Coming off another impressive performance, Alexander looks to become the leading rusher in franchise history when the Seahawks take on Drew Bledsoe and the Dallas Cowboys in a matchup of first-place teams.
Alexander earned NFC offensive player of the week honors for his 141-yard, four-touchdown performance in Seattle’s 42-10 rout of Houston last Sunday night.
The Seahawks set a team record with 320 yards on the ground and posted its fourth win in five games, taking a two-game lead in the AFC West.
“This team is finally getting to where it should be,” Alexander said. “We’re mature. We handle our business.”
The latest performance gave Alexander 6,652 rushing yards in his six-year career, 55 shy of passing Chris Warren for the most in franchise history.
He’s also three touchdowns away from totaling 15 for a fifth consecutive season. No other player has done it in four straight.
Seattle is 4-0 when Alexander rushes for more than 100 yards, 0-2 when he doesn’t.
Dallas has given up a 100-yard rusher only once in six games—Oakland’s Lamont Jordan in Week 4—and is eighth in the NFL in run defense. The Cowboys have allowed a total of 23 points over their last two games in victories over division rivals Philadelphia and New York, moving into sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
The Seahawks top the NFL in total offense with 407.2 yards per game, with Alexander leading the league with 715 rushing yards and 12 TDs. Matt Hasselbeck is the NFL’s fourth-rated passer.
“They are running for 166 yards a game, and have a balance that we haven’t seen yet,” Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. “They have a very good offensive line, a very good runner and a good, experienced quarterback. They are going to give us a lot of trouble and this is, balance-wise, the best offense we’ve played.”
For the Cowboys to keep up, it could be up to Bledsoe for this team to overcome missing some key pieces on offense.
Left tackle Flozell Adams, who protects Bledsoe’s blind side, is out for the season with a torn knee ligament. He’ll likely be replaced by Torrin Tucker, who lost his job at starting right tackle in training camp to sixth-round pick Rob Petitti.
Wideout Patrick Crayton, possibly Dallas’ most sure-handed receiver, is expected to be sidelined for a month with an ankle injury suffered in last week’s 16-13 overtime victory over the Giants. Peerless Price will take over as the third receiver for Crayton, who has 18 receptions for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
Maybe the most important injury, though, is the one to running back Julius Jones, who may be forced to miss a second straight game with a sprained ankle. With the combination of Anthony Thomas, Marion Barber and Tyler Thompson sharing carries in place of Jones, Dallas was held to 92 yards rushing on 38 attempts.
Bledsoe, the NFL’s third-highest rated passer, threw for 312 yards and a touchdown last week, but also committed three of Dallas’ four turnovers.
Those miscues along with two missed field goals, as well as allowing a tying touchdown with 19 seconds left, left the Cowboys feeling fortunate to beat the Giants.
“We’re playing decent football right now,” receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. “We’re not playing great football by any stretch of the imagination. And decent football is only going to get you so far. We’ve got to eventually get good, then get great.”
Bledsoe and Johnson go against a Seattle secondary missing starting safety Ken Hamlin, who suffered serious head injuries early Monday in a fight outside a nightclub.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Marquand Manuel will make his first career start in Hamlin’s place.
“It’s pretty tough,” said Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant, whose locker is next to Hamlin’s. “I’m very concerned about his health and I’m just hoping and praying that everything goes well.”
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