Final

Seahawks 23

(8-4, 3-3 away)

Broncos 20

(7-5, 3-3 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:15 PM ET, December 3, 2006

Invesco Field, Denver, CO 

1 2 3 4 T
SEA 0 7 0 1623
DEN 3 10 0 720

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hasselbeck (SEA) - 168 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: T. Bell (DEN) - 23 CAR, 133 YDS

Receiving: D. Jackson (SEA) - 6 REC, 91 YDS

Hawks edge Broncos behind Brown's game-winning FG

DENVER (AP) -- Josh Brown, Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck made a prophet out of Mike Holmgren.

Brown tied an NFL single-season record with his fourth winning field goal in the final minute, nailing a 50-yarder with 4 seconds left to give the Seattle Seahawks a 23-20 win over the stumbling Denver Broncos that spoiled Jay Cutler's debut Sunday night.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Denver might have made a switch at the QB position, but at the end of the day, the results were very similar. Rookie QB Jay Cutler (right) struggled mightily in his first start. Plummer had his own struggles, too, but the difference was that the majority of his bad starts included a victory. Behind the scenes, the Denver coaching staff was telling anyone who would listen about how much the QB change would help. They were talking about how they would now be able to open up their offense. In Cutler's defense, it was the first start of his career, but the offense looked just about the same. Denver was able to run the ball and struggled to throw it, which is the same problem they have been fighting all season. This was a real nice win for Seattle. Despite still having some struggles on the defensive side of the ball, they were able to force five turnovers and add a defensive TD. That was difference for Seattle in this football game.

By halftime, Brown had missed from 40 and 53 yards, Hasselbeck had thrown for just 39 yards and Alexander had run for only 15 yards.

"I told the team at halftime I knew we would win the game, that somehow, some way, we would win the game," Holmgren said. "And we did."

Brown made all three of his kicks in the fourth quarter, but didn't forget that he missed from 40 and 53 yards in the first half.

"He pointed out that if he had made the earlier ones, maybe we wouldn't have been in that position at the end," Holmgren said.

Or if Alexander had averaged more than 1.7 yards per carry. Or Hasselbeck, bothered by a sore left hand and balky right knee, had completed more than six of his 14 pass attempts.

About the only thing that went right for the Seahawks (8-4) in the first half was the play of Cutler. The rookie QB's first career interception went into the hands of another rookie, defensive lineman Darryl Tapp, who trimmed Denver's 10-0 lead by returning it 25 yards for a touchdown.

Denver (7-5) had five turnovers, its most at home since 2000.

Seattle started its winning drive from its 14 with 2:31 left after the Broncos had tied it at 20 on Cutler's 71-yard touchdown toss to fellow rookie Brandon Marshall, who broke three tackles on the play and outran another defender.

"That's all Brandon Marshall," Cutler said. "I didn't do anything. I just got him the ball and he made a big play for us. We have a lot of guys like that and we need to spread the ball around more."

Before that, Cutler had thrown for just 72 yards.

On third-and-4 from his 20-yard line, Hasselbeck found Nate Burleson for 16 yards. Brown, who was good from 44, 23 earlier in the fourth quarter, lined up from 50 yards and booted it right down the middle.

"Josh Brown's been clutch for us all season long," Hasselbeck said. "He's a great kicker."

Cutler, the last of the "Big Three" quarterbacks from the 2006 draft class to make his debut, met the same fate as Vince Young and Matt Leinart -- a loss. Cutler finished 10-for-21 for 143 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.

"To have a game like this and have two picks and have one housed, it's tough," Cutler said.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he was pleased with Cutler's performance.

"I think he did pretty good for being his first game," Shanahan said. "I'm a little disappointed in myself. I think I put too much in the game plan for this being his first game."

Denver lost middle linebacker Al Wilson to a sprained neck in the fourth quarter -- Wilson was carted off the field.

Seattle's only score in the first half came when Cutler was wrapped up by Bryce Fisher and threw the ball up for grabs. Tapp snared it and sprinted 25 yards for the score that cut Denver's lead to 10-7.

"I made some mistakes," Cutler said. "I blame myself."

The Broncos hadn't lost three straight since 2003 and hadn't dropped three in a row at home since 2002.

The Seahawks stumbled themselves for three quarters.

Hasselbeck was just 10-for-20 for 75 yards when the Seahawks got the ball at their 39 with 9:42 left, trailing 13-7. He hit Darrell Jackson for gains of 27 and 33 yards, then handed to Alexander, who took it in from 1 yard to give Seattle a 14-13 lead.

Brown kicked field goals of 44 and 23 yards after Denver turnovers to make it 20-13 before Marshall's sensational TD.

Hasselbeck finished 16-for-28 for 168 yards.

Cutler, the first rookie to start for Denver since Tommy Maddox filled in for an injured John Elway 14 years ago, expected to spend this season watching and learning. But the Broncos turned to the former Vanderbilt star and 11th pick in the NFL draft after an ineffective Jake Plummer was benched following back-to-back losses to AFC West rivals San Diego and Kansas City that threatened to derail their season.

Denver's Tatum Bell, who missed three of the last four games with sprained toes, gained 133 yards on 23 carries but had just 21 yards in the second half.

Alexander, coming off a 201-yard performance against the Packers in his return from a two-month absence with a broken foot, ran 26 times for 90 yards despite the loss for much of the game of his lead back, Mack Strong, to a sprained ankle.

The Broncos took a 13-7 lead into the locker room when Jason Elam kicked a 41-yard field goal with a second left after injuring his left hamstring while gaining 2 yards on a fake field goal on fourth down.

Game notes


The Seahawks went three-and-out six times in their first eight possessions. ... Denver CB Champ Bailey got his sixth interception of the season. ... Plummer was a backup for the first time in his 10-year career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
Seattle
Denver
1st Downs1214
3rd down efficiency
3-164-14
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Yards270302
Yards per play4.55.2
Total Drives11
Passing162121
Comp-Att
16-2810-21
Yards per pass
5.85.8
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-63-22
Rushing108181
Rushing Attempts
3134
Yards per rush
3.55.3
Penalties10-803-25
Turnovers15
Fumbles lost
03
Interceptions thrown
12
Possession30:3129:29

Passing Leaders

SEAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hasselbeck16/281686.0011-6
DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler10/211436.8223-22

Rushing Leaders

SEACARYDSAVGTDLG
Alexander26903.5118
Strong188.008
DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell231335.8031
Sapp22412.0020

Receiving Leaders

SEARECYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson69115.2033
Branch3237.7010
DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Marshall17171.0171
Walker2178.5012

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSEADEN
FG11:02Jason Elam 37 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 31 yds, 3:31
03
SECOND QUARTERSEADEN
TD8:46Stephen Alexander 7 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Jason Elam Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 70 yds, 3:22
010
TD10:00Darryl Tapp 25 Yd Interception Return (Josh Brown Kick) 710
FG15:00Jason Elam 41 Yd
Drive: 7 plays, 24 yds, 1:47
713
FOURTH QUARTERSEADEN
TD6:47Shaun Alexander 1 Yd Run (Josh Brown Kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 61 yds, 1:29
1413
FG10:52Josh Brown 44 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 14 yds, 3:55
1713
FG12:02Josh Brown 23 Yd
Drive: 4 plays, 9 yds, :57
2013
TD12:23Brandon Marshall 71 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Jason Elam Kick)
Drive: 1 plays, 71 yds, :21
2020
FG14:55Josh Brown 50 Yd
Drive: 10 plays, 54 yds, 2:32
2320