Reigning MVP Alexander returns in full stride

SEATTLE (AP) -- Brett Favre's kind of weather. Shaun Alexander's

kind of night.

Elias Says

Mike Holmgren
Mike Holmgren was 75-37 in regular-season play with the Packers and with Monday's win against Green Bay, he's now 70-53 with the Seahawks. He's only the second NFL head coach to have 70 or more regular-season wins with each of two franchises; Don Shula had 71 regular-season wins with the Colts and 257 with the Dolphins.

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Dashing through the rare Seattle snow, Alexander ran for a

season-high 201 yards Monday night to return to relevance and rally

the Seattle Seahawks to a 34-24 victory over Favre's Green Bay

Packers.

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.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...

The Packers just didn't have the firepower and experience to take advantage of the poor first-half play of Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck. After not playing for over a month, Hasselbeck lacked timing and forced poor throws. The experienced Seattle team didn't panic but rather turned to MVP RB Shaun Alexander. Alexander showed great vision, balance, burst and endurance as he tested his injured foot with 40 carries. Playing from behind, Favre lost his patience and forced passes, which resulted in a pair of second-half interceptions.

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.

Game notes:

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.