Hawks rally to beat Bengals, 24-21
Nate Burleson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck with 1 minute remaining to rescue the sputtering Seattle Seahawks in a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals today.
The Associated Press
Nate Burleson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck with 1 minute remaining to rescue the sputtering Seattle Seahawks in a 24-21 victory over the Bengals today.
Glenn Holt then got hit with a flying shoulder from Lance Laury while returning the ensuing kickoff. Deon Grant recovered the fumble with 54 seconds remaining to seal the win for Seattle (2-1) in what was far from the expected shootout.
Kenny Watson, subbing for ineffective and then injured Rudi Johnson, ran 8 yards with 2:42 left to rally the Bengals to a 21-17 lead.
"Nothing to it, huh?" Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said, sighing. "My goodness gracious."
T.J. Houshmandzadeh tied his career high with 12 catches and had 141 yards receiving with a touchdown for the Bengals (1-2), who lost for the 31st time in 43 trips to the West Coast.
The Seahawks began the ensuing drive at their 40, thanks to Shayne Graham shanking the kickoff out of bounds. Hasselbeck's 15-yard pass to Burleson put Seattle in Cincinnati territory. On fourth-and-1 with 1:41 to go, Shaun Alexander ran 14 yards off tackle to the 22. Hasselbeck then threw his third touchdown pass.
Alexander, playing his second consecutive game with a covering over his sprained left wrist, started slowly but finished with 100 yards on 21 carries.
The Seahawks took a 17-15 lead with 6 minutes left when Josh Brown put a partially blocked field goal through from 23 yards. Brown got into position because of Bobby Engram's third-down catch and then a 15-yard facemask penalty on Deltha O'Neal that put the ball on the Cincinnati 11.
Seattle had 210 total yards and just 14 points after three quarters against a defense that Cleveland shredded for 51 points and 554 total yards last week.
The Seahawks were poised to increase their lead of 14-12 at the start of the fourth quarter. But Hasselbeck underthrew Burleson, the ball bounced off the chest of the prone receiver and into the arms of Madieu Williams, who returned the interception 35 yards to the Seattle 44.
The Bengals converted that into a 15-14 lead on a 24-yard field goal by Graham with 9:57 left -- but only because Julian Peterson dropped a sure interception off a pass deflected high into the air in the end zone on third-and-goal.
Carson Palmer, who led the league with eight touchdown passes coming in, finished 27-for-43 for 342 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Cincinnati had closed to 14-12 early in the third quarter thanks to that maligned defense. Linebacker Lemar Marshall blitzed and dumped Hasselbeck in the end zone for Cincinnati's first safety in seven years.
Ryan Plackemeier then blooped the ensuing free kick to the Bengals 40, which Reggie Kelly returned to Seattle's 47. But after a sack by Rocky Bernard, Brian Russell over-the-shoulder interception in the end zone kept the Seahawks ahead.
Seattle victimized Cincinnati's woeful coverage on the opening kickoff, which rookie Josh Wilson returned 72 yards to the Cincinnati 24. Three plays later, Hasselbeck found Bobby Engram for an 18-yard touchdown.
Cincinnati responded with a 14-play, 83-yard drive. The last 35 came when Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson crossed in Seattle's secondary, leaving Houshmandzadeh free for an easy touchdown catch.
Graham's 43-yard field goal put the Bengals up 10-7 in the second quarter. But they failed to add to that lead late in the half when Deltha O'Neal dropped a sure interception at the Seahawks 35.
Palmer completed 13 of his first 14 throws, the lone miss coming when he was forced out of the pocket. His 15th throw deep to Houshmandzadeh was picked off by Grant at the Seattle 31.
Three players later, Deion Branch beat Johnathan Joseph on a post pattern. Hasselbeck's pass met Branch perfectly in stride at the goal line for a 42-yard touchdown, Branch's first score of the season.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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