SEATTLE (AP) -- Mike Holmgren showed a new side of his coaching
persona. The passing game guru motivated his defense by dressing
down his players and made sure he stuck to a game plan for the
Seattle Seahawks that relied heavily on a backup running back.
The victory got the Seahawks (5-3) back on track after injuries
to reigning MVP Shaun Alexander and Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck left the defending NFC champions struggling to match last season's success.
But it was the defense that had Holmgren most concerned and led
to the harsh talk following last week's 35-28 loss at Kansas City.
"They took it to heart," Holmgren said. "Our defense had a
few things to prove. I think they played very hard and very smart,
which is something we needed."
There wasn't much that was pretty about this football game. It began with terrible weather and continued right through to the 16-0 final. For the Raiders, it was the same old story. The defense was game, but their offense was inept. As usual, QB Andrew Walter got terrible protection from his offensive line. But even when he was protected, Walter holds the ball far too long. Seattle's offense and its line weren't much better. A lot will be made about how well the Seahawks' underachieving defense played on this night, but don't be fooled. The best thing about the defense Monday night was that it drew a matchup against the worst offense in the NFL. The Seahawks will take the win because it keeps them in first place in the NFC West. But if you're Mike Holmgren, there are not a lot of positives you can take from this game. Even a mediocre team would have knocked the Seahawks off on this night.
His players heeded the message and took advantage of Oakland's
weak offensive line to pressure Andrew Walter relentlessly and take
pressure off an offense missing Pro Bowlers Alexander and Hasselbeck.
"Right now it should be on us," linebacker Julian Peterson
said. "On offense, we've got guys banged up. We're missing a lot
of Pro Bowl guys. It's on us to make plays ... that's what we've
The Raiders (2-6) looked just like they did in the season
opener, when they also allowed nine sacks in a 27-0 loss on to San
Diego on a Monday night. They became the first team to be shut out
twice in one season on Monday Night Football and are scoreless in
their last 167 minutes, 3 seconds on the NFL's prime-time showcase.
The lasting memories from this loss will be Walter on his back
after numerous sacks and Brayton kneeing Jerramy Stevens in the
groin in the final minutes to earn an ejection and likely further
punishment from the NFL.
"I made a mistake," Brayton said. "I'll be the first to admit
I made a mistake. I let my emotions get the best of me and that's
not a good thing when you do that."
Seattle, which had lost three of four games with Alexander
sidelined with a broken foot, took a one-game lead over St. Louis
in the NFC West heading into next weekend's game against the Rams.
While Wallace threw a TD pass to get his first win as an NFL
starter, the offense relied mostly on Morris. Holmgren even wrote
himself a reminder on his play card to "STAY WITH THE RUN."
After rushing a season-low 18 times for 47 yards last week,
Seattle had 39 carries against the Raiders and finished with 207
"For any offense, if you get your running game going, it takes
the pressure off the quarterback," Wallace said.
But it was the defense that won this one. Seattle had allowed at
least 28 points in five successive games for the first time since
its first five games in existence in 1976, and held the opposition
scoreless in only one of the previous 17 quarters.
But the Seahawks had little trouble shutting down Oakland's
last-ranked offense on a wet and windy night. The Raiders gained
only 185 yards and failed to score an offensive touchdown for the
fifth time in eight games this season.
Seattle sacked Walter five times in the first quarter, including
on three successive plays -- the last two by Terrill. The Seahawks
added four more in the game, raising Oakland's NFL-worst total to
44 on the season.
"It was just a matter of time," said defensive lineman Grant Wistrom, who got his first two sacks of the season. "We know we
haven't been playing very well the last few weeks."
Walter was 16 of 35 for 166 yards and couldn't get the ball deep to Randy Moss against a defense that had been susceptible to the long pass.
"It seemed like when we dropped back to pass, something bad
happens, a sack or something like that," Oakland coach Art Shell
"That's the way it is," Raiders offensive lineman Langston Walker said. "Unfortunately you can have 10 guys doing everything
perfect and one guy screws up or loses a battle."
The Seahawks got into the end zone on their opening drive,
moving the ball 68 yards with help from a personal foul against the
Raiders' coaching staff. Wallace used an exaggerated pump fake to
get Fabian Washington out of position on the 22-yard scoring strike
A 29-yard punt by three-time All-Pro Shane Lechler set up Josh Brown's 20-yard field goal on Seattle's next drive and Brown added
a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 13-0. His
final field goal was from 20 yards with 1:17 left in the game.
The shutout was the Seahawks' first since Dec. 5, 2005,
when they beat Philadelphia 42-0 in their most recent appearance on
Monday night. ... Wallace's 37-yard scramble in the third quarter
was Seattle's longest run of the season. ... The Raiders have lost
five straight overall on Mondays, being outscored 116-27.