“I think they talk a lot of mess,” Alexander said. “That kind of gets me excited.”
Apparently, excitement leads to production.
Alexander, Seattle’s Pro Bowl running back, rushed for four touchdowns, two in a 30-second span of the third quarter, and the Seahawks broke open a 10-9 halftime lead, cruising to a 37-12 romp over winless Arizona on Sunday.
Scoreless in the second half of its first two games, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren guaranteed the Seahawks would score in the second half sometime this season. His players made Holmgren look like a prophet, after putting up 27 points in the final 30 minutes.
“I was right on that one,” Holmgren quipped. “The team played very well today especially in the second half.”
Alexander continued his impressive track record against the Cardinals at home. Alexander rushed for 135 yards and three scores in the first three quarters, and his 1-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth gave Seattle a 31-12 lead.
Alexander finished with 140 yards on 22 carries, the 24th 100-yard game of his career, tying him with Chris Warren for most in team history. The last two seasons against Arizona, Alexander rushed for 135 and 154 yards at home against the Cardinals.
Seattle’s offensive line punched holes in Arizona’s defense all day. When the Cardinals had Alexander seemingly wrapped up, he improvised.
Alexander set up his final score with a 45-yard rush, spinning out of a tackle and reversing field before finally being tackled at the Arizona 7. He scored three plays later from the 1.
“I think that reflects the whole offense,” guard Steve Hutchinson said of Alexander’s day. “We just knew that once we got down there, with their type of weapons, we can’t just settle for field goals.”
Meanwhile, the day got progressively worse for Arizona (0-3), a trendy preseason pick to win the NFC West.
Down 10-6 with 3:56 left in the first half, Arizona lost quarterback Kurt Warner to a right groin injury.
Facing a third-and-9 at the Seattle 32, Warner was pressured, and ran from the pocket to his left. He attempted to throw across his body to fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, but the pass fell incomplete.
Warner said he felt the groin begin got give out twice on the play and limped to the center of the field after throwing. He laid down and grabbed at his right leg, before trainers helped him off the field. Warner was replaced by Josh McCown on Arizona’s next possession.
Warner was 8-of-13 for 105 yards and was sacked once. McCown didn’t fare better, finishing 10-of-23 for 97 yards and an interception on the last play. Arizona held a 175-170 advantage in total yards at halftime, but gained only 91 in the second half. Seattle finished with 447.
“It’s not working,” Arizona coach Dennis Green said. “You have a lot of strategies, you plan strategies and you want them to work. Now we’re sitting 0-3 and played very poorly in the second half.”
Arizona also lost nose tackle Russell Davis (biceps), linebacker Eric Johnson (left hamstring), and cornerbacks David Macklin (left hamstring) and Antrel Rolle (left knee) to injuries in the second half.
Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 54, 39, 50 and 39 for Arizona. The Cardinals have just one offensive touchdown all season.
Seattle received the second-half kickoff and promptly went 80 yards in 3:09. The Seahawks clipped off at least 12 yards on every play but one. Hasselbeck was 4-of-4 for 48 yards before Alexander scored from the 1.
On Arizona’s ensuing possession, Seattle safety Michael Boulware blitzed, jarring the ball from McCown. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard fell on the batted-around fumble and rolled to the Arizona 1 before being touched down. McCown said he felt the pressure coming.
“It opened up for me and I got a clean hit,” Boulware said.
It was the first turnover Seattle forced this season, and the Seahawks implemented an aggressive blitz package. Seattle finished with three sacks, and numerous hits on the quarterback.
Alexander plunged in on the next play following the fumble, giving the Seahawks a 24-9 lead. He also had a 25-yard TD run in the first quarter and Josh Brown kicked field goals of 33 and 47 yards.
^Notes: Arizona LB Orlando Huff, who played with Seattle last season, had a team-high 11 tackles, tied with Antrel Rolle and Adrian Wilson. … Former Seattle coach Chuck Knox was inducted to the team’s “Ring of Honor” at halftime. Knox coached Seattle from 1983-1991. … Brown’s 33-yard FG in the second quarter was his first attempt of the season.