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Jackson's catches the Seattle catalyst

11/3/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Dropped passes are a nuisance, not a disaster.
Fans offer their encouragement, not contempt. And the Seattle
Seahawks find ways to win despite their mistakes.

Welcome to Darrell Jackson's world.

Question on the Steelers: Even though Tommy Maddox played decently today, why haven't we seen Charlie Batch?
Part of the reason why we haven't seen Batch come off the bench is because of the Steelers' banged up offensive line. Maddox hasn't played well this season, but he also hasn't had the three or four seconds necessary to throw the football. Bringing Batch off the bench isn't going to help that situation.

Question on the Seahawks: Can they take control of the division or will this remain a fight?
This will remain a fight to the finish for the Seahawks, Rams and 49ers. The Seahawks have their inexperience working against them despite their high talent level. They're so young that they don't know how to finish. In that way they remind me of when I played with the Raiders and we won our first AFC West title. It was a dogfight down the stretch because we had a young team that didn't know how to finish. After that year, though, it became easier down the stretch because we'd been there before. I expect the same thing from the Seahawks.

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

Jackson scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 14-yard pass from
Matt Hasselbeck and set up another late score with a 43-yard
catch-and-run in Seattle's 23-16 victory over the slumping
Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

"I did well for myself in the second half," Jackson said.

The fourth-year receiver had a rough start, dropping six
straight passes through three quarters. One would have been a
certain touchdown, because Jackson found an open seam to the end
zone in the first period.

"At halftime, he was very emotional in the locker room," coach
Mike Holmgren said. "He cares about the team, and he felt he let
people down in the first half."

Jackson delivered when the Seahawks (6-2) needed it, though,
making two big plays in the final 12 minutes. His TD catch put
Seattle ahead 16-6, and his long gain moved the ball to the 1 to
set up Shaun Alexander's TD run and a 23-13 lead.

"You've got four quarters to make up for those mistakes,"
Jackson said shortly after tucking his TD ball into a game bag.

The Steelers (2-6) lost their fifth straight, their longest
losing streak since dropping six in a row in 1999.

"These guys have been working their tails off," coach Bill
Cowher said. "The veterans have been excellent. The effort has
been good. Right now, we're just not putting together a complete
game."

This time, they were in it to the end.

Pittsburgh's blitzing defense pressured Hasselbeck all day,
producing five sacks. And the offense left Seattle guessing in the
fourth quarter, when a slow-paced field goal contest turned into a
wide-open shootout.

"We got after the quarterback," Steelers linebacker Joey
Porter said. "He gave us opportunities to blitz. We took
advantage. But when it counted in the fourth quarter, we didn't get
off the field."

The Steelers, unable to move the ball much of the afternoon,
pulled to 16-13 early in the fourth when Tommy Maddox threw a
2-yard pass to Hines Ward, who made an acrobatic catch.

Seattle's offense came to life at the same time, even if some
might have questioned why Hasselbeck kept throwing to the bubbly
Jackson, who insisted that not even his dropped TD was a negative.

"The ball was a little swervy," Jackson recalled. "I think
the wind pushed it up on me a little bit. It hit my face mask. I
didn't get my hands up in time."

His problems became so apparent to fans, though, that they
cheered in jest late in the third quarter when Jackson held on for
a 4-yard reception. He raised his arm and bobbed his head in
acknowledgment.

"I appreciate that love I got when they started to yell,"
Jackson said. "So I gave a little love back."

It was the best thing that could have happened for Jackson.
Seattle center Robbie Tobeck saw Jackson's face light up with
confidence, and he became a different receiver the rest of the way.

"It looked like Rod Tidwell in 'Jerry McGuire," Hasselbeck
said. "I sort of laughed, but I can't imagine what Coach Holmgren
was doing at that point. You just have to know Darrell. That's his
personality."

Trailing 23-13, the Steelers reached the 3 but settled for Jeff
Reed's 21-yard field goal. A potential TD pass fell incomplete when
Ward and Antwaan Randle El bumped into each other.

"It's frustrating," said Maddox, who completed 21 of 35 passes
for 226 yards and one TD. "When you continue to work as hard as
we're working, and you keep falling just a little short, it's a
little hard to swallow."

Hasselbeck was 18-of-31 for 215 yards and a score.

The Steelers' coaching staff listened after receiver Plaxico
Burress complained about predictable play-calling, and Porter said
the Steelers should have blitzed more in last week's loss to the
Rams.

"We did well enough to get into second- or third-and-short, but
then we'd get a penalty," Burress said. "We started in a good
situation and then put ourselves into a bad situation."