NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—The Seattle Seahawks don’t want to worry about what any other team in the NFL is doing.
With each victory, they are closer to making that reality.
Matt Hasselbeck threw three touchdown passes, including a 2-yarder to Darrell Jackson in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks rallied for a 28-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday that clinched a first-round bye for the NFC West champions.
Seattle (12-2) won its 10th straight for the first time in team history and also matched the 1984 squad for most victories in a season.
The Seahawks had a chance to wrap up home-field advantage in the playoffs— another club first—on Sunday night, but NFC North-leading Chicago beat Atlanta in the late game to improve to 10-4.
“Our goal right now is to get the first-round bye,” Hasselbeck said. “We got it. Our next goal is to play at home. If Chicago takes care of business, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. … Instead of rooting for teams, it’s been nice not to have to worry about teams.”
The Seahawks planned to watch the Atlanta-Chicago game via satellite on their flight home to Seattle on a jet from chairman Paul Allen. Coach Mike Holmgren planned to enjoy this victory before worrying about Saturday’s game with Indianapolis.
“This might be the only time I ever root for the Falcons,” Holmgren said.
Hasselbeck finished with 285 yards as the Seahawks beat the Titans (4-10) for the fifth straight time in their first meeting since 1998.
Shaun Alexander also ran for a touchdown, giving him an NFL-best 24, and the league’s best rusher coming into the weekend became only the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 1,600 yards in consecutive seasons. He finished with 26 carries for 172 yards.
“It’s great to know I’m going to be in the second round of the playoffs,” Alexander said. “This is a new door for us, but it’s something we’ve been preparing for for a long time, so we’re really excited.”
The Titans weren’t happy with coming up close. They have lost five games by eight points or less this season.
“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re four points behind a team that’s got the best record in the NFC,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “I can tell you this. I’m proud of the fight and proud of everything I got out of our football team.”
The Seahawks had to work a little harder in this game after blowing out Philadelphia and San Francisco the previous two weeks.
Steve McNair, playing perhaps his final game in The Coliseum with a $50 million bonus due in the offseason, chewed up one of the NFL’s better defenses by attacking a secondary missing three defensive backs to injury.
He led the Titans to 24 straight points and a 24-14 lead midway through the third quarter. He threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns, and Jarrett Payton also ran for a TD.
The Titans had a chance to pad their lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, after keeping the drive alive with a fake punt for a 26-yard completion. Facing fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 6, Chris Brown tried to run right and was stopped for a 1-yard loss.
Hasselbeck responded with a 13-play, 93-yard drive that ended when Jackson scored the go-ahead touchdown with 8:59 to go. Jackson was playing and starting for the first time since Seattle started this winning streak on Oct. 2 after missing time with a knee injury.
That left the Titans plenty of time, but McNair threw incomplete on a pass on fourth-and-2 at the Seattle 34.
“Teams like us, who haven’t had as many wins, we kind of stumble a little bit to try to make some plays instead of keeping our composure as well,” Titans tight end Ben Troupe said.
Seattle started the game where it left off after winning by a combined score of 83-3 in the previous two games. The Seahawks outgained Tennessee 195-24 on offense with Alexander rushing for 87 yards on his first eight carries.
Then Tennessee’s Antwan Odom sliced through the line and blocked a 36-yard field goal attempt by Josh Brown early in the second. McNair moved the Titans on three straight drives of at least 78 yards that gave them a 21-14 lead early in the third.
Hasselbeck hasn’t been intercepted in six road games this season, a stretch of 177 passing attempts. … Jackson finished with six catches for 72 yards. … McNair’s second TD pass put him over 3,000 yards passing for the fifth time in his career and fourth in the past five seasons. The quarterback also wished his wife, Mechelle, a happy birthday on the Jumbotron.