Mare extends record to 21 straight field goals

SEATTLE — In a season he nearly lost his job, Seattle Seahawks place-kicker Olindo Mare ended up setting a team record for consecutive field goals.

Mare booted two field goals in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to Tennessee, running his string of successful kicks to 21. It is a Seahawks record — the previous mark was 16 by Todd Peterson in 1999 — and it is also a personal best for Mare, a 14-year NFL veteran who is in his second Seattle season.

“It’s a good finish (to the season),” Mare said. “It would’ve been nice if they would’ve counted for more wins, but that’s what you strive for. To get on a little roll.”

Mare has not missed a field goal try since being wide on two kicks against Chicago in a Sept. 27 game at Qwest Field. Afterward, Seahawks head coach Jim Mora suggested he was ready to find a new place kicker, but he ended up sticking with Mare.

Mare, who made his final two field goal tries against the Bears to start his current string, also had a streak of 11 games this season with at least one field goal. That string ended one short of Peterson’s team record of 12 when he did not attempt a field goal in a 34-7 loss to Houston on Dec. 13.

In his two Seattle seasons, Mare is 48-for-53 in field goal tries.

“This is not the easiest place to kick (because of the weather) … but for some reason I’ve had probably my two best years combined here,” said Mare, who spent his first season on the New York Giants practice squad in 1996, followed by 10 seasons in Miami and one with New Orleans before coming to Seattle.

Overcoming adversity

Tennessee lost former Titans quarterback Steve McNair — who retired following the 2007 season — in a tragic offseason shooting, and then dropped their first six games of the 2009 season.

The outlook in Nashville was bleak, to say the least.

Instead, the Titans rallied to win eight of their last 10 games, and it turned out to be “probably one of the more gratifying years I’ve had, just because of the way they hung together and (accomplished) what they did,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “I don’t know that I’ve had many teams that would’ve been able to overcome all that, but that’s the uniqueness about these guys in the locker room. They’re special.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of them,” he said.

When the team was 0-6, “everybody pegged us to lay down, but we didn’t,” said tight end Alge Crumpler. “We certainly could have. How many coaches in this league can start out 0-6 and right the ship? People were talking about firing coach Fisher, but I haven’t heard much about that since.”

Carlson scores again. Anybody else?

Seahawks tight end John Carlson’s 6-yard touchdown catch Sunday was his fourth in as many games, and gave him seven for the season. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, however, those are the only touchdowns the team has scored in the past four games, all losses.

In those four games, Carlson had 14 catches for 148 yards, while in the previous four he had just four catches for 54.

Grant finishes strong

Seattle strong safety Deon Grant played with a cast on his left hand for the sixth straight game, but that didn’t stop him from having one of his biggest games of the year.

Grant intercepted a Vince Young pass in the first quarter, and recovered a fumble in the third quarter to set up an eventual Seahawks field goal. Grant finished the game with nine tackles to tie for team-high honors and had one tackle for loss.

Grant has now started 144 straight games since missing his entire rookie year due to injury.

“He played a fantastic game,” defensive end Patrick Kerney said of Grant. “… I’ve always admired him, he’s a tough guy. I watched him play a preseason game after dislocating his finger half an hour before.”

Unpopular decision

Late in the second quarter, and with Seattle facing a fourth-and-10, Seahawks coach Jim Mora chose to punt from the Titans 35-yard line rather than attempt a long field goal.

His decision was greeted with boos from the fans at Qwest Field.

“The wind was swirling, it was fourth-and-10, and I did not want to give them the ball on the 46-yard line,” Mora explained. “So I chose to punt it.

“I heard the boos and I could understand that people would say, ‘What the heck do you have to lose, go for it.’ But in my mind, we’re trying to win a football game. That’s why I did that.”

Draft picks

The Seahawks, along with the Browns and Raiders, finished the season with five victories. Based on the NFL’s tie-breaker formula, Seattle received the sixth overall pick in the first round — the highest of the three teams — in the draft. The Seahawks, also have the 14th overall pck in the first round, acquired from Denver in a draft-day trade in last April.

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