Seahawks vs. Redskins preview
1Shaun Alexander is back; how much will he play? Probably very little. Alexander is a backup running back for Washington who was signed Oct. 14 in an emergency situation when Ladell Betts went down with a knee injury. Betts is now back. Alexander has played four games and has 11 carries for 24 yards. He had just one carry in each of the past two games.
2Does Jim Zorn have an advantage in game- planning? Yes. The Washington head coach, who only last year was the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach, knows Matt Hasselbeck's tendencies and strengths and weaknesses after years working with him. He's also familiar with the Seahawks' offense, though the Seahawks will try to cross up Zorn and Washington with different looks today. No doubt Zorn spoke to his defensive coaches in their game plan for the Seahawks this week; now it remains to be seen how helpful he was.
3Will the Seahawks get their running game back on track this week? It's going to be tough against the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing defense allowing 84.3 yards per game. The Seahawks average 108.3 yards per game but have run for more than 100 yards only once in the past four games. "For our running game to be at its optimum, we need more balance," Holmgren said. "I suspect, unless the roof caves in, in these next six games, you'll see a little bit more balance and you'll see the running game improve."
4Is home-field advantage lost, and what more do the Seahawks have to play for? Yes, home-field advantage is lost for this season. The Seahawks are 1-4 at Qwest Field with three home games to go including today, all against playoff contenders. Seattle has never been worse than 5-3 at home since 2002, when it was 3-5. What is there to play for? Pride and teammates, with the bonus being the spoiler role for opponents with postseason aspirations. Some players are also playing for their spots on the team next season.
Seahawks: Running back T.J. Duckett posted his sixth career two-touchdown game last week and leads the team with six TDs. It was his second game this year with two scores in one game. ... Rookie TE John Carlson leads the team in catches (30) and yards (337). Among tight ends, his 30 catches rank fourth (tied) in the NFC. ... Seattle's linebacker trio of Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson is 1-2-3 in tackles on the team. ... Seattle is 8-2 in its last 10 meetings against the NFC East, including 3-0 in the postseason, but has lost the past two. Both were this season.
Washington: After becoming the first team in NFL history to play its first five games without an offensive turnover, Washington has registered five fumbles lost and three thrown interceptions in the past four contests. ... Still, the Redskins have only nine turnovers this season, the second-fewest in the NFL behind the Miami Dolphins. ... Washington's three thrown interceptions are the fewest in the league. Every other club has thrown at least five. ... Washington leads the all-time series 9-4.
Seahawks: S C.J. Wallace (hamstring) is doubtful. G Mike Wahle (shoulder) and DT Red Bryant (ankle) are questionable. CB Josh Wilson (ankle) is probable.
Washington: LB Marcus Washington (ankle) is out. RB Clinton Portis (knee), WR Antwaan Randle El (ankle) and DT Anthony Montgomery (Achilles) are questionable. T Chris Samuels (knee), RB Ladell Betts (knee), CB Shawn Springs (calf) and G Pete Kendall (knee) are probable.
Last gameSeahawks: Seattle needed to win last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals to keep their fading hopes for a fifth straight NFC West title alive, but lost a heartbreaker 26-20 at Qwest Field as quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception with two minutes left to play. The turnover ended the Seahawks' chance for a game-winning drive. Hasselbeck, in his first game since Oct. 5, threw a touchdown pass and T.J. Duckett rushed for two, but the Seahawks' smaller cornerbacks had no answer for Arizona's big wide receivers. The Seahawks also fumbled away a scoring opportunity when RB Julius Jones lost the handle at the end of a run in Cardinals territory in the third quarter. The Seahawks fell to 2-8.
Washington: Washington hosted the Dallas Cowboys in a key NFC East matchup (aren't they all?) and lost 14-10 as the Cowboys controlled the ball and clock in the late going. Washington got two interceptions, one by newly-signed CB DeAngelo Hall, but struggled on offense. It had just 14 first downs and 228 yards of offense. Washington dropped to 6-4.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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UPDATE - 07:23 AM
NFL, union resume labor talks at mediator's office
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.