't around for long against the Seahawks. He injured his
back on the team's fourth play from scrimmage and was taken to a
hospital, where a CT scan revealed no broken bones. He will have
additional tests after the team returns to St. Louis.

Jamie Martin took over, going 31-of-48 for 259 yards with one TD
pass and three interceptions.

"It stunned me,'' coach Mike Martz said. "In my mind, I'm all
set for these things that Marc does, and then I have to reload a
little bit because I'm not sure where Jamie is with some of these
things.''

Faulk, who played despite a high ankle sprain that has slowed
him the past six weeks, ran nine times for 13 yards. The Rams had
17 yards rushing.

"Holding someone to 17 yards, we really feel like we're coming
together,'' Seattle defensive tackle Chad Eaton said.
"Offensively, Matt Hasselbeck is doing things that are just
unheard of. He gets my Pro Bowl vote.''

Seattle's maligned defense, which ranked last in the NFL
allowing 166.9 yards rushing a game, benefited greatly after the
Seahawks built an early 6-0 lead. Reggie Tongue had two of
Seattle's three interceptions, as the defense forced the Rams into
five turnovers.

"It's too bad we got this run going a little late,'' Tongue
said.

Shaun Alexander ran for 79 yards and two TDs, and Hasselbeck's
only tangible miscue was a fumble when he was sacked early in the
third quarter.

The Seahawks have been wracked by injuries and struggled in
Holmgren's fourth season as coach and general manager. It remains
to be seen whether he will be asked to relinquish one of his titles
or perhaps leave the organization.

"We're not talking about next year right now,'' Holmgren said.
"We have talked a lot about finishing strong, finishing with our
heads up, finishing in a professional manner and then to give our
fans this game to remember as our last home game of the season. I
think that's important.''

Seattle led 13-3 at halftime and extended the lead to 20-3 on
Alexander's second TD, a 2-yard run with 8:58 remaining in the
third quarter. Linebacker Anthony Simmons set up that score when he
intercepted a pass by Martin.

St. Louis pulled to 20-10 as Martin converted three times on
third downs on a 67-yard drive that he capped with a 5-yard TD pass
to Torry Holt.

"Obviously, the turnovers killed us,'' Martin said. "They have
every week that we've lost. Those were my bad plays.''

Rian Lindell's 22-yard field goal at the end of the third gave
Seattle a 23-10 lead. It was 30-10 with 11:16 to go after
Hasselbeck found Darrell Jackson down the right sideline for a
38-yard TD.

Lindell also connected from 31 and 36 yards in the first half.
Alexander's 1-yard scoring run made it 13-3 before halftime. That
score came one play after tight end Jerramy Stevens was denied on
an apparent 30-yard TD when officials determined he was stopped
just short of the goal line.

Game notes
Alexander's two TDs gave him 17 for the season, breaking
the team record of 16 set by Chris Warren in 1995. ... Rams LB
Tommy Polley didn't return after spraining his right ankle in the
third quarter. ... Seahawks T Jerry Wunsch moved over to guard to
replace Floyd Wedderburn (foot). ... Faulk needs 90 yards rushing
against the 49ers for his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.

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