By SCOTT M. JOHNSON
DENVER – For a split second, the Seattle Seahawks’ final trip to Mile High Stadium looked like it would include an instance of deja vu.
Just like Kerry Joseph had last season, when the Seahawks scored 10 points in the final 54 seconds to send a game with the Denver Broncos into overtime, Sean Dawkins had his hands on an onside kick.
This time, however, Dawkins could not hang on as the Broncos eventually recovered to preserve their 31-24 win Sunday.
“Sean Dawkins actually had it, then I had no idea what happened after that,” said Seahawks receiver Fabien Bownes, who also appeared to have a shot at the loose ball before Dawkins beat him to it. “He jumped on it, then Denver came up with it. Maybe they wanted it better.”
This time, the onside kick came with 2:28 remaining, and the Seahawks trailing by seven points. Kicker Rian Lindell tapped a perfect roller to the Seattle sideline, and the ball squirted beneath the Broncos’ front line of special teamers and into an open spot on the field. Dawkins lunged at it, got his hands on the ball, but could never gain full control.
“The ball bounced around the way you want it to, and it was there,” Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. “That thing was going for a while. Shoot, I almost dove in.”
“It wasn’t bad at all,” defensive tackle Riddick Parker said. “We’ve got a lot of body fat.”
Parker was one of six Seahawks who played with bare arms. Most of the players had long sleeves underneath their uniforms in preparation for the cold.
“It was definitely Lambeau-like,” said wide receiver Derrick Mayes, a former Green Bay Packer who also went sleeveless.
Perhaps the most courageous people on Seattle’s sideline were third-string quarterback Brock Huard and equipment assistant Mark McDaniel, who spent the first half on the sidelines in short sleeves without putting on a coat. Both eventually broke down as the temperatures dropped, opting for protection from the elements.
By the time the game was over, temperatures had dropped to 15 degrees – and below zero wind chill – while snow flurries began after the Seahawks had boarded their plane bound for Seattle.
“We talked about it and decided that Ricky (Watters) is playing well for us, is running hard,” Holmgren said. “Shaun, I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again: He’ll have his moment in the sun and he’ll play a lot. Right now, Ricky Watters is playing well for us.”
Watters eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season on a 12-yard run early in the fourth quarter. He has run for at least that many yards for six consecutive years, including three with the Seahawks.
Watters had 57 rushing yards, meaning he is 183 away from moving into 12th place on the all-time career list.
For the record, Alexander scampered 16 yards on his only carry.
“We came in with the attitude that we weren’t going to let them do that to us again,” Seahawks safety Kerry Joseph said. “That was embarrassing. That was our mind frame coming into the game. We weren’t going to let them put up 500 yards on us.”
The Seahawks gave up just 313 total yards Sunday – 225 less than they had in a 38-31 loss to the Broncos on Nov. 26.
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