When the Seahawks lost last week, at least they saw signs of improvement in defeat. The offense made strides, particularly in the run game, and Seattle coach Jim Mora focused on the positives despite that loss in Arizona.
Sunday was a different story. There was little to like for the Seahawks in a 35-9 loss to Minnesota, Seattle's fourth double-digit defeat in five games.
“We weren't good in any of the areas we thought we'd be good at today,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “... We were not ourselves today. We were not very good.”
But after a 3-7 start, it appears that “not very good” is the Seahawks being themselves.
On offense, the Seahawks couldn't move the ball until the second half when the game was well out of reach, and defensively they were no match for 40-year-old quarterback Brett Favre, who threw for four touchdowns, and the Vikings offense. Even special teams contributed to the blowout loss, with Ben Obomanu fumbling a kick return late in the first half to set up Minnesota's third touchdown of the second quarter.
During their early season struggles, the Seahawks battled a number of injuries, most notably on the offensive line. The hope for Seattle was that things would get better as players returned to health. Yet 10 games into the season, the Seahawks are as healthy as most teams this far into the season and the struggles continue.
“We know there's a long ways to go,” Hasselbeck said. “We know that, we know we've got to do way better. We know that. That's clearly evident. My feeling is: we just can't get used to this, we can't get used to losing. We work too hard to figure out how to win here, and we've just got to keep fighting.”
Seahawks coach Jim Mora believes his team will do just that. The team is down, he said, but not defeated. Losing record or not, he believes improvement is coming, regardless of how things looked Sunday.
“I don't think it ever feels like a step back for me,” Mora said. “I think you are always moving forward, it just doesn't feel like it after a game. We are going to find positives in this game just like we will find negatives. This team will continue to fight hard, I don't question the effort. Effort is not going to be enough though, we need to execute. We will go back tomorrow and we will get it done eventually, we'll get it done. We're going to keep pushing and working hard.”
The numbers from the latest Seahawks loss shows just how far they are from the elite teams of the NFC. The Vikings more than doubled the Seahawks yardage total (431 to 212), had 18 more first downs (28 to 10), were substantially better on third-down conversions (62 percent to 10 percent), dominated time of possession (42:11 to 17:49), and held the Seahawks to a franchise-low rushing total of four yards.
“They do not have a weakness on their football team quite frankly,” Mora said of the Vikings. “They're good all around. They're big and physical and fast. There are a lot of good football players on that football team.”
Despite the big final numbers, the Seahawks defense started the game well. Seattle sacked Favre on each of Minnesota's first two possessions and the Vikings had to punt both times. The offense, however, did little right, punting on all five first-half possessions. The Seahawks didn't get past midfield until a third-quarter drive that ended with a field goal, and had just two first downs in the first half.
“You can call it a step backwards, say we turned a corner, we hit a U-turn, whatever you want to say,” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “We just played terrible today. I didn't break a sweat probably ‘til like five minutes left in the game ... We couldn't never sustain a drive, couldn't get anything going, but a lot of that has to do with their defense.”
With the Seahawks offense continually giving the ball back to Favre and the Vikings offense, it was only a matter of time before the league's No. 2 scoring offense found its rhythm. In the second quarter, Favre led Minnesota on three scoring drives, all of which ended with touchdown passes.
Both teams punted to start the second half before Favre, who completed 22 of 25 attempts for 213 yards — the best completion percentage of his career — led the Vikings to a fourth touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
Favre's four touchdown passes went to four different receivers, and if there was any doubt how bad the day was going for Seattle at that point, it was erased when backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson trotted onto the field to replace Favre with 43 seconds still remaining in the third quarter.
“When they put Tarvaris Jackson in in the fourth quarter, it's almost embarrassing to be down by that much that the other team's pulling their guys,” said Hasselbeck. “It's just hard being in this situation right now, we're not used to it. It's new territory, it's very tough.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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