02-19-2017  8:09 pm      •     

Seahawks Wide receiver Deion Branch and Oregon State alumni and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson exchange a hug after the game in which Seattle prevailed with a 24-21 victory. Branch completed a 42-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

It was a nail-biter at the end. Trailing 21-17 with a little over two minutes left in the game, the Seahawks scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass, and during the ensuing kickoff return, with less than one minute left, forced and recovered a fumble, sealing the win.
In a wild game, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-21 Sunday afternoon in front of 68,110 screaming fans at Qwest Field. After the Hasselbeck/Alexander devastating hand-off loss last week at Arizona, the Seahawks found a way to bounce back for a much-needed win over the Bengals.
The Seahawks secondary kept the Bengals offense off-balance with Deion Grant and Brian Russell each having an interception, proving the Seahawks made the right choices when signing the safeties in free agency. Grant had nine tackles and his interception preserved the Seahawks victory after Bengals wide receiver Glenn Holt was hit hard by linebacker Lance Laury and running back Alvin Pearman caused the ball to pop out and land in Grant's hands.
"I love the challenge," Grant said. "It's one of the reason's I wanted to come to Seattle and this just shows if you stay mentally focused throughout the game and do your job, you'll come out with a win."
"Special teams started the game with a big play and ended the game with a big play," Coach Mike Holmgren said. "That's what you need from your special teams, so it was a total team effort."
Linebacker Leroy Hill forced a fumble in the second quarter meant for Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh that was recovered by cornerback Kelly Jennings.
"It felt good to be back," Hill said after missing last week's game with a sprained foot. "I just wanted to show everyone I was back," Hill said after finished the game with seven tackles and a quarterback hurry. "We stopped them, applied pressure and kept them out of the endzone and I have faith in our offense that we'd get the job done."
Cornerback Marcus Trufant kept tight coverage on All-Pro Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, who led the NFL in receiving yards entering the game and finished with nine receptions for 138 yards but without scoring a single touchdown.
Special teams made big plays in the game with two long kickoff returns, including the explosive start of rookie Josh Wilson returning the opening kickoff 72 yards. Three plays later, Matt Hasselbeck connected with receiver Bobby Engram for an 18-yard touchdown pass putting the Hawks on the board only 90 seconds into the game.
"Every phase of our football team contributed. Our best football is still ahead there's no doubt we will continue to work hard and get better and improve our running game, Holmgren said.
The Seahawks 12th man contributed to three false start offensive penalties against the Bengals for a total of 10 penalties for 72 yards. "Probably the loudest place I have ever played," said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer who completed 27 of 43 passes for 342 yards. Palmer completed only one touchdown and was intercepted twice.
Running back Shaun Alexander, still playing with the cast on his left wrist, rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries but after the game discovered he has a small crack in the wrist he sprained in the home opener against Tampa Bay. Holmgren said Alexander will continue to play despite the crack in his wrist.
Hasselbeck also completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch in the second quarter and the 22-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Nate Burleson. Burleson caught six passes for 76 yards, Branch caught six passes for 77 yards and Engram had five for 62 yards. Hasselbeck finished the game completing 24 of 37 passes for 248 yards.
Holmgren said that they still have work to do on running the ball consistently and knows there's room for improvement.
"I wasn't particularly happy with how we ran the ball," Holmgren said. "We ran it a little bit at the end of the game and got some yards. But early on, we weren't too successful."
The Seahawks are 2-1 and tied for the lead in the NFC West with the division rivals San Francisco 49ers going into this week's game in San Francisco.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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