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Seattle 21, Kansas City 18
Posted: Sunday January 06, 2002 09:16 PM
Kansas City Chiefs
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Seattle Seahawks
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SEATTLE (Ticker) -- With a Priest in the house, the Seattle Seahawks will have to wait until Monday to have their playoff prayers answered.

Shaun Alexander rushed for 114 of his 127 yards after halftime as the Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 21-18 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Needing a victory and a New York Jets loss to Oakland in order to qualify for the playoffs, the Seahawks (9-7) did their part.

But New York defeated Oakland, meaning the Seahawks now need Minnesota to win at the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Monday night to make the playoffs. That seems unlikely since Minnesota has lost 10 straight road games and will be starting third-string quarterback Spergon Wynn.

"I'll be watching and rooting," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "If Minnesota wins, we're in. However, if we had played well in a few other games, we wouldn't have to depend on someone else. Our goal was to make the playoffs. If we don't get there, it's disappointing."

Alexander did his part in keeping the Seahawks alive, carrying 20 times for 127 yards, including a 44-yard TD run in the third quarter that gave Seattle a 21-10 lead. He had 13 yards on six carries in the first half.

Trent Dilfer also did his job, passing for a pair of touchdowns. Dilfer has won his last 15 starts, including four with Seattle this season.

"I'm very pleased with Trent's play," Holmgren said. "He's come here and done exactly what I've expected him to do. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He's the hottest quarterback in the NFL and has been for 15 games."

Ironically, Dilfer needs the team he led to the Super Bowl title last season to lose Monday for his club to make the postseason.

"We can't control tomorrow night, but I'll be watching and I hope that (Vikings receiver) Randy Moss goes crazy and scores five touchdowns," Dilfer said. "I just want to get into the playoffs. We have the team that could do a lot of damage if we get there. We run the ball well and stop the run on defense. It's not glamorous, but it's how you win championships."

Kansas City's Priest Holmes carried 23 times for 117 yards to win the NFL's rushing title. In his first season as a Chief, Holmes, another former Raven, finished with 1,555 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

Holmes' rushing total also broke Christian Okoye's club record of 1,480, set in 1989.

"I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to break the record," said Holmes, who also finished with 2,169 yards from scrimmage. "Everyone did all they could to help me achieve this. The guys were excited but we didn't accomplish all of our goals today. We didn't win."

Trent Green passed for a touchdown and Tony Richardson scored on a short run for the Chiefs (6-10), who finished in fourth place in the AFC West in Dick Vermeil's first season on the Kansas City sidelines.

"I am proud of our team, they never quit," Vermeil said. "Injuries hurt us all year but we've got a solid nucleus of fine football players that we can move forward and become a better football team."

Things didn't go the Seahawks' way early on after they moved to the Kansas City 26 on their second possession. Rian Lindell, who has struggled was wide on a 44-yard field goal, keeping the contest scoreless.

Kansas City had a chance to take grab the lead, but former Seahawk Todd Peterson missed wide right on 43-yard field goal.

Early in the second quarter, Dilfer committed one of his few miscues when he was intercepted by linebacker Marvcus Patton inside the Kansas City 15.

But Dilfer made up for that miscue later in the second quarter, taking the Seahawks 71 yards in seven plays.

He kept the drive alive with a 15-yard completion to Darrell Jackson on a 3rd-and-10 play to midfield and also connected with rookie Koren Robinson for 20 yards to the 30.

After consecutive completions to Alexander, Dilfer capped the drive with 4:41 left before halftime by finding Jackson for a 12-yard touchdown pass, giving the Seahawks a 7-0 advantage.

Dilfer also came up big on the next drive, engineering a 10-play, 72-yard drive. On that march, Dilfer found tight end Christian Fauria with a 30-yard pass to the Kansas City 22.

Two plays after finding Fauria, Dilfer drilled a strike over the middle to Jackson for an 18-yard TD, making it 14-0 with 21 seconds left before intermission.

Dilfer was at his best in the first half, going 17-of-27 for 210 yards with those two TDs and an interception. He went just 5-of-11 for 26 yards after halftime.

Kansas City's offense took a hit on the final play of the half when tight end Tony Gonzalez injured his knee trying to grab a "Hail Mary" pass in the end zone. He did not return.

A miscue by the Seahawks on their first possession of the second half helped Kansas City get back into the game.

Jeff Feagles had a punt blocked deep in his own territory by linebacker Glenn Cadrez and safety Jason Belser recovered for the Chiefs at the Seattle 1.

Richardson ran for no gain, but Green found Mikhael Ricks for a one-yard TD on the next play, pulling the Chiefs within 14-7. Green finished 15-of-33 for 184 yards and an interception.

Kansas City was in position to tie the game later in the third quarter, with a 1st-and-goal at the Seahawks 7.

But Green threw a pair of incompletions around a run by Holmes that lost two yards. Peterson kicked a 27-yard field goal with 5:47 left in the quarter, making it 14-10.

Sparked by that defensive stand, the Seahawks; offense got going later in the quarter as they went 76 yards in five plays.

Alexander had runs of 12 and 17 yards on the drive. He capped the march with a 44-yard run for a TD down the right sideline, giving Seattle a 21-10 lead with 39 seconds left in the period.

Alexander, the Seahawks' 2000 first-round pick, finished the season with 1,318 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. He saw a majority of playing time in the Seattle backfield due to a pair of injuries to veteran Ricky Watters.

In control for much of the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had their cut into when Richardson capped the scoring with a one-yard run with 51 seconds left.

Wide receiver Bobby Engram recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory for Seattle.