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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hawks by a landslide

Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom (98) and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (51) celebrate a second-quarter sack of Texans quarterback David Carr on Sunday.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom (98) and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (51) celebrate a second-quarter sack of Texans quarterback David Carr on Sunday. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Scott M. Johnson Everett Herald

SEATTLE – With a national television audience watching Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks ground down any talk of an upset.

The Seahawks pounded their overmatched opponent, both literally and figuratively, to keep the Houston Texans winless with a convincing 42-10 win.

Seattle rode a team-record 320 rushing yards to an expected win that didn’t come with much drama. Shaun Alexander led the way with 141 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.

“We’re mature. We handle our business,” Alexander said. “There are games you’re supposed to win, and this was one of them.”

The Seahawks left very little doubt which team was leading the NFC West and which was still looking for its first win of the season. The Seahawks piled up a season-high 459 yards of offense, compared to only 227 by the 0-5 Texans, and held a double-digit lead from the end of the first quarter on.

Things were under such control that Alexander was held out most of the fourth quarter, while quarterback Matt Hasselbeck joined him on the bench for Seattle’s final offensive series.

Alexander’s backup, Maurice Morris, did a decent impersonation of his Pro Bowl teammate, gaining a career-high 104 yards. It marked only the third time in team history that two Seahawks have gone over the 100-yard mark in the same game, and the first time since John L. Williams and Curt Warner did it on Dec. 11, 1988.

“I was very happy with how we rushed the ball,” said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, whose team broke the franchise rushing record by a single yard Sunday. “The Texans have made it difficult for other teams to run the football on them, but our offensive line did a good job – obviously, because Shaun and Mo both went over 100.

“We needed to control the ball with our running game, and I think that was one of the keys to the game.”

Not that the pounding performance was a thing of beauty.

The game opened with a Houston drive that saw penalties on four of the first five plays. And the Texans weren’t the only team that looked like an NFL sad sack, as two of the flags were called on Seattle defensive end Bryce Fisher for being offsides.

But Holmgren’s patience wore thin, and after he called a timeout 1:44 into the game to lay into both his defensive players and the game officials, the Seahawks settled down and started looking more like the team that was heavily favored to win the game.

Seattle’s performance had many of the familiar storylines that have carried the Seahawks to the top of the NFC West. Alexander scored multiple touchdowns for the 23rd time in his NFL career and went over the 100-yard mark for the 26th time.

Unlike Seattle’s other victories this year, however, this one was essentially over at halftime.

If the Seahawks’ 21-3 lead wasn’t enough to draw viewers to something more aesthetically pleasing, Houston’s eight first-half penalties might have been. The two teams combined for 12 penalties, eight by Houston, in a methodical first half that took 100 minutes to play.

By halftime, the Seahawks had 212 yards of offense and a comfortable 21-3 lead.

The game was not exactly what ESPN executives had in mind when they put it on the schedule for prime time.

“That was a game with a lot of intensity,” Hawks safety Ken Hamlin said. “I don’t know how (television viewers) couldn’t have liked it.”

Those football fans who didn’t turn the channel at halftime were treated to more of the same on the opening drive of the second half, when Seattle drove 70 yards and scored on another Alexander run.

He added a nifty 23-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter before stepping aside and letting Morris take over as the feature back.

Morris needed just eight carries to establish his career high for yards, due in large part to a 49-yard run in the third quarter.

“Everybody knows what Mo can do,” Alexander said. “I’m his biggest fan.”

The grind-it-out style of football might not be typical for a Holmgren-coached team, but the Seahawks saw it as a thing of beauty Sunday night.

“That’s the way you envision yourself playing every week,” said wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, who scored Seattle’s only non-rushing TD.

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