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  • What's wrong with the Seahawks?

    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.''

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Seahawks are happening in Seattle
    by RamDez
    Seahawks are happening in Seattle
    By Lori Shontz

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Coach Mike Holmgren (right) has had a steady rebuilding plan, which has ended up paying dividends for QB Matt Hasselbeck (8).
    (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

    It wasn't that long ago that on the entertaining Underground Seattle tours, which take tourists under the city to see the old city, now buried by a series of natural disasters, that guides used the city's professional football team as a punchline.

    Oh, Seattle's had it's share of disasters Earthquakes, fires . . . Seahawks.

    Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who arrived in town for the 2001 season, had no idea such jokes were being told. "That would hurt my feelings," he said. He meant it. The one-liner didn't make him laugh.

    The fact is, Seahawks jokes wouldn't get much of a laugh anymore.

    The Seahawks, who went to the playoffs as a wild card team last season, are returning five Pro Bowl players: Hasselbeck, running back Shaun Alexander, offensive tackle Walter Jones, offensive guard Steve Hutchinson and special teams star Alex Bannister. Their defense, anchored by former Rams lineman Grant Wistrom, is ranked No. 1 in the NFL.

    Although the Rams are the defending NFC West champions, the Seahawks are considered the team to beat, and they are also wearing the label "legitimate Super Bowl contender."

    All this from a team whose road record over the years has been another surefire laugh line, a team that had never quite captured the heart or mind of its city. Rams defensive end Bryce Fisher, who grew up in Seattle, is typical. He and his friends grew up rooting for the Raiders because the Seahawks were so bad.

    But for Sunday's game against the Rams at Quest Field, coach Mike Holmgren is expecting that the sold-out stadium full of screaming fans will be one of his team's advantages.

    "It's kind of like when it first happened in St. Louis," Wistrom said. "How fired up everybody was, how new it was to everybody. And the energy that you can feel. It's very exciting to be a part of something like that again, where everyone's appreciated and fans are fired up about it. All everybody wants to talk about is the 'Hawks right now."

    In this, his sixth season in Seattle after 13 successful seasons at Green Bay, Holmgren has finally put the Seahawks where he always believed they could be.

    "If the organization is willing to stay with you - if they believe in you, first of all . . . and they give you enough time, you should be able to improve," Holmgren said. "And they have done that with us. Now we have pretty good depth, our money situation's in pretty good shape capwise. Hopefully we can keep this thing going and get into the playoffs again."
    -10-10-2004, 01:17 AM
  • RamWraith
    Seahawks overtake Rams as West bullies
    by RamWraith
    By Bryan Burwell
    Sunday, Nov. 13 2005

    SEATTLE A year ago, whenever the Rams came into this modern
    architectural marvel called Qwest Field, they were in the business of being
    rude and rowdy party crashers. They seemed to absolutely relish the physical
    and emotional demands of exposing fragile competitive egos and spoiling
    premature championship dreams.

    Yet as cold and miserable rain came drifting down Sunday through the stadium's
    arched, open-air rooftop, the Rams were in no mood to party. Shaun Alexander
    practically was dancing into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day to
    put the final touches on the Seahawks' 31-16 victory. He was looking up into
    that steel-gray November sky, letting the thunderous noise of 67,192 delirious
    spectators and that bitter winter drizzle sweep over him as though he was
    standing in the midst of a soothing summer shower.

    This was a defining moment these crazed Seahawk faithful had been waiting for.
    As Alexander glided into the end zone, he soothed the fluttering hearts in the
    Pacific Northwest who kept seeing unsettling flashbacks of another
    gut-wrenching, fourth-quarter St. Louis comeback. And as Alexander continued
    his impressive audition for league MVP, he presented evidence that a seismic
    shift has occurred in the power structure of the NFC West. The Seahawks, who in
    a previous life played the role of spineless whipping boys in this compelling
    competitive drama with their archrival Rams, were now officially the new
    bullies on the block.

