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Something Wild : Krieg, Seattle Get Off the Ground With Some Fancy Plays That Are Hardly Conservative

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Everybody knows about Ground Chuck. But was anybody ready for Flea-Flicker Filet?

Certainly not the Raiders.

Seattle Seahawks Coach Chuck Knox put together a game plan Sunday that not only buried the Raiders, 43-37, but also his club’s image as a conservative, dull, boring team.

And at the center of the razzle-dazzle, double-reverse, flea-flicker air show that did in the Raiders was Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg, (19 of 32 for 410 yards and 4 touchdowns), who knows something about criticism, too.

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Critics may have labeled Knox’s ground-oriented offenses Ground Chuck, but they thought even less of Krieg.

And we’re not just talking about the reporters and fans.

At the end of last season, Knox was asked if Krieg could lead his club to a Super Bowl the next season.

Knox replied that if his special teams, defense and running game did well, yes, Seattle could make it to the Super Bowl with Krieg.

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Such votes of confidence usually emanate from George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees owner.

But Krieg just grinned. You hear that and much worse when you make it into the National Football League out of an unknown college.

Krieg came from tiny Milton College of Wisconsin, a school that has long since closed.

And many figured Krieg, a 9-year veteran, would have long since left the NFL.

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It’s not from lack of trying by his employers. During his years at Seattle, Krieg has endured attempts by the Seahawks to obtain Jim Everett, Bobby Hebert and Warren Moon, all now accomplished pro quarterbacks.

This year, Seattle finally got what is generally regarded as Krieg’s replacement, Kelly Stouffer from Colorado State.

And when a shoulder separation knocked Krieg out of action early in the season, Stouffer’s time had arrived.

Stouffer, however, wasn’t ready.

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So, Krieg remained as the starter when he returned, and responded by playing as well as he ever has in his career.

Against the Raiders in a Monday night game Nov. 28, he threw 5 touchdown passes.

The Seahawk offense stalled 6 days later in the cold of New England, but then, last week, in a showdown against the Denver Broncos, Krieg completed 19 of 22 for a club-record completion percentage of 86.4%. Krieg completed his first 12 passes in leading Seattle to a 42-14 victory.

And then came Sunday.

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And finally retribution in the form of the American Football Conference West title.

On one play, Krieg handed off to receiver Paul Skansi, who passed the ball to Steve Largent on a double reverse. Largent than flipped back to Krieg who hit Brian Blades for 21 yards.

Another fancy play went Krieg to John L. Williams, back to Krieg and to Blades again, this time for 55 yards.

Krieg’s scoring passes Sunday went to Largent (35 yards), Blades (17 and 30) and Williams (75 yards on a short swing pass).

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“The only thing that makes mentioning what I did worthwhile was that we won the AFC West,” he said. “I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

Has he finally proved a man from Milton can make it?

“You’ll have to ask the guys up in Seattle about that.”

Does he care about all the criticism he has received for not previously leading the team to a title of any kind?

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“Not anymore.”

The Seahawks normally put about three home-run plays into their game plan. Sunday, they had nine.

“We always have those plays in,” he said, “but we don’t always use them. Today the Raiders were very aggressive at the line of scrimmage. They were stopping the run at the line, but that makes them vulnerable for something like this.”

And yet when it was done, Krieg, a perfectionist, was still not satisfied.

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“I still think I could have done a little better,” he said. And he wasn’t smiling when he said it.

“I feel I could have thrown a few more touchdowns. But that’s good. You always want to improve. You never want to be satisfied.”

But whatever his lingering doubt, Krieg seemed to bask in the spotlight that was finally shining on him after 9 long years of waiting.

“When you have to wait longer for something, sometimes it’s better,” he said.

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“I just wish I didn’t have to wait this long.”


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