By Scott M. Johnson
KIRKLAND – The images of Derrick Alexander breaking into the secondary and hauling in long passes appropriately illustrated the Seattle Seahawks’ pass coverage last season.
The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver scorched Seattle for nine receptions, 290 yards and three touchdowns in two meetings. Now Alexander will get another shot at the Seahawks on Sunday.
“I’m just waiting to see this guy again,” Seahawks cornerback Willie Williams said, “because he really hurt us last year.”
That might be an understatement. Alexander almost single-handedly led the Chiefs to two victories over Seattle during the tumultuous 2000 season. His lone touchdown of the first meeting started a Kansas City rally in a 24-17 win in a game that might have been the turning point in the Seahawks’ season. He finished that contest with 153 yards off five receptions.
Four weeks later, Alexander dominated again with 137 yards, including two long touchdown receptions, in a 24-19 Chiefs win.
Certainly there have been other receivers who have burned the Seahawks over the years, but Alexander seems to do it while putting up relatively modest numbers against everyone else. Alexander averages 5.7 receptions for 104.3 yards in games against Seattle, and 3.2 receptions for 53.7 yards against everyone else.
Three of his top eight career games in terms of receiving yardage have come against the Seahawks.
Alexander has been out of the lineup since Oct. 25 due to a strained abdominal muscle.
Robertson healthy: Seahawks free safety Marcus Robertson practiced all week and appears as if he’ll make his first game appearance since Oct. 14. Robertson is expected to start Sunday after missing four games with a hamstring injury.
“I would think so,” Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said, “but I thought he’d play last week.”
Robertson was replaced in the lineup by Maurice Kelly for three weeks, then rookie Curtis Fuller stepped in last week after Kelly was placed on injured reserve with three dislocated toes.
“It’s a stabilizing factor, first of all,” Holmgren said of Robertson’s expected return. “You have a veteran back there, although Curtis did a great job considering how young he is. It just makes us all feel a lot better knowing Marcus is in there.”
Holmgren said he also expects defensive tackle John Randle to return to the starting lineup this week. Randle played last Sunday, but on a limited basis.
Kansas City Seahawks?: To get a feel for how the Chiefs’ season has gone, one need look back no further than the 2000 Seahawks.
Both teams got off to 2-7 starts and were plagued by a porous run defense that couldn’t stop anyone up the middle.
In fact, Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil is starting to sound like Holmgren did last season.
“This squad has done a real good job, because they’re good people, of handling the adversity of not meeting expectations or only having two wins,” Vermeil said in a conference call earlier this week. “They’ve come back and gone to work. They’ve worked hard. … It’s a good group of kids. It’s going to be a good foundation of a football team.”
Don’t believe the stat book: Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was awarded the offensive game ball for his performance in Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills – despite throwing for just 134 yards.
Holmgren said Hasselbeck did what was asked of him in that game, adding that the recipients of the game balls are determined by the assistant coaches.
Cornerback Shawn Springs got the defensive game ball, while kicker Rian Lindell took the honor among special teamers.