Seahawks 23, Panthers 17

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SEATTLE (AP)—After losing three straight, the Seattle Seahawks decided to go back to the basics against Carolina.

It worked.

Shaun Alexander gained 195 yards rushing on 32 carries and Matt Hasselbeck recovered from a dismal performance last weekend, throwing for 201 yards to lead the Seahawks to a 23-17 win over the Panthers on Sunday.

“We went back to the simple things,” Alexander said. “Like, ‘Let’s throw it to D-Jack (Darrell Jackson). He’s one-on-one and he’s got a guy to beat. All right, Shaun, run through the hole. The safety’s going to be there. Beat him.’

“We just kind of vanillaed our offense, and it let us make plays.”

While the Seahawks (4-3) broke their three-game losing streak, the Panthers (1-6) lost their fifth straight.

“Until you win the next one and kind of wash away some of the bad taste, it’s tough,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. “The players bounced back, and the win is huge for us.”

Josh Brown kicked three field goals in the second half, connecting from 27, 45 and 22 yards to give the Seahawks a comfortable cushion. His final kick put Seattle up 23-10 with 5:42 remaining.

This win wasn’t spectacular, and the Seahawks made plenty of the same kind of mistakes that hurt them in recent weeks.

Holmgren’s stomach churned after Jake Delhomme threw a 63-yard pass to Keary Colbert, moving the ball to Seattle’s 2-yard line at the 2-minute warning. That led to a 7-yard TD pass to Muhsin Muhammad with 1:39 to play.

It was reminiscent of Seattle’s fourth-quarter collapse and loss three weeks ago against St. Louis.

“Deja vu all over again,” Holmgren said. “Was anyone nervous? Holy Toledo.”

Still, the Seahawks showed the substance was there in little ways that were missing during their skid.

Hasselbeck threw to tight end Itula Mili for a 17-yard gain on third-and-14 in the fourth quarter, and Alexander broke a 38-yard run in the second period and a 44-yarder in the fourth—showing the Seahawks made the plays they needed.

“That’s the start of us going back into the offense we think we all have,” Alexander said.

Before their final TD, the Panthers missed a shot for another late score when Delhomme threw an interception straight to Seattle’s Marcus Trufant, who returned it 57 yards.

“When you’re good, you’re lucky. You can create your own luck,” said Delhomme, who was 19-of-36 for 248 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. “We’re just not creating enough right now.”

The injury-riddled Panthers have been competitive in their five straight losses, though it was little consolation.

“It’s a loss,” coach John Fox said. “Right now, we’re not playing well enough to win. I don’t think it was a lack of effort.”

Hasselbeck was 21-of-30 for 201 yards passing with one TD and one interception.

Holmgren stripped down the playbook this week, trying to simplify things for Hasselbeck and force the ball to Alexander. It worked from the start, with Hasselbeck completing his first nine attempts.

“The plan was to get me to think less, and relax and play more,” Hasselbeck said. “As a quarterback that’s hard to hear, but the approach I took this week was a good one. These guys know what they’re talking about.”

The Seahawks coasted to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Hasselbeck threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Alexander, who added a 4-yard TD run and had 119 yards rushing by halftime.

Things weren’t perfect. Hasselbeck, who had four interceptions in last week’s loss at Arizona, was booed when he threw another late in the first half — with Seattle at Carolina’s 7-yard line.

The Panthers had one solid drive in the first half, trailing 14-7 after Delhomme threw a 15-yard TD strike to Muhammad. They made it 14-10 early in the third quarter on John Kasay’s 30-yard field goal.

Notes

Seattle WR Bobby Engram (ankle) and OT Chris Terry (shoulder) were inactive. … Carolina LB Dan Morgan sustained a concussion. RB Joey Harris and DT Kindal Moorehead each had a bruised shoulder. … Seahawks WR Jerry Rice got a big cheer in the second quarter after a 6-yard pass reception, his first catch at home since joining the Seahawks almost two weeks ago. He left a short time later with a sprained right ankle.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Carolina
M. Muhammad M. Muhammad WR
8 Rec, 106 yds
2 TDs
 Seattle
S. Alexander S. Alexander RB
32 Rush, 195 yds
1 TD
3 Rec, 13 yds, 1 TD

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

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