Hawks hope for more Cochran heroics

  • By Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Monday, December 13, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

KIRKLAND – Antonio Cochran made one of the biggest plays of his career Sunday, and now the Seattle Seahawks are hoping for more of the same.

Cochran, who wrapped up Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper on the final play of Sunday’s 27-23 win, will step into the starting lineup at right end, most likely for the rest of the season.

An MRI on Monday showed starter Grant Wistrom suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which is expected to keep him out six weeks. However, coach Mike Holmgren said that the injury will be re-evaluated in 10 days, with the possibility of Wistrom returning sooner.

“That six-week number could be changed,” Holmgren said, “but initially, for that type of injury, that’s what it is. … Best case scenario would be playoffs.”

Cochran has a career-high five sacks for the Seahawks this season, not including the key wrap-up at the end of Sunday’s game.

“He’s been pretty good for us, and now he must really play the last three weeks,” Holmgren said. “Where we miss Grant, among other things, is his energy. He’s a little bit of a catalyst for our defense.”

Cochran has had more success as an interior pass rusher this season, a role he has filled in nickel situations. But the Seahawks are looking for him to find that same kind of production outside.

The sack that wasn’t … yet: Holmgren expressed frustration over the fact that Sunday’s final play was not ruled a sack.

Cochran wrapped up Culpepper and rolled him over, apparently bringing the quarterback down, but officials never blew the whistle. Culpepper eventually threw an incomplete pass after getting back to his feet.

Replays showed that Culpepper’s left knee hit the ground, but officials let the play go on while Seahawks players and coaches celebrated.

The official game book listed the final play as an incomplete pass. Elias Sports Bureau, which handles official NFL statistics, was looking at replays of the play Monday and could eventually give Cochran a sack on the play.

Holmgren believes that would be the correct decision.

“It happened right in front of me, his knee was on the ground, it was a sack,” Holmgren said.

Just reward: Sunday’s win, combined with a growing list of bumps, bruises, and sore throats, led Holmgren to give the players Monday off.

Tuesdays are their usual off day, so many players used the two-day break to get out of town.

“I had a number of players and coaches approach me on the plane ride home (Sunday night),” Holmgren said. “I’m a pushover, as you know. So we did it that way. They caught me at the right time, let’s put it that way.”

Wide receiver Darrell Jackson is one of the players who went out of town. He is in Florida with his family following the weekend death of his father.

Hasselbeck’s numbers up: Almost two weeks ago, Holmgren sat down and had a discussion with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck regarding the final five games of the season.

Whatever he said seems to have worked so far. Hasselbeck, who had just one 300-yard passing effort through the first 11 games of the season, has thrown for 748 over the past two weeks.

“Quarterbacks, they’re all the same that way. They kind of get in a comfortable groove,” Holmgren said.

Hasselbeck’s quarterback rating through the first 11 games of the season was 72.6. The past two weeks, when he’s thrown six touchdowns and two interceptions, he’s had a rating of 119.4.

Quick slants: Linebackers Chad Brown (knee surgery) and Tracy White (pulled hamstring) are expected to return to the field this Sunday. Brown will probably start, while White’s main contributions could be on special teams. … Defensive tackles Marcus Tubbs (ankle) and Rocky Bernard (knee) aren’t expected to be available for the game.

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