What's wrong with the Seahawks?
By TIM KORTE, AP Sports Writer
November 15, 2004

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Last summer, the Seattle Seahawks were a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl.

As they keep reminding themselves, that goal remains attainable. Yet one day after their second loss to NFC West rival St. Louis, everyone from coach Mike Holmgren down was asking the same question.

What's wrong with the Seahawks?

``Some of the things that happened yesterday, I'm struggling for answers,'' Holmgren said Monday. ``And I don't like that feeling.''

This was one of Seattle's most celebrated games so far, a rematch with the Rams who struck for 23 unanswered points in the final eight minutes on Oct. 10, when St. Louis won 33-27 in overtime.

This time, the Seahawks (5-4) allowed 17 quick points. Seattle's offense couldn't keep up, nor could it reach the end zone. Matt Hasselbeck was 15-of-36 for 172 yards with an interception, and was plagued by poor decisions and drops.

``I expect us to be better than that,'' Holmgren said. ``We missed. We just didn't execute. We didn't catch it very well. We didn't throw it very well, as well as I think we can.''

Shaun Alexander gained 176 yards rushing to put him over the 1,000-yard mark in the ninth game, but he had a key fumble after a nice 35-yard run in the fourth quarter when Seattle was trying to close a 20-12 margin.

Nobody knows what's wrong.

``If I knew, I would tell you,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously, we haven't figured it out. We all have different ideas of what would help. As a team, we're not doing it. We'll eventually figure it out and go from there.''

Holmgren said repeatedly back at training camp that a deep postseason run was possible, provided Seattle's best players all performed well throughout the season.

So far, that hasn't happened.

A Seattle defense that stormed its first three opponents has been up-and-down since. Marc Bulger made six straight completions on the Rams' opening drive Sunday, and he was 11-of-13 with a 14-0 lead after seven minutes.

``We made it too easy,'' Holmgren said.

Hasselbeck -- a Pro Bowler last season -- has had some solid games, mixed with struggles that leave Holmgren scratching his head.

``We're not far from it really exploding and being good,'' Hasselbeck insisted. ``Just like the week before when there were a lot of good plays, it's just 6 inches and it's a good play. That's kind of where we're at.''

Great, but they've been saying that for weeks now. Hasselbeck believes the Seahawks ``are on the other side of that fine line,'' and he maintains there's optimism flowing through the locker room.

Seattle, though, is teetering -- poised to go one way or the other.

With five of their final seven games at home, the Seahawks have a significant advantage over the Rams, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker in the NFC West but play only three more at home.

The Seahawks get a break in the next three weeks, with Miami (1-8), Buffalo (3-6) and Dallas (3-5) visiting. Seattle travels to Minnesota (5-4) and the Jets (6-3), with home games against Arizona (4-5) and Atlanta (7-2).

``There are a whole bunch of teams clustered at 5-4,'' Holmgren said. ``This season is far from being over. There's a lot of football to play. There's reason for optimism. There's reason to look ahead.''