Stouffer Gives Seahawks a Lift : In First Pro Start, He Leads Seattle Past Atlanta, 31-20

From Times Wire Services

Kelly Stouffer didn't figure in any of the scoring plays, but the Seattle Seahawks got just what they wanted from their rookie quarterback--a win.

Stouffer, in his first NFL start, engineered touchdown drives of 65, 76, 73 and 64 yards Sunday as the Seahawks downed the Atlanta Falcons, 31-20.

"All around it felt real good," Stouffer said. "I felt at peace and able to handle everything they handed me."

Stouffer's starting debut could have come a year ago with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he was unable to reach a contract agreement and sat out the season. He was traded to the Seahawks before the 1988 draft.

John L. Williams, playing with a cracked rib, scored 3 touchdowns on 1-yard runs for Seattle (3-2), which ended a 2-game tailspin.

"I played as hard as I could," Williams said. "There was great blocking on the TDs."

Stouffer connected with Brian Blades on a 53-yard play to set up Curt Warner's 12-yard scoring run that gave Seattle a 7-3 first-quarter lead it never relinquished.

Warner gained 110 yards in 22 carries and Stouffer completed 11 of 21 passes for 164 yards.

Stouffer also completed passes of 31 and 19 yards in a 76-yard drive in the second quarter that Williams capped with his first touchdown.

Stouffer's 31-yard pass in the second touchdown drive went to Steve Largent, extending the Seattle wide receiver's NFL record of catching at least 1 pass to 157 consecutive games.

Williams scored his third touchdown with 2:21 left, capping a 64-yard drive.

Seattle's other score came on a 44-yard field goal by Norm Johnson 10 seconds before halftime, following Melvin Jenkins' recovery of Lew Barnes' fumbled punt at the Falcon 16.

Steve Dils, a 10-year veteran replacing injured quarterback Chris Miller for Atlanta, found Stacey Bailey on a 45-yard touchdown pass play in the third quarter and capped a 54-yard fourth-quarter drive by scoring on a 1-yard keeper.

Dils, the ex-Ram making his first start for the Falcons, completed 18 of 32 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions. John Settle, playing for injured Gerald Riggs, led the Falcons with 115 yards in 21 carries.

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