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Hawks' Alexander: 'I got stabbed in the back'

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by dmq, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. dmq

    dmq If I'm so pretty, why am I available?

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    Man, what a jerk!


    Monday, January 3, 2005

    Hawks' Alexander: 'I got stabbed in the back'
    Hawks' Alexander misses rushing title, upset about play calling in division-clinching win

    By CLARE FARNSWORTH
    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

    Shaun Alexander finished 1 yard shy of tying for the NFL rushing championship yesterday, and the Seahawks' Pro Bowl running back was not happy about it.


    GALLERY
    See photos from the game.

    "This is the first time I've ever been back-stabbed in my life," Alexander said in the Qwest Field locker room after the Seahawks won the NFC West title by outlasting the Atlanta Falcons 28-26.

    The focus of Alexander's frustration was what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Faced with a second-and-goal from the Falcons' 1-yard line with 4 1/2 minutes to play, the call was for a sneak by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

    Not a handoff to Alexander.

    As a result, he finished with 80 rushing yards in the game and 1,696 for the season. The Jets' Curtis Martin, who began the day 72 yards behind Alexander, rushed for 153 in New York's overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams to finish with 1,697.

    The difference?

    "Are you kidding me? You know the play," said Alexander, who is in the final year of his contract. "We all know what it was. Stabbed in the back."

    Alexander is the NFC rushing champion, joining Curt Warner and Chris Warren as the only to win conference rushing titles. He didn't become the first player in Seahawks history to win the NFL rushing title, but the Seahawks did win the NFC West title and will host the Rams in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday.

    "We were going to win, anyway," Alexander said. "We were on the freakin' goal line, and I got stabbed in the back.

    "That's it."

    Alexander did score the Seahawks' first touchdown, on a 1-yard run in the first quarter -- his 20th of the season, which leads the league. He also set a franchise record with his rushing total.

    But he didn't get the one carry that could have produced the 1 yard that would have made all the difference to Alexander.

    Alexander didn't get another chance, because the Falcons chewed up the remaining time with a 69-yard drive that ended with backup quarterback Matt Schaub throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brian Finneran.

    "It was too bad we couldn't get the ball back," coach Mike Holmgren said. "They ate up the clock on the last drive. Shaun had a chance for the rushing championship, and just missed it.

    "That was too bad, and I would have liked to have seen him get that."

    That was a repeat of what Holmgren told the Fox broadcast team during the production meeting Saturday. Holmgren never has had a back lead the league in rushing. He was so determined to make it happen that he had the team's public relations department compile a list of who was in the race entering the final games, and inform members of the coaching staff during the game how many yards Alexander needed to make it happen.

    "In my mind, Shaun has had a phenomenal year," Hasselbeck said. " ... As a quarterback, I watch a lot of film," Hasselbeck added. "I think Shaun Alexander has had as good a year as any running back in the NFL. His teammates feel that way. His coaches feel that way. And he should know that."

    Obviously, Alexander did not feel the same way after being left 1 yard, and one carry, short.

    P-I reporter Clare Farnsworth can be reached at 206-448-8016 or clarefarnsworth@seattlepi.com

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