The good news for the 4--2 Seahawks: The schedule over the next four weeks—at Kansas City, home against Oakland and St. Louis, at San Francisco—is favorable. The bad news: Seldom-used Seneca Wallace may have to start all four games at quarterback because Matt Hasselbeck (right) will miss two to four weeks with a sprained right medial collateral ligament. Mike Holmgren passed on picking up an experienced backup; now the NFC West race may come down to whether Wallace, a 2003 fourth-rounder with 52 career attempts, can help Seattle hold off 4--2 St. Louis. Holmgren says he'll try not to overload Wallace, but he's not concerned about the 5'11", 196-pound quarterback's size: "There are times when he can't see, but the same thing happens to [the 6'4"] Matt."
"I get a kick out of the perception that we're living in turmoil down here," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said on Monday, 24 hours after the Falcons' exhilarating 41--38 overtime win against the Steelers. Though 4--2 Atlanta is not out of the woods—without injured linemen John Abraham and Rod Coleman, the defense has surrendered 65 points and 897 yards over the last two games—the big offensive output took the pressure off quarterback Mike Vick, who after a loss to the Giants on Oct. 15 criticized the play calling. "Every time we lose, Mike gets blamed," said tight end Alge Crumpler (above left), who caught three of Vick's career-best four TD passes on Sunday. "It's ridiculous. He's our MVP, and we can't win without him."
The two TDs scored against the Broncos this year came on a garbage-time pass by Tom Brady in Week 3 and a fourth-quarter toss by Charlie Frye on Sunday on a possession that started at the Denver 18. At this rate the Broncos will shatter the mark for fewest TDs allowed since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The 2000 Ravens gave up 18.
1 The season-ending torn knee ligament suffered by Broncos left tackle Matt Lepsis on Sunday could be costly. The 6'4", 290-pound Lepsis, an eight-year starter, will be missed as a strong pulling blocker for Tatum Bell on edge rushes.
2 This week will be the final duel of brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber. Bucs CB Ronde leads Giants RB Tiki in touchdowns, 2--0, after returning two Donovan McNabb picks on Sunday.
3 With everything San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman had going for him—2005 defensive rookie of the year, key player on a Super Bowl contender—his violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy is simply incomprehensible.
Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.
SCOTT EKLUND/SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER (HASSELBECK)
KEVIN C. COX/WIREIMAGE.COM (CRUMPLER)