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Hasselbeck survives shaky start; Alexander gains 201 yards

Nov 28, 2006 - 5:18 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- In the first half, Matt Hasselbeck probably wished he'd just stayed home. In the second half, he sent home the Green Bay Packers without any parting gifts.

Hasselbeck committed four turnovers in the first half but rebounded with three second-half touchdowns as the Seattle Seahawks rallied for a 34-24 victory over the Packers.

Shaun Alexander also returned to form, rushing a franchise high and season NFL-high 40 times for 201 yards for the Seahawks, who improved to 13-1 at home since the start of the 2005 season and 18-1 when scoring 20 or more points over the last two years.

"That was not the game plan coming into the game," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "I wanted to be more balanced and I really felt that we could throw the ball against them pretty good."

"I'm not sure it was the fact that you don't tune up for 40 carries, period, but the fact that I've been off for two months," Alexander said. "Then you get one week and then you get it, so I am definitely tired. But I feel good. I think that I'm probably in better shape than even I thought I was."

Seattle (7-4) outgained Green Bay, 382-310, but more importantly ran 85 plays to 57 and held the ball for 36 minutes.

"Any time you control the clock, you have a better chance to win," Alexander said. "We all know how great Brett Favre is and if he gets hot then it pretty much doesn't matter what your team does. Our best plan was to keep him off the field."

After missing the last four games with a sprained right knee, Hasselbeck struggled mightily in a first half played mostly in a steady snowfall that completely covered the field. He threw three interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown as Green Bay (4-7) took a 14-12 lead at the half.

"His rust showed in that he was focusing in on the receiver a little too much instead of using his eyes to work people off, and that comes back rather quickly," Holmgren said. "He did a much better job of that in the second half.

"My job is that if he was getting too frustrated with what was going on then I had to find a way to calm him down. He really wasn't. He looked at things rather matter of factly and said that it's going to get better."

Favre, who was making his NFL-record 252nd straight start despite a right elbow injury suffered last week against New England, then threw a 48-yard TD pass to Donald Driver on Green Bay's first possession of the second half to push the lead to 21-12.

"Any time you have the momentum like we did, particularly early in the game, and you do have turnovers, you want to score touchdowns," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "Those are all factors in the game, particularly early. We had a number of opportunities that we didn't take advantage and that's the start of it there."

It was Favre's 410th career TD pass, 10 behind Dan Marino for most in league history.

After the Packers stopped the Seahawks' next possession, Hasselbeck led the offense on three consecutive scoring drives.

"As bad as it was today and it was bad, I had four turnovers by myself, one for a touchdown," Hasselbeck said. "I tried to keep reminding myself of that situation. 'Hey stay with it.' So we were really fortunate to still be in the game at that point."

The Pro Bowler hit D.J. Hackett on a 23-yard touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-19.

"I'm usually the second or third read," Hackett said. "So if they're double-teaming Deion (Branch) or (Darrell) Jackson, he's coming to me."

Hasselbeck capped a 10-play, 77-yard drive with a four-yard fade to the right corner of the end zone to Darrell Jackson with 14:11 left in the contest. He hit Jerramy Stevens on a two-point conversion to give Seattle a 27-21 lead.

After Green Bay got a 34-yard field goal by Dave Rayner, Seattle marched 51 yards on 11 plays after a 45-yard kick return by Nate Burleson. A roughing call on Green Bay defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins on 3rd-and-9 kept alive the drive and Alexander converted a 4th-and-inches before Hasselbeck found Stevens again from three yards out to increase the lead to 34-21.

Seattle then picked off Favre on Green Bay's next two possessions to seal it. Favre completed 22-of-36 passes for 266 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He had thrown just two picks in his last five games.

Favre did not address the media following the game.

"Brett is not in a good mood right now and will not be speaking," a team representative said after the game.

Kelly Herndon, Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings - all cornerbacks - had the interceptions for Seattle, the first of the season at that position.

"It seems like it's like that all the time (turnovers coming in bunches)," Herndon said. "Especially once you get that first one. Once you get that then the confidence goes up and you go for the ball more."

Hasselbeck completed 17-of-36 passes for 157 yards. He completed his first pass of the night but his second into the right flat was picked off after being deflected by Charles Woodson at the Seattle 36.

Three plays later, Favre completed a 26-yard pass to Ruvell Martin down the left sideline and Ahman Green ran over left tackle on the next play for a five-yard TD. On the sixth play of the Seahawks' next possession, Hasselbeck was picked off in the left flat by Al Harris at the Green Bay 33.

After Hasselbeck moved the team 45 yards, leading to a 45-yard field goal by Josh Brown on Seattle's third drive, he was picked off again by Woodson on the first play of the second quarter at his own 26. Seattle's defense bailed out their All-Pro signal caller, when defensive tackle Craig Terrill blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt.

After Brown converted 41- and 37-yard field goals on the Seahawks' next two drives, Hasselbeck was hit from behind on a power rush from the left side by defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilia. Hasselbeck lost the ball, linebacker Abdul Hodge scooped it up and ran untouched 29 yards to put Green Bay ahead, 14-9, with 1:51 remaining in the half.

On the first possession of the second half, Favre drove Green Bay 72 yards on five plays. He capped the drive with the catch-and-run TD pass to Driver, who came over the middle from the right side, caught the ball and scooted down the left sideline for a 21-12 lead.

On the first of three Seattle TD drives, Hasselbeck was 3-of-5 for 40 yards as the club covered 62 yards on nine plays. On the next drive, Alexander ran four times for 42 yards and Hasselbeck was 3-of-4 for 26 yards. On the final scoring drive, Alexander rushed for 26 yards on six carries and Hasselbeck was 0-of-3 before finding Stevens in the end zone.

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