The stout run defense of the Washington Redskins will also be focused on him when the teams meet at FedEx Field.
Alexander, who missed out on the 2004 NFL rushing title to the Jets’ Curtis Martin by one yard, is second in the league with 357 rushing yards and leads the NFC with five touchdowns.
Alexander has responded with consecutive 100-yard efforts after Seattle’s season-opening loss at Jacksonville. He had 140 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-12 rout of Arizona last Sunday, but Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was more impressed with the way Alexander grinded out short-yardage situations.
“Right from the beginning, he ran hard. I thought he slammed it up in there pretty good,” Holmgren said. “There were times in there when we called plays basically up the gut on short yardage situations, or second-and-2, and he was running it like he wanted to get the two yards. That’s a good thing.”
For his part, Alexander says he is not doing anything different from last year. Instead, people are taking greater notice because of all the offseason events that transpired before he signed a one-year contract.
“It’s the same as it was last year. Everybody is just paying attention more. That’s cool,” Alexander said. “It’s just that people really feel there is something good with this team, and everybody is starting to pay attention to the little things from everybody.”
Alexander should get a stern challenge from the Redskins, who are second in the league in rushing defense and total defense. Washington has given up only 131 rushing yards on 2.8 yards per carry, and is allowing opponents 258.5 yards per game.
The Redskins haven’t allowed 100 yards rushing in their last seven games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Washington is hoping a bye week did not curtail the momentum of its early-season success. The Redskins rallied for a 14-13 win at Dallas on Sept. 19 as Mark Brunell and Santana Moss hooked up on touchdown plays of 39 and 70 yards in the final 3:46.
The two scoring plays represented the first offensive touchdowns of the year for the Redskins, who have scored only 23 points in their two wins.
“It is good for us in that it would be tough to play this Sunday coming off an emotional victory considering we got back so late,” Brunell said last week about the bye coming so soon. “But at the same time after this week we have 14 in a row. That is tough on any team physically and mentally.”
Moss had all 159 of his receiving yards in the second half against the Cowboys, showing the big-play capabilities that prompted his offseason acquisition from the Jets.
“Santana made some big plays,” Brunell said. “The biggest thing as a quarterback, when you are playing with a guy with that much speed, is you can’t underthrow him. You have to throw it out there about as far as you can because he is going to run and get it.”