Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers was also forced out in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. Peppers is expected to play against the Seahawks next week. Alexander may be ready Mike Holmgren said Saun Alexander was “wobbly” and “got dinged around pretty good,” but he is optimistic the NFL rushing champion will be ready to play in the NFC title game Sunday against Carolina. “Obviously, we have an extra day, which is good,” Holmgren said of the seven days between games. “(The doctors) seem to think that he’s going to be fine for next week.” Alexander will undergo more tests to ensure the injury isn’t more extensive than first believed. The league doesn’t require the Seahawks to give an official status on Alexander until Wednesday, when the first injury report is due. But Pro Bowl fullback Mack Strong already has an assessment on Alexander’s return. “No doubt, we have to get No. 37 back,” Strong said. “Whatever we have to do, (we have) to find a way to get him back and healthy in the lineup and ready to play next week.” First and inches The New York Jets interviewed Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini on Sunday night for their vacant head coaching job. The New York staff will interview former Vikings coach Mike Tice today. Jeff Jagodzinski is returning to his home state as Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. He worked with new Packers coach Mike McCarthy in Green Bay in 1999. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Peyton Manning couldn’t get comfortable against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense Sunday. Then he had to squirm through the latest round of questions about another playoff failure. “All I know is to keep working, to come back next year and be a better quarterback, a better leader,” he said. “You get tired of saying that after every playoff loss because pretty soon, you start running out of years.” Indianapolis looked rusty, particularly Manning, who started out 0 for 4 and 2 for 9. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “I said before that we practiced well (during the bye week),” Dungy said. “We played hard and gave ourselves a chance but didn’t make enough plays at the end. They played better than we did.” Steelers coach Bill Cowher also defended Dungy’s strategy. “You fight for that bye to rest your players,” he said. “I’d have done the same thing.” Ailing Panthers Carolina running back DeShaun Foster broke his right ankle in the third quarter Sunday against the Chicago Bears, ending his season before the Panthers go to Seattle next week to play for the NFC championship. By the time he heated up midway through the second quarter, the Colts were down, 14-0. They would never catch up. Coach Tony Dungy dismissed the layoff as a contributing factor in the defeat.