Work in Sports
After learning Galloway had finally ended his holdout, the Seahawks rolled over the hapless Cincinnati Bengals, 37-20, to take over sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
Kitna passed for three touchdowns and Ricky Watters rushed for 138 yards and a score on 28 carries for Seattle, which got more good news earlier today when Kansas City suffered a 25-17 loss to Indianapolis. That result, coupled with Seattle's win, gave the Seahawks a one-game lead over the Chiefs in the AFC West.
"Each week we just keep growing into this thing," Kitna said. "Early in the game, we needed to play well offensively. They were blitzing every single down, making it tough. It was important for us to play well early. We did that."
Looking to end the longest current postseason drought in the NFL, the surging Seahawks have won six of their last seven and reached the midpoint at 6-2. They have not been in the playoffs since 1988, which also is the last time they were in first place this late.
"We can enjoy it tonight and enjoy it tomorrow, then get back to business because we've got a good Denver team coming in Sunday night," Seattle receiver Derrick Mayes said. "You really don't want to dwell on too many things right now. You want to stay up, stay focused and keep working."
Brimming with confidence following their emotional victory over Green Bay at Lambeau Field, the Seahawks avoided a letdown and put together four touchdown drives in the first half against the defensively-challenged Bengals. Cincinnati (1-8) has allowed 30 or more points in six of its nine games.
"The short week is a burden but if you're chosen to play on Monday night, that is an honor and you have established yourself just a little bit, so I will take that," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said.
The AFC's Offensive Player of the Month for October, Kitna completed 14-of-24 passes for 202 yards with two interceptions. He threw an eight-yard TD pass to Watters in the first quarter and scoring strikes of 20 yards to Mike Pritchard and 10 yards to Mayes in the second quarter, helping Seattle open a 28-10 halftime lead and coast to the victory.
Jeff Blake completed 18-of-35 for 287 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Bengals, who suffered their fourth straight loss and committed 16 penalties for 107 yards. Corey Dillon rushed for 81 yards on 16 carries.
"We had over 100 yards in penalties," Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet said. "The first two or three snaps of the game, they said we were lining up offside. It's crazy. We can't afford to give anybody that many penalties. It hurt us."
Galloway, whose holdout has cost him half of his 1999 salary of $1.6 million, will report on Monday. His decision to rejoin the Seahawks is not surprising since he needed to report by November 14 in order to get credit for his fifth NFL season, making him eligible for unrestricted free agency following the season.
"If Joey comes back, that's an extra bonus for us," Kitna said.
"I hope that he comes back. I'm sure he'll be in great shape. He always is and we'll go from there. Hopefully, he'll get the timing down quick and he will be able to contribute as soon as possible and make everybody better."
Cincinnati linebacker Canute Curtis suffered a neck injury and was taken to Harborview Hospital in Seattle for X-rays. Results of the X-rays were not immediately available but Curtis had full movement of his sensory and motor skills.
"Whatever tests they've given him so far are negative," Coslet said. "We don't know if he's going to go back on the plane with us or not. They're giving him some more tests."
After defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy returned an interception to the Bengals 29, Watters ripped off a 19-yard touchdown run to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead 2:54 into the first quarter.
Watters recorded his 27th career 100-yard game and sixth with the Seahawks. His teams are 25-2 when he goes over the century mark, including a 6-0 mark with Seattle.
"Ricky is running the ball," Kitna said. "He's not getting a lot of carries that are negative yards. It really takes pressure off me, when you know you can give the ball to Ricky and he's going to grind people down. That's what he did tonight."
"I like the way everybody came out here and fought this week," Watters added. " Everybody thought we would have a letdown ...
no letdown today."
After the Bengals got on the board on Doug Pelfrey's 50-yard field goal, Kitna engineered a 67-yard drive in seven plays. He connected with Pritchard for 32 yards, before hitting Watters in the end zone for a 14-3 Seattle lead with 7:36 left in the opening quarter.
Cincinnati stayed close for a while, pulling within 14-10 on Blake's 75-yard TD pass to Carl Pickens with 2:02 left in the first quarter. It was the longest reception of Pickens' career.
However, the Seahawks took control in the second period with scoring drives of 56 and 30 yards. After Pritchard's TD reception made it 21-10, Brice's 27-yard punt return set up Kitna's scoring strike to Mayes.
The Bengals missed a chance to close to 24-17 when Dillon slipped in the end zone, allowing linebacker Darrin Smith to come out with an easy interception with 1:49 remaining in the half.
"I think we did a very good tonight," Dillon said. "I think everyone fought until the end and that is all we can ask of each other."
Seattle was kept out of the end zone in the second half, managing three field goals by Todd Peterson, but the outcome was well in hand.
"It seemed like we played good in the first half and tapered things off in the second," Kitna said." We had some drives where we were just not scoring in the second half. It was good to get a win and play well early. " Cincinnati got a meaningless score late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard TD run by Blake, who also rushed for 43 yards on five carries.