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Replacement Dilfer wins 13th straight game

10/14/2001

SEATTLE (AP) -- Trent Dilfer is making it tough on Mike Holmgren
to return him to the bench.

Dilfer, playing for the second straight week in place of Matt Hasselbeck, made it 13 consecutive victories as a starting
quarterback as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 34-21
Sunday.

Holmgren, Seattle's third-year coach, reiterated that he's going
back to Hasselbeck when Hasselbeck is completely recovered from a
pulled left groin. But he admitted it was getting harder to explain
his position to the Seahawks' fans.

"I'll leave that up to you guys," Holmgren told reporters.
"They seem to listen to you more than me, that's for sure. I will
try to explain it the best way I can to you fellows and if you can
help me a little bit, I think they will get the message."

Dilfer, the starter for the Baltimore Ravens in their Super Bowl
win over the New York Giants in January, had a modest day
statistically, but he didn't commit a turnover as the Seahawks
(3-2) ended a three-game losing streak against the Broncos (3-2).
Denver had won nine out of 10 against Seattle.

Dilfer, signed by the Seahawks as a free agent in August, was
12-for-18 for 110 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Hasselbeck replaced Dilfer with Seattle ahead 34-14 with 6:53 left
because Dilfer suffered a groin injury in the second quarter and
could barely run.

Hasselbeck, who has made two career starts to Dilfer's 86, is
expected to reclaim his starting job when the Seahawks play Miami
at home Oct. 28 after a bye week.

Are the Seahawks a playoff contender?
Seattle is running the ball well, stopping the run and playing well overall
on defense. The Seahawks are playing good football right now.

If you judge the Seahawks' playoff potential by the way they've played the
past couple weeks, yes, they're a contender. After all, they're tied for the
lead in the AFC West.

Trent Dilfer has helped, giving the Seahawks stability at quarterback. He
doesn't take the sacks that Matt Hasselbeck takes.

To make a serious run at the playoffs, the quarterback position needs to
stay consistent. And they need to keep winning by running the ball and being
opportunistic on defense.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player
personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


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Dilfer said he was OK with going back to the bench.

"That's my role and I promised Mike Holmgren that I would do
whatever role he asked me," Dilfer said. "I'm doing what I can to
help this team win as a No. 2 or No. 3 or whatever it is. I know my
role."

The Seahawks got a 60-yard touchdown run from Shaun Alexander on
the sixth play of the game. They extended the lead with a 55-yard
interception return for a touchdown by strong safety Reggie Tongue
in the second quarter and got a special-teams touchdown in the
third period when Alex Bannister blocked a punt by Tom Rouen and
ran 9 yards.

The Seahawks' defense, led by tackle John Randle and linebacker
Chad Brown, stymied running back Mike Anderson, who rushed for 195
and 131 yards in victories against Seattle last season. Anderson
was held to 51 yards on 17 carries.

"No one gave us a chance to win," Seattle defensive end
Michael Sinclair said. "They said it would be the Mike Anderson
Show. Give us the credit. We beat them. They didn't beat
themselves."

Brian Griese, the Broncos' starting quarterback who threw only
four interceptions last season, was intercepted three times, twice
by Tongue. He passed to Eddie Kennison and Rod Smith for touchdowns
in the second quarter. Cornerback Shawn Springs made his first
start of the season for the Seahawks and had an interception.

Griese missed six games last season with a separated right
shoulder. His shoulder is acting up again. It bothered him last
week and it bothered him again on Sunday.

"I had a little pain in my shoulder," he said. "It's kind of
the same thing that happened last week. I'm going to get it
evaluated tomorrow and I'll see how it feels."

Alexander had his career-best 60-yard run on Seattle's first
possession. He also scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run,
giving him four touchdowns in two weeks. He finished the day with
142 yards on 33 carries after rushing for 176 yards and two
touchdowns against Jacksonville.

Bannister's touchdown was big for the Seahawks after Denver
scored a touchdown with 9 seconds left in the first half to stay in
the game at 24-14.

After suffering a concussion on the opening kickoff last week
against the Jaguars, Bannister blocked Rouen's punt for his first
career touchdown. The fifth-round draft choice from Eastern
Kentucky also blocked a punt during the exhibition season.

Deltha O'Neal, Denver's cornerback who tied an NFL record and
became the 18th player to intercept four passes in a game last week
against Kansas City's Trent Green, ran back a punt 86 yards for the
game's final score.

Game notes
Seahawks FS Marcus Robertson left the game in the first
half with a left hamstring injury and was replaced by backup
Maurice Kelly. ... Alexander's 60-yard run was the longest for the
Seahawks since RB Steve Broussard had a 77-yard run on Oct. 5,
1997, against Tennessee. ... Bannister's return of a blocked punt
for a touchdown was the first for the Seahawks since Nov. 15, 1987,
when Eugene Robinson did it against the Green Bay Packers.

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