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Seahawks' Victory Is a Bundle of Joy

Alexander watches birth of daughter, then helps Seattle rally past St. Louis, 24-23, to improve to 3-0.

September 22, 2003|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE — It isn't too often an NFL player winds up chasing the police, but that's what happened to Seattle running back Shaun Alexander on Sunday, an afternoon when his best lead blockers had their sirens blaring.

Alexander, whose priorities are as straight as his runs are shifty, missed the first quarter of a division game against St. Louis so he could be at a nearby hospital with his wife Valerie, who was giving birth to their first child. Shortly after their daughter was born, Alexander got an escort to the game from Seattle's Finest.

"From the beginning, I was like, 'This is going to be an awesome day,' " said Alexander, whose five-yard run set up Koren Robinson's winning three-yard touchdown catch in a 24-23 victory over the Rams. "The delivery was great. The pregnancy went perfect. I got to cut the cord and pull the baby out. That was my first catch of the day."

Now the labor starts for the Rams (1-2), who not only lost for the second time in three games but probably also lost Marshall Faulk to an apparent broken bone in his left hand. He was hurt early in the third quarter and had done precious little damage to that point: 31 yards in 15 carries.

"I worried about him all week," Seahawk Coach Mike Holmgren said. "When he wasn't in the game -- although I don't like to see anyone get hurt -- I was relieved."

So far this season, Faulk is a shadow of the running back named most valuable player in 2000. He has 116 yards in 42 carries -- a scrub-like average of 2.8 yards a carry -- and is missing the quick, unpredictable cutting ability that has defined his career. His best move Sunday was his quick escape from the locker room, when he headed for the bus with his hand bandaged.

Meanwhile, Seattle receiver Robinson lingered after the game, taking his time getting dressed, then walking back onto the field to do an interview and pose for some pictures with fans. He was soaking in the moment after sitting out the previous Sunday's game for disciplinary reasons.

He was taken out of the starting lineup against Arizona after showing up late for a meeting a day before the game. Holmgren had planned to use him later in that game, but the 38-0 blowout devolved into such a laugher that Robinson was superfluous. So he sat, and was contrite about his mistake all last week.

Against St. Louis, Robinson more than made up for his tardiness. He led all receivers with seven catches for 95 yards, including a rolling grab of the game-winner. As the packed stadium cheered its Seahawks -- 3-0 for the first time since 1998 -- Robinson popped to his feet, ran to the back of the end zone and flipped the ball into the field-level suite of teammate Shawn Springs. It was the same spot where the Sharpie-signed ball of Terrell Owens wound up after the San Francisco receiver scored a touchdown on "Monday Night Football" last season.

"That's not my style," a smiling Robinson said when asked why he didn't sign the ball. "Coach Holmgren said he'll put me on the first bus back to North Carolina if I do something like that."

Robinson's touchdown won the game, but something far less conspicuous kept Seattle's hopes alive. On third and eight at the St. Louis 13 with 1:54 remaining, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck scrambled and threw an incomplete pass. Officials flagged defensive tackle Brian Young for holding tackle Walter Jones, though, and gave the Seahawks a first down at the eight.

"It happens," Young said of the penalty. "You try to do what you can do and get away with whatever they'll let you get away with. They hold us all the time, so it's a little payback."

Alexander gained five yards on the next play, Hasselbeck threw an incomplete pass, then connected with Robinson on third down. The Rams had a minute to get into field-goal range, but after a short completion, Marc Bulger's final three passes were incomplete.

Bulger, who is 7-2 as the Rams' starting quarterback, completed 21 of 34 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Hasselbeck completed 22 of 39 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

The most euphoric Seahawk had to be Alexander, who rushed for 58 yards in 14 carries, then -- after speaking with reporters -- presumably rushed back to the hospital.

"Everybody knows that I just like to win," he said. "The thing that would have been torture was if I was still in the hospital and our team would have been losing."

As it is, the Seahawks have a chance to go 4-0 for the first time in franchise history -- their next game is in two weeks at Green Bay -- the sun was shining, the stadium was filled and noisy for a change, and Alexander has a memory of a lifetime to savor.

It's no wonder the new parents had no problem picking a name for their daughter: Heaven.

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