Night games on national television bring out the best in the Seattle running back, who had five TDs two weeks ago.
October 14, 2002
SEATTLE -- The bright lights come on, the cameras roll, and Shaun Alexander takes off running.
At least it seems that way.
Seattle's running back has had some of the biggest games of his three-year career on national television. And there's another on tap, with the Seahawks facing San Francisco tonight.
Alexander can't explain it.
"I have the same attitude toward the game whether I have five touchdowns in one half or five touchdowns in the whole game," he said with a laugh.
It was a reference to his last game, when he set a league record with five first-half touchdowns and finished with 139 yards in a Sunday night victory Sept.29 against Minnesota.
Last year, Alexander had 266 yards and three scores on a Sunday night against Oakland. On a Monday night as a rookie, he had 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while splitting time with Ricky Watters.
Tonight, Alexander can get another record. With three TDs he would tie Marshall Faulk of the Rams with eight in consecutive games. Faulk did it Dec.10-18, 2000.
Alexander's strong efforts on national television stand out even more considering he has averaged 52.2 yards in 36 games. In his first three games this season he gained 36, 36 and 37 yards.
"I don't change anything," Alexander said. "I do everything the same. When you get the right guys around you and you're in a big-game kind of atmosphere, things just happen well."
Having the right guys around Alexander, however, has been a problem this season for the Seahawks.
Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones missed the first two games over a contract dispute, and the line still needed another week after Jones returned before Alexander's breakout performance against the Vikings.
OF NOTE: The Niners finally might have gotten their offense back on track after posting 37 points Oct. 6 against the Rams. The Niners have won three of the past four meetings and eight of their past 10 Monday night games. But they catch a team that is rested after a bye week. Plus the Seahawks looked greatly improved, especially on offense, in their last game, a 48-23 win over the Vikes. But they won't score nearly as many against a seventh-ranked Niners defense that will be key to this win.
DARRELL FRY'S PROMISE: 49ers 28, Seahawks 14.