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Originally published Monday, December 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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A last hurrah

They braved below-freezing temperatures and falling snow to come and say goodbye to their team and to Mike Holmgren on Sunday, and Seahawks fans were rewarded for their loyalty and support.

Seattle Times staff reporter

They braved below-freezing temperatures and falling snow to come and say goodbye to their team and to Mike Holmgren on Sunday, and Seahawks fans were rewarded for their loyalty and support.

Seattle won a low-scoring, mistake-filled contest 13-3 over the New York Jets before less than a full house at the Qwest Snow Globe, but winning the regular-season home finale was the important thing. Especially on the day the Seahawks and their fans bid farewell to Holmgren in his last home game as coach.

The Seahawks' defense played its best game of the season. Quarterback Seneca Wallace played mistake-free football in running his streak of passes without an interception to 183, a franchise record, and cornerback Josh Wilson's second interception of the day with 1:16 remaining was the finishing touch.

"The Jets are a good football team and they will finish very well this season," Holmgren said after the game, his voice tinged with emotion, "but today, in this atmosphere, with the weather the way it was, I couldn't be more proud of the football team. It's the best present they could give me for Christmas."

The cold and snow couldn't put this wintry party on ice. Fans lobbed snowballs out of the stands in jubilation in the final seconds, especially after Wilson ran to a snowbank along the south end zone after his interception. He threw snow in the air, then jumped into the crowd.

Then, when the clock struck zero, Holmgren walked to midfield, exchanged pleasantries with his prized pupil of the past, Jets quarterback Brett Favre, and began a victory lap around the field to wave goodbye to the crowd.

Fans chanted "Holm-gren, Holm-gren," as he started the walk, ending a happy afternoon by thanking the man who led the Seahawks to five division titles, six playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance.

The Seahawks finally broke through at home after five straight losses at Qwest Field and are 4-11 with their regular-season finale at Arizona remaining to play.

"Everybody had a little bit more," said defensive end Darryl Tapp, who had 1 ½ sacks and two tackles for loss. "You want to send him [Holmgren] out on the right note. This season hasn't gone the way you wanted it to go, but we were able to get him this last home win of the season."

It wasn't easy in the elements and against a Jets team led by the dangerous Favre, and with New York trying to win its division or at least improve its chances for an AFC playoff spot.

The Seahawks snowballed that plan for the moment, dropping the Jets to 9-6.

After falling behind 3-0 on the opening drive of the game, Seattle's defense began to take over. Favre was often ducking and getting away from pressure, and Seahawks defensive backs made plays on the ball.

The teams traded turnovers in the second quarter before Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver fumbled the ball at the Jets' 5-yard line.

The Jets recovered at the 3 but advanced only 13 yards. The Seahawks forced a punt, got the ball at the New York 40 and got help from a facemask penalty as they moved to the Jets' 2.

That's when Wallace floated a pass over the top of Jets linebacker David Harris's arms and into those of tight end John Carlson for a touchdown with 31 seconds left in the first half.

The Seahawks closed the half with Craig Terrill sacking Favre.

The Seahawks drove for a 31-yard Olindo Mare field goal in the third quarter, running back Maurice Morris gaining 38 of his 116 rushing yards on that possession. They made the lead stand, with the help of a Jets penalty that negated a field goal and forced a punt.

Later in the fourth quarter, with the Jets forced to go for a first down on fourth-and-two from their 20, Favre's pass was broken up by cornerback Kelly Jennings.

The Seahawks took over and Mare's field goal made the score 13-3. Wilson's interception followed, and Qwest was abuzz.

"My only regret is that we couldn't win a few more games this season for them," Holmgren said of the fans. "We have guys that care. We have good players. We have a good organization. We have great fans. So they'll be bouncing right back up on top again.

"But I want the players to remember the feelings that we got out of the last couple of weeks of the season."

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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