    "It's a really cool thing when you can see the change of the guard, when you're
    the new big dog on the scene," said the Seahawks running back, who gained 165
    yards rushing and continued his march towards a 2,000-yard season. "Even though
    we won the division last year, we didn't feel like we took it from them. We
    feel like we almost got it handed to us."

    In the game's final moments, there was no doubt who had assumed control of this
    division, this rivalry, and this bitter psychological war. Just as the Rams
    were on the verge of overcoming a 24-6 deficit, after Marc Bulger dropped a
    beautiful touchdown pass into the arms of Torry Holt to cut the Seattle lead to
    24-16 with 7 minutes remaining, Alexander and the NFL's top-rated offense took
    the field.

    In a previous life, this is where bad things usually happened to the Seahawks.
    Mike Holmgren would reach into his elaborate playbook and pull out some
    mind-numbing play that would kill their momentum. The Seahawks would fumble,
    crumble and expose themselves as pretenders to the division throne. The Rams
    would cackle at them, shove them...
    -11-14-2005, 05:52 AM
  • RamWraith
    Seattle maintains poise, overcomes a sorry first half
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Monday, Oct. 16 2006

    The Seattle Seahawks dismissed a dismal first half and finished with a flourish.

    "They got us pretty good in the first half," coach Mike Holmgren said after
    Seattle's 30-28 victory Sunday. "We had a good second half. We made the game
    more interesting than we had to."

    Seattle's early play harkened to their most recent performance, an embarrassing
    37-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Oct. 1. The Rams held a 21-7 lead Sunday,
    after the Seahawks gained 4 yards rushing in the first half. The Seahawks
    played both games without Shaun Alexander, last year's leading rusher and MVP,
    recovering from a foot injury.

    When asked to share his intermission words of wisdom, Holmgren said: "I really
    can't. I unloaded on them."

    Center Robbie Tobeck joked that he wouldn't give away team secrets. "I never
    pay attention to that stuff," he said, then 'fessed up. "He reminded us of a
    few things, then said point-blank, 'We're not leaving here without a win.'"

    Holmgren admitted that he told the players he would stick with the running
    game. It paid off, with 90 rushing yards in the third quarter, 49 by
    Alexander's replacement, Maurice Morris. Seattle started its scoring barrage on
    a 42-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Darrell Jackson with 6
    minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

    "One of the guys ran a wrong route on the play," said Hasselbeck, who completed
    19 of 34 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. "It probably helped the
    play. I saw him run the wrong route on the right and thought, 'Forget that
    side' and looked to the left. It was third and 15, kind of a desperate time. I
    gave Darrell a chance. I didn't think he would get there, so it's really all
    Darrell. He didn't quit on the play."

    Holmgren said he sensed the momentum shift. "A great play always juices up your
    team," he said. "That was a fantastic throw and catch."

    Seattle then scored on a 49-yard field goal and recovered a fumble on the
    ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, the Seahawks took their first lead, 24-21, on
    a 19-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Deion Branch.

    Seattle left the door open for a Rams comeback, losing a fumble with 2:48 to go
    that led to a 67-yard TD pass from Marc Bulger to Torry Holt. With 1:38 but no
    timeouts remaining, Hasselbeck drove the Seahawks from their 17 to the Rams' 31
    but nearly gave away the game when he spiked the ball with four seconds left
    before his wide receivers were lined up properly.

    "I knew what the penalty was; I was mad...
    -10-16-2006, 05:21 AM
  • RamWraith
    Botched pass in end zone mirrors Seattle's season
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

    SEATTLE - The Seahawks' final play in a 27-20 loss to the Rams on Saturday
    encapsulated their season.

    On fourth and 4 at the Rams' 5 with 27 seconds to play, the Seahawks had one
    last chance to score a touchdown and send the game into overtime. Seattle
    quarterback Matt Hasselbeck looked to the end zone for wide receiver Bobby
    Engram, a play some of their teammates termed "money in the bank."

    Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said the pass protection seemed to break down,
    which forced quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to move in the pocket.

