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Originally published Monday, November 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Mike Wahle's false-start penalty is costly for Seahawks

Wide receiver Bobby Engram didn't know the two-point conversion was whistled dead. His first clue that the ball he caught in the end zone...

Seattle Times staff reporter

MIAMI — Wide receiver Bobby Engram didn't know the two-point conversion was whistled dead.

His first clue that the ball he caught in the end zone had not tied the game came when the official failed to signal a score with 2:57 left in the game.

"He said there was a penalty," Engram said.

Left guard Mike Wahle timed the movement out of his stance on quarterback Seneca Wallace's cadence for the conversion, which would have tied the game for Seattle.

"I thought I was right on it, and obviously I wasn't," Wahle said.

The penalty moved Seattle back 5 yards, and the Seahawks attempt at a conversion was aimed at tight end John Carlson but batted away by Yeremiah Bell. Bell was covering Koren Robinson to begin the play, but he veered off once he saw Wallace's pass headed toward Carlson.

The false-start penalty against Wahle was one of five procedural penalties against Seattle in Miami. Two were against Wahle and one apiece were called on Ray Willis, Sean Locklear and Leonard Weaver.

"I have to correct it, certainly, because plays like that kill us," Wahle said.

It's the third costly penalty called against Wahle this season. Wahle was penalized for holding against Green Bay, negating a 51-yard run by Julius Jones. Another holding penalty against Wahle the next week in Tampa Bay negated a 20-yard run by T.J. Duckett.

Keeping up with Jones

Running back Julius Jones carried the bulk of the load for Seattle's rushing game Sunday, carrying the ball 16 times for 88 yards. No one else carried the ball more than three times for Seattle.

That was partly because of Seattle's game plan, said coach Mike Holmgren. It was also impacted by the absence of Leonard Weaver, who suffered a rib injury in the first quarter and didn't return.

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That left Jones as Seattle's best between-the-tackles option. Maurice Morris rushed only once and that was during Seattle's final drive. He gained 11 yards on the carry.

"Julius has his strengths and Mo has his strengths," Holmgren said. "When Weaver went down, it really changed our thinking on some of that."

Groin pains

Quarterback Seneca Wallace said he suffered a groin injury the first time he really scrambled in the game, which would have been his 7-yard run on third-and-five in the first quarter.

The injury required an adjustment to Seattle's game plan, eliminating some of the designed rollouts as well as Wallace's ability to scramble.

"That's a part of his game that he relies on," Holmgren said. "But he hung in there, and I think he played great."

Wallace completed 21 of his 38 passes for 185 yards. He threw for one touchdown and he was not intercepted. He said the injury did not affect his ability to throw the ball.

It was one of three injuries Seattle suffered. Weaver had his ribs X-rayed and did not play in the second half. Safety C.J. Wallace suffered an injury to his left hamstring and was on crutches after the game.

Big Play Babs

Jordan Babineaux did not have the size advantage against tight end David Martin in the second quarter.

It was his change of speed he relied upon.

"I kind of slow-played him," Babineaux said. "I squatted a little bit."

And when quarterback Chad Pennington threw the ball toward Martin, Babineaux pounced. He broke in front of Martin, picked off the pass and ran untouched 35 yards for Seattle's third defensive touchdown this season. Defensive tackle Craig Terrill returned a fumble 10 yards for a touchdown in Week 2 against San Francisco and Josh Wilson returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago against the 49ers.

Branch out

Deion Branch missed his fifth consecutive game because of a sore heel. Branch practiced Friday for the first time since suffering the injury in the first half of Seattle's loss at the New York Giants on Oct. 5. Branch traveled to Miami, but he was not among the 45 players active for the game.

"You run the risk of putting him in for a few plays, having him reinjure himself, and then lose him for three more weeks," Holmgren said.

Holmgren said he thinks Branch will be able to practice next week, as will quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, with the hope that both could be available when Seattle plays Arizona next week at Qwest Field. Hasselbeck did not travel with the team to Miami.

NOTES

Ray Willis started at right guard for the first time this season. Floyd Womack started the last seven games, but he suffered a foot injury. He practiced Friday, but the foot was sore again, prompting a lineup change.

Ricky Williams' 51-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the longest run allowed by the Seahawks this season and the first time Seattle allowed a run of more than 50 yards since Steven Jackson ran 53 yards for a touchdown at St. Louis on Nov. 25, 2007.

• Seattle's wide receivers have scored five touchdowns this season, two more than the Seahawks defense.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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