When the Seahawks needed someone on defense to step up and play well, Chike Okeafor answered the call. Okeafor skips off the field, win or lose, after games. Perhaps because it's therapeutic...

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When the Seahawks needed someone on defense to step up and play well, Chike Okeafor answered the call.



Okeafor skips off the field, win or lose, after games. Perhaps because it’s therapeutic, or perhaps for love of the game. But Sunday’s 24-21 win over Arizona — and his effort — could have made any Seahawks fan skip for joy.



The defensive end had nine solo tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble, establishing a career high for sacks in a season with 8½. He had eight for the Seahawks last season.



“He was a force,” coach Mike Holmgren said. “Your best players need to step up and play their best in big games.”



Okeafor’s fourth-quarter sack of Josh McCown forced a long field-goal attempt that the Cardinals missed.



“There hasn’t been a game I haven’t been happy with,” Okeafor said of this season. “When you finally get those lump of stats, you’re like, ‘This is what I keep striving for.’ Because eventually it’s going to happen. Pressure and time. Everything can be solved.”



Okeafor has faced double-teams time and again, especially since defensive end Grant Wistrom has been sidelined for a good portion of the season with injuries. Okeafor has played hurt himself throughout the season, and dealt with a quadriceps bruise Sunday.



Playoff tickets on sale Monday


If the Seahawks win the NFC West, playoff tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. As division champion, Seattle would host a game Jan. 8 or 9 at Qwest Field.




If the Seahawks get a home game, it will be the team’s first since the 1999 season and fourth in team history. If the Seahawks are a wild-card team, their playoff game will be on the road.



Tickets can be purchased at any Northwest Ticketmaster outlet, by calling Ticketmaster at 206-622-HAWK or online at www.seahawks.com. They will also be available at the Qwest Field box office, with lines allowed to form at 6 a.m. Monday.



Each person can buy up to eight tickets, with cash and credit card only. No checks will be accepted. Fans can also guarantee themselves playoff-game tickets before Monday by placing a $100 per seat deposit on season tickets for 2005.



Fumble problem?


Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander fumbled near the end zone in a loss to the New York Jets and fumbled at the goal line in the win over the Cardinals. He lost the fumble in New York, but recovered the fumble against the Cardinals for a touchdown.




Holmgren said he will talk to Alexander about the fumbles this week, but didn’t seem to believe there was a problem.



“I just think against the Jets he was kind of reaching for the goal line,” Holmgren said. “This one, he might have been doing the same thing. He’s usually very sure-handed, and when you get down in there in the red zone, which he has been very, very good at, you have to hold on because they’re coming after you pretty good.”



José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com; Times staff reporter Greg Bishop contributed to this report.