made a prophet out of Mike Holmgren.
Brown tied an NFL single-season record with his fourth winning
field goal in the final minute, nailing a 50-yarder with 4 seconds
left to give the Seattle Seahawks a 23-20 win over the stumbling
|Scouts Inc.'s take ...|
Denver might have made a switch at the QB position, but at the end of the day, the results were very similar. Rookie QB Jay Cutler (right) struggled mightily in his first start. Plummer had his own struggles, too, but the difference was that the majority of his bad starts included a victory. Behind the scenes, the Denver coaching staff was telling anyone who would listen about how much the QB change would help. They were talking about how they would now be able to open up their offense. In Cutler's defense, it was the first start of his career, but the offense looked just about the same. Denver was able to run the ball and struggled to throw it, which is the same problem they have been fighting all season. This was a real nice win for Seattle. Despite still having some struggles on the defensive side of the ball, they were able to force five turnovers and add a defensive TD. That was difference for Seattle in this football game.
By halftime, Brown had missed from 40 and 53 yards, Hasselbeck
had thrown for just 39 yards and Alexander had run for only 15
"I told the team at halftime I knew we would win the game, that
somehow, some way, we would win the game," Holmgren said. "And we
Brown made all three of his kicks in the fourth quarter, but
didn't forget that he missed from 40 and 53 yards in the first
"He pointed out that if he had made the earlier ones, maybe we
wouldn't have been in that position at the end," Holmgren said.
Or if Alexander had averaged more than 1.7 yards per carry. Or
Hasselbeck, bothered by a sore left hand and balky right knee, had
completed more than six of his 14 pass attempts.
About the only thing that went right for the Seahawks (8-4) in
the first half was the play of Cutler. The rookie QB's first career
interception went into the hands of another rookie, defensive
lineman Darryl Tapp, who trimmed Denver's 10-0 lead by returning it
25 yards for a touchdown.
Denver (7-5) had five turnovers, its most at home since 2000.
Seattle started its winning drive from its 14 with 2:31 left
after the Broncos had tied it at 20 on Cutler's 71-yard touchdown
toss to fellow rookie Brandon Marshall, who broke three tackles on
the play and outran another defender.
"That's all Brandon Marshall," Cutler said. "I didn't do
anything. I just got him the ball and he made a big play for us. We
have a lot of guys like that and we need to spread the ball around
Before that, Cutler had thrown for just 72 yards.
On third-and-4 from his 20-yard line, Hasselbeck found Nate
Burleson for 16 yards. Brown, who was good from 44, 23 earlier in
the fourth quarter, lined up from 50 yards and booted it right down
"Josh Brown's been clutch for us all season long," Hasselbeck
said. "He's a great kicker."
Cutler, the last of the "Big Three" quarterbacks from the 2006
draft class to make his debut, met the same fate as Vince Young and
Matt Leinart -- a loss. Cutler finished 10-for-21 for 143 yards with
two TDs and two interceptions.
"To have a game like this and have two picks and have one
housed, it's tough," Cutler said.
Coach Mike Shanahan said he was pleased with Cutler's
"I think he did pretty good for being his first game,"
Shanahan said. "I'm a little disappointed in myself. I think I put
too much in the game plan for this being his first game."
Denver lost middle linebacker Al Wilson to a sprained neck in
the fourth quarter -- Wilson was carted off the field.
Seattle's only score in the first half came when Cutler was
wrapped up by Bryce Fisher and threw the ball up for grabs. Tapp
snared it and sprinted 25 yards for the score that cut Denver's
lead to 10-7.
"I made some mistakes," Cutler said. "I blame myself."
The Broncos hadn't lost three straight since 2003 and hadn't
dropped three in a row at home since 2002.
The Seahawks stumbled themselves for three quarters.
Hasselbeck was just 10-for-20 for 75 yards when the Seahawks got
the ball at their 39 with 9:42 left, trailing 13-7. He hit Darrell
Jackson for gains of 27 and 33 yards, then handed to Alexander, who
took it in from 1 yard to give Seattle a 14-13 lead.
Brown kicked field goals of 44 and 23 yards after Denver
turnovers to make it 20-13 before Marshall's sensational TD.
Hasselbeck finished 16-for-28 for 168 yards.
Cutler, the first rookie to start for Denver since Tommy Maddox
filled in for an injured John Elway 14 years ago, expected to spend
this season watching and learning. But the Broncos turned to the
former Vanderbilt star and 11th pick in the NFL draft after an
ineffective Jake Plummer was benched following back-to-back losses
to AFC West rivals San Diego and Kansas City that threatened to
derail their season.
Denver's Tatum Bell, who missed three of the last four games
with sprained toes, gained 133 yards on 23 carries but had just 21
yards in the second half.
Alexander, coming off a 201-yard performance against the Packers
in his return from a two-month absence with a broken foot, ran 26
times for 90 yards despite the loss for much of the game of his
lead back, Mack Strong, to a sprained ankle.
The Broncos took a 13-7 lead into the locker room when Jason
Elam kicked a 41-yard field goal with a second left after injuring
his left hamstring while gaining 2 yards on a fake field goal on
fourth down.Game notes
The Seahawks went three-and-out six times in their first
eight possessions. ... Denver CB Champ Bailey got his sixth
interception of the season. ... Plummer was a backup for the first
time in his 10-year career.
- Scott Green