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Seattle 23, Buffalo 20

  |   Nov. 18, 2001 at 8:29 PM
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Shaun Alexander scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and Rian Lindell kicked three field goals Sunday, including a clinching 51-yarder, as the Seattle Seahawks handed the Buffalo Bills their fifth straight home loss, 23-20.

The afternoon featured the induction of former Buffalo quarterback onto the Bills' "Wall of Fame." During the ceremonies, franchise owner Ralph Wilson made the surprise announcement that the No. 12 worn by Kelly from 1986-96 would be retired. That tribute to the past did not help the current Bills, whose home losing streak is one short of the team record.

Coming off a club-record 266-yard rushing performance in last week's victory over Oakland, Alexander carried 25 times for 93 yards. He actually topped the 100-yard mark before being thrown for a nine-yard loss with just over four minutes remaining.

But Alexander's one-yard touchdown early in the third quarter put the Seahawks (5-4) ahead for good, 17-10.

"I don't care about my stats, really, as long as we win," Alexander said. "The most important thing is that we won and the team played well. One of the first things that (Trent) Dilfer told me when he came to the team was that good teams win, even when it's sloppy. Hopefully, we are getting to the level when we can win sloppily, like we did today."

Lindell added field goals of 38 and 51 yards in a 2:10 span of the fourth quarter to extend Seattle's lead to 23-13. The Seahawks withstood a late touchdown pass from Alex Van Pelt to tight end Jay Riemersma and recorded their first road win since a season-opening 9-6 victory at Cleveland.

Matt Hasselbeck completed 16 of 23 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown for Seattle, which plays four of its last six games on the road.

"As far as we're concerned, it was important for us to take a long trip across the country -- with the immaturity we show at times -- and win the game," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "A great win for us, a great win to start the second half of the season, and I was proud of the way our guys played. We played with a lot of intensity, which was missing a couple of weeks ago."

With the Seahawks shutting down the run, Van Pelt was forced to throw often in his fourth NFL start. He was 28 of 42 for 316 yards and two touchdowns, but could not prevent the Bills from suffering their fourth consecutive loss.

"We threw the ball effectively today," Van Pelt said. "We still lost by three. Obviously, winning is still our main goal. I thought we did some good things in the passing game."

After a sluggish first quarter, Van Pelt came alive in the second. He threw a 51-yard pass to Eric Moulds, then found Peerless Price for a 16-yard touchdown two plays later to cut the Bills' deficit to 10-7.

Van Pelt was seven of nine on Buffalo's next possession, which was capped by a 25-yard field goal by Jake Arians for a 10-10 halftime tie.

Alexander's touchdown capped a 70-yard drive that featured a 21-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Bobby Engram on third and four.

Arians answered with a 26-yard field goal, but Lindell was good from 38 yards with 5 1/2 minutes to play to give Seattle a 20-13 lead.

On the Bills' next possession, Van Pelt was sacked by linebacker Chad Brown and fumbled, with defensive tackle Antonio Cochran recovering at the Buffalo 33. The Seahawks settled for a 51-yard field goal by Lindell that turned out to be the difference.

"It was either me or Michael Sinclair, we both kind of got there at the same time," Brown said. "Kind of the tone of the day -- they drive, get some yards on us, somebody steps up and makes a play."

"You get kind of tired losing, but it doesn't make it any better," Price said. "Turnovers, mistakes, the usual. They make a long field goal, we miss one. We have two turnovers; you can't have that if you're trying to get a win like we're desperately trying to get."

There were a couple of positives for Buffalo. Price caught 10 passes for 138 yards and Larry Centers broke Ronnie Harmon's NFL record for receiving yards by a running back with 6,083.

But the Bills managed just 69 yards on the ground and fumbled four times, losing two.

"We just could not get nothing going on the running game," said Travis Henry, who carried 13 times for 29 yards. "I didn't have a good game today offensively. It was one of those days, I couldn't get in the groove."

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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