Alexander is rounding back into his 2005 league MVP form after missing six games with a broken foot, and it couldn’t have come at a better time: His career-high 40 carries helped Seattle overcome quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s shaky return from a sprained knee.
“I feel like I need a massage and a cold whirlpool and some good rest,” said Alexander, who bested a previous high of 35 carries.
With the white stuff falling for the first time at a Seattle home game, it seemed like a more natural setting for the Packers. Favre, who fell to 41-9 when the temperature is 34 degrees or less, was making his 252nd straight start—and possibly his final appearance on the Monday-night stage he has lit up over his shining career.
Instead, the evening belonged to Alexander, who skated across this new frozen tundra for his first 100-yard game of the season and showed that his still-cracked left foot is far from broken anymore.
“Classic Shaun Alexander,” fullback Mack Strong said.
The Seahawks (7-4), embarrassed last week in a 20-14 loss at San Francisco, took a two-game lead in the NFC West. They overcame four first-half turnovers by Hasselbeck—including one returned for a touchdown by Abdul Hodge—and stayed in the game with four field goals off the snowy turf by Josh Brown.
Hasselbeck, returning from a sprained right knee, finished 17-for-36 for 157 yards and three touchdowns to offset his three interceptions.
Alexander, who returned just last week, said he could relate to his quarterback’s struggles.
“I think Matt went through what I went through last week,” Alexander said. “The game is so fast. It’s one of those things, he’s trying to throw and make plays, and at times the ball was getting away or was a little bit behind, or he was just one step off. You could tell in the second half he just got a little bit better, a little bit better, and used to the speed.”
Trailing 21-12 early in the second half, Seattle began its comeback behind Alexander, whose 40 rushes were also a franchise record.
He ran for 42 yards on four carries to drive Seattle to its go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter. Hasselbeck ended that drive with a perfectly lofted, 4-yard touchdown pass onto the hands of Darrell Jackson for a 27-21 lead.
After Green Bay (4-7) cut the deficit to three, Alexander got the Seahawks close to the end zone, then Hasselbeck made the best throw of his up-and-down night—a 3-yard touchdown dart that stuck onto the hands of Jerramy Stevens in the back of the end zone to make it 34-24 and essentially put the game away.
Favre fell to 17-15 on Monday nights and 3-2 against his old coach, Mike Holmgren, who helped turn the gunslinging quarterback into a star and combined with Favre for Green Bay’s Super Bowl title in 1996.
At game’s end, Favre ran across the field to meet Holmgren on Seattle’s side of the field. They exchanged a long hug and pats on the back before Favre jogged off the field into his locker room—knowing the Packers need something short of a miracle to return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
That Favre was on the field was a testament to his toughness. In a 35-0 loss to New England last week, Favre was knocked out of the game with an injured elbow and numb fingers. He didn’t practice until Friday, but gutted it out to keep his starting string alive.
“I thought the ball came off his hand accurately,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.”
But Favre did not make himself available for interviews.
The 16-year veteran had flashes of brilliance, like the perfectly thrown slant he threw to Donald Driver for a 48-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give him 410 for his career, 10 away from Dan Marino for the league record.
Besides that, though, this was a struggle for Green Bay.
Favre finished 22-for-36 for 266 yards with three interceptions—a season high. The first was a force intended for the well-covered Bubba Franks after the Packers moved into good field position in the first quarter. Kelly Herndon intercepted that.
Herndon kept the ball.
“On the ball, I’ll probably put, ‘An interception from Brett Favre.’,” Herndon said.
The next two Favre interceptions came with Green Bay in comeback mode—one an overthrow intended for Chris Francies that Marcus Trufant intercepted, and the second an underthrow that resulted in Kelly Jennings’ first career pick with 3:46 to go. Favre showed none of his trademark fire after that one—simply walking off the field.
The Seahawks’ previous high for rushing attempts was 36, set by Chris Warren. … Packers rookie LB A.J. Hawk had 14 tackles, his third double-digit tackle game of the season. … The kickoff temperature of 34 degrees was the coldest ever for a Seahawks home game.