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SEATTLE-- Problems that are well known to Texans fans were exposed to a national audience tonight at Qwest Field. And the result wasn't pretty.
Through their first four games, the Texans had struggled to put points on the board. They had also struggled to keep the opposition off the board, curb their unforced errors and take the ball away.
In their fifth game, the Texans reached the end zone just once, allowed the Seahawks to score six touchdowns and committed 13 penalties for 95 yards. That Houston won the takeaway battle for the first time this season was small consolation.
The result? A 42-10 Seahawks win in which Seattle rushed for a club-record 320 yards, the most ever allowed by the Texans. The Seahawks improved to 4-2, while the Texans are 0-5 with the league's lone undefeated team (Indianapolis) next on the docket.
"You know I'm very disappointed in the way we played tonight," head coach Dom Capers said. "We knew coming in that we were playing a very good Seattle team, based on what we had seen on the tape. Our guys came in with the right intentions, but certainly our execution out there didn't match up with our intentions, and that's what this game is all about.
"You have to go out and play for 60 minutes, and the thing I was the most disappointed in tonight was the basically the fundamentals of our team. Our tackling, our blocking, there were far too many penalties, to give yourself a chance against any team, let alone a good team like the Seattle Seahawks."
Pro Bowl running back Shaun Alexander accounted for 141 of those rushing yards, scoring four times. Backup Maurice Morris also cleared the 100-yard mark. Meanwhile, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw for just 168 yards but helped his top-ranked offense control the tempo from the start.
The Texans, the league's last-rated offense, could muster just 227 total yards. Running back Domanick Davis scored on a 27-yard reception but his rushing output (40 yards) matched that of Hasselbeck. Quarterback David Carr threw for 179 yards, while wide receiver Jabar Gaffney caught a career-high 10 passes for 87 yards.
Houston also had three players knocked out due to injury -- linebacker Kailee Wong (knee), guard Zach Wiegert (ankle) and safety Jason Simmons (knee). Wong is out for the season
But the story was Seattle's dominance on the ground. The Seahawks collected 31 first downs, 19 of them by rushing and five of their six touchdown marches covered 70-plus yards.
"Well, the score says it all, 42-10," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "It's embarassing. You prepare all week and then you came and get beat like this: Anybody who's happy right now, they don't need to be playing football on this team. National television game, we've got a chance to make a statement. Instead, we wound up getting blown out the way we did. That's embarassing."
The Texans got the ball to open the game and a flag football game broke out from the outset. After Davis gained four yards on the game's first snap, penalties were called on four successive plays -- all either illegal formation on the Texans or offsides on the Seahawks.
Wiegert then left the field with his ankle injury, forcing Todd Washington into the lineup. After one first down, the Texans stalled at their 41 and Seattle's top-ranked offense took over at its own 32.
Two plays later, Hasselbeck lofted a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Jerheme Urban. Seattle then faced a 3rd and 17 from the Texans 46, but fullback Mack Strong rumbled 16 yards. The Seahawks went for it on 4th and 1 and running back Shaun Alexander gained five yards. On the ensuing snap, Alexander raced around the right end for 21 yards. Wong was injured on the play, while the Seahawks had first and goal at the four-yard line.
Alexander scored on the next play, giving him his 71st career rushing touchdown and giving Seattle a 7-0 lead.
Carr went back to work, rolling left and hitting running back Jonathan Wells for a 16-yard gain. Three plays later, Carr converted a third down with a short pass to wide receiver Derick Armstrong. Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom was also flagged for a low hit on Carr, giving Houston a first down at the Seattle 38.
But a holding penalty on Pitts stifled some of that momentum and the Texans were forced to punt. Chad Stanley lofted a beauty, which was caught by cornerback Lewis Sanders at the Seahawks 4.
The field position didn't affect the Seahawks. Alexander ran for nine yards, Hasselbeck hit wide receiver Peter Warrick for 27 yards and cornerback Demarcus Faggins was flagged for pass interference. In less than two minutes, Seattle was at midfield.
Hasselbeck found a streaking Urban for 13 yards before scrambling 12 yards for another first down. Add an illegal hands to the face penalty on linebacker Shantee Orr and the Seahawks had a first and goal at the five-yard line. Alexander covered the next five yards and Seattle had a 14-0 lead. The Seahawks needed just nine plays and 3:54 to cover 96 yards.
On the ensuing drive, Carr converted a third down with a 12-yard pass to Gaffney before scrambling 12 yards for another first down. The Seahawks stiffened, forcing a 4th and 3 from their own 37. But Houston gambled and Carr found Gaffney for six yards and another first down.
But the Texans stalled at the 21-yard line. Kris Brown nailed a 39-yard field goal and Houston was on the board.
The Seahawks moved the ball into Houston territory but nose tackle Seth Payne dumped Hasselbeck for a six-yard loss, forcing a punt. The Texans took over at their own eight-yard line but couldn't gain a yard. Seattle ended up with good field position at the Texans 46.
Alexander rushed for nine yards before Hasselbeck found tight end Jerramy Stevens for 22 yards to the 15-yard line. Strong then made a nine-yard reception that wound the clock down to the two-minute warning.
Three plays later, Hasselbeck hit wide receiver Joe Jurevicius on a slant from three yards out and Seattle had a 21-3 lead with 1:45 left in the half.
The Texans couldn't get a first down so Seattle had a chance to pad its lead. But linebacker Troy Evans -- forced into the lineup because of Wong's injury -- picked off Hasselbeck. It was Houston's first takeaway of the season. Given new life, Carr hit wide receiver Corey Bradford for 15 yards to the Seahawks 37. Brown trotted in to try a 56-yard field goal, but it was wide right to end the half.
The Texans let a golden opportunity slip through their grasp to start the second stanza. Wells stripped the ball from running back Josh Scobey on the kickoff. But the ball squirted through Brown's hands and defensive end Joe Tofoya fell on it at the Seahawks 30.
The Seahawks moved the ball to the Texans 34, where Seattle faced a 4th and 2. Hasselbeck rolled right and scampered 23 yards for a first down to the 11-yard line. Alexander covered the rest of the real estate, capping the drive with his third touchdown to give the Seahawks a 28-3 lead.
The Texans' offense couldn't pick up a first down but running back Vernand Morency moved the chains with a 12-yard run on a fake punt to the Seahawks 46. Five plays later, Carr faked a reverse handoff and dumped off a pass to Davis, who raced 27 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Seattle's lead was cut to 28-10.
Undaunted, Hasselbeck and Alexander marched right back down the field. Hasselbeck completed two 20-yard passes and Alexander rushed for 47 yards, the last 23 of which gave him his fourth touchdown of the night and Seattle a 35-10 lead.
After the Texans were forced to punt, Alexander came out and backup Maurice Morris took over, racing 49 yards to the Texans 30. Rookie Leonard Weaver carried three times before Morris covered the final 11 yards, pushing the lead to 42-10.
It doesn't get any easier for the Texans, who host the first-place Colts Sunday.
"It's just going to take a lot of great individual effort for us to improve as a team," center Steve McKinney said. "We're all going to have to try and get better. That's the only way we can do it. Guys need to do their jobs better, make plays.
"We don't make enough plays on either side of the ball or on special teams. Nothing big ever happens for us, and that's usually the thing that hurts you in games like these. Other teams make big plays and score touchdowns, convert on 3rd and 15. They're picking it up and we're not."
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