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Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - Page updated at 12:22 A.M.

Hawks get measure of revenge vs. Packers

By Greg Bishop
Seattle Times staff reporter

Green Bay’s Michael Hawthorne (27) tries to chase down Seahawks wide receiver Darrell Jackson during the first quarter last night in Green Bay.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. — If only exhibition games served as postseason indicators, then the Seahawks looked every bit the team destined to live up to its lofty preseason billing come January.

And if you're looking for a bridge to buy, we know an excellent location.

This is August. The first game against another team. And in a preseason-opening 21-3 win over the Green Bay Packers in front of 69,718 cheeseheads last night, the Seahawks looked every bit a playoff team.

But while the postgame locker room was full of enough slapping to injure a few more backs, the Seahawks realize the road ahead is much longer than the first step they took toward a return trip to the playoffs and their first victory there since 1984.

"This," said running back Kerry Carter, gesturing around the visiting team's quarters, "is a happy locker room.

"Now, it's back to work."

Carter was one of few Seahawks to admit that this game meant something — returning to Lambeau Field, where last season ended in an interception returned for a touchdown in the playoffs, the place the Seahawks left twice last season with their heads down.

Seahawks quarterback Seneca Wallace (15) passes downfield as Green Bay defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins pursues last night at Lambeau Field.
"Oh yeah, I definitely had a bad taste in my mouth from both losses last year," he said. "This feels good. We played well. We got the win. I don't care if it's preseason, regular season or the Super Bowl. A win's a win."

Especially when so much goes so right, when the defense dominates and the offense clicks (at times) and the young players don't look all that young.

The Seahawks scored once in each quarter except the third and held Green Bay to 118 yards and a field goal. They left with only two more injured players than they came with — defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and guard Jerry Wunsch — and an added level of confidence heading back to training camp.

"It was just fun," said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who led one touchdown drive and completed 5 of 9 passes for 56 yards. "That's what football is supposed to be like."

Hasselbeck received specific instructions from "someone very important" not to say anything before the coin toss. After the Seahawks won the overtime toss last season, he famously opined, "We want the ball, and we're going to score," to the referee and a national television audience.

That didn't stop his former Packers teammates from talking a little friendly trash last night, but Hasselbeck held steady and marched the Seahawks 68 yards on 14 plays during their second drive to take a 7-3 lead.

From there, the Seneca Wallace show commenced. He finished 14 of 26 for 135 yards, with one touchdown and one interception that was called back for pass interference. He also threw a monster block on a nifty 21-yard cutback run by Maurice Morris.

Coach Mike Holmgren looks over his play chart in the second quarter.
Wallace had his ups and downs. But one drive showcased why anyone who gave up on him after the Seahawks signed Brock Huard in the offseason needs to rethink that decision.

Wallace hit Alex Bannister for 15 yards on a diving grab over the middle, then rolled left and sailed a pass to Itula Mili for nine more. Another 16 yards to Jason Willis. Thirteen more on a left-side dump to Carter. And finally a 2-yard touchdown toss to Jerheme Urban.

"When he had time, he was pretty effective," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "He played a smart game. I like Seneca Wallace, I really do. We'll just have to see how the year goes."

If it goes anything like last night, it should last longer than most Seahawks seasons.

The two quarterbacks spread 19 completions to 12 receivers. Carter caught four passes and ran for 34 yards on 11 carries. Morris gained 36 yards on 13 rushes.

Tight end Jerramy Stevens caught three passes for 32 yards after getting the starting nod because of his strong camp. First-round draft pick Marcus Tubbs sacked Brett Favre on his first NFL play.

The defense notched six sacks and frustrated Packers backup quarterback Tim Couch on so many occasions that fans rained boos from the upper deck.

But this effort came without Pro Bowl linemen Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, starting receiver Koren Robinson and defensive end Grant Wistrom. It came from mainly backups on a team that's deeper than any in Holmgren's tenure.

"Any time you win a game, it's fun," Holmgren said. "There was great feeling on the team, and I hope it continues."

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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