    "He had to change what he was doing," Holmgren said, "and that affected the

    Instead of a completion in the center of the end zone, the ball nicked the
    outstretched arms of an off-balance Engram and fell to the turf.

    "It came in pretty hot, but I've got to find a way to make that play," Engram
    said. "It's a play we've run a few times this year and scored on. I thought
    Matt moved in the pocket a little bit. I was trying to locate him. He was
    trying to find me. We just didn't connect.

    "I just tried to get my hands down there. How clean I hit it, I'm not sure."

    The loss extended the longest active streak for playoff futility, stretching to

    Near-misses characterized the season for the Seahawks, a team that some experts
    predicted earlier this season would make a run deep into the playoffs.

    Engram called the missed catch "a pretty good analogy. It's been a battle all
    year. The guys on this team are great. It's been a crazy year. A lot of ups and
    downs. We've just got to find a way to win games like this. That's continuing
    to mature. Any time you have a really good team, you have to go through a
    building process, but this is a game we could have won."

    Holmgren attributed another of the Seahawks' Achilles' heels, youth, to putting
    Seattle in an early hole.

    Two strikes of more than 50 yards to Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis keyed
    touchdown drives that gave the Rams a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

    "That's one area where our youth really shows up," Holmgren said. "You can
    coach it, you can talk it, you can drill it, you can bring them in at 6 in the
    morning and look at it, and then when they're out in the field, if you haven't
    seen it enough, sometimes you react in a different way. That's what happened
    today, and that's what happened this season, unfortunately."

    A couple of aspects of Saturday's loss proved uncharacteristic, however.

    Running back...
    -01-09-2005, 05:12 AM
  • RamDez
    Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen
    by RamDez
    Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen
    By Lori Shontz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 14 2004

    As a metaphor for what happens when the Seattle Seahawks play the Rams, it's
    hard to get better than Sunday's first play from scrimmage.

    The Seahawks' Pro Bowl running back and their Pro Bowl quarterback crashed into
    each other on the handoff, leaving QB Matt Hasselbeck with a charley horse and
    running back Shaun Alexander with a banged-up knee.

    At best, the play was inefficient. At worst, if either player had been
    seriously injured, it could have been disastrous. And that just about sums up
    Seattle's attempts to beat the Rams this season.

    "That's one of those things that's just weird," Alexander said. "I was
    (thinking), 'How many people start a game where the two key players knock
    themselves out with no one else touching them?' It was just kind of like a big
    joke. I was (thinking), hopefully we'll be able to tell this story with humor
    down the road. And you know ... not as funny as I wanted it to be."

    Because yet again, the Seahawks fell to the Rams, the team they need to beat to
    get control of the NFC West and to make their Super Bowl aspirations seem like
    more than a pipe dream. The final score was 23-12, but no one cared about the

    "We wanted this game," linebacker Chad Brown said. "It would have given us a
    nice lead in the division, and for us to blow it ... with all the games we've
    lost this year, we've blown it. The fact that we blew it, and it's against the
    Rams, that makes us look really bad."

    The Hasselbeck-Alexander collision turned out to mean little. But plenty of
    other things went wrong.

    The Seahawks failed to score a touchdown even though they ventured inside the
    Rams' 30-yard line six times. They played such soft defense early, giving up
    touchdowns on the Rams' first two possessions, that Seattle coach Mike Holmgren
    said it looked as if the Rams "were out there by themselves the first part of
    the game."

    Oh, and when Seattle finally appeared to be taking control, with Alexander
    shredding the Rams' defense and appearing headed for the end zone early in the
    fourth quarter, Rams safety Aeneas Williams punched the ball out of Alexander's
    grip. Inside the 10-yard line. That ended the Seahawks' last and best chance to
    score a touchdown.

    "We can compete with their team," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "Their team is no
    better than ours. We're probably more talented than that team, it's just ... I
    don't know, they just don't make as many mistakes as we have been making."

    Over and over, the Seattle players sounded the...
    -11-14-2004, 11:17 PM