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Carroll wants Seahawks to play better in first half

Poor starts have plagued Seattle in first four games of season

  • Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice catches a 52-yard touchdown pass in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

    Associated Press

    Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice catches a 52-yard touchdown pass in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

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By John Boyle
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice catches a 52-yard touchdown pass in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

    Associated Press

    Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice catches a 52-yard touchdown pass in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

RENTON -- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll loves to say that it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Games aren't won or lost in the first quarter, he argues, but in the fourth.
Well, the Seahawks finished pretty darn strong on Sunday, yet still ended up 30-28 losers to the Atlanta Falcons after nearly clawing their way out of a 20-point hole. So apparently, the start matters a little bit, too.
And through four games this season, the 1-3 Seahawks have for the most part been a much better team in the second half than the first. That is why Carroll, despite his focus on finishing strong, wants to see the Seahawks perform a little better out of the gate, particularly the offense that has one first-half touchdown this season.
"I'm disappointed it's like that," he said. "... Right now we have not been able to get started quickly. I'm never one that relies on fast starts, that you have to have those, but at this time, we need to do better than we're doing."
Indeed, if the Seahawks could play entire games at the level they have been playing in the second half, there's a good chance they would be looking at a 2-2 record, or possibly even 3-1, instead of having just one win. In the opener in San Francisco, Seattle was shut out in the first half and trailed 16-0. The offense came alive in the second half and scored 17 points to make a game of it before a special teams meltdown allowed the 49ers to pull away.
In Week 2 in Pittsburgh, Seattle was shut out in the first half, then ... Well, OK, in that case the slow start was matched by a slow finish.
Seattle's only victory came mostly because of a strong defensive outing, but again in that game, the offense's only touchdown came in the second half. And on Sunday, Seattle had just five first downs in the first half and 138 yards then piled up 15 first downs, 234 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.
All told, in the first halves of their first four games, the Seahawks have 13 points, 384 yards of total offense and 21 first downs. Their second-half numbers are considerably better: 45 points, 632 yards and 75 first downs,
"We're not creating much offensively to help us," Carroll said. "We've been OK at times on defense, but I really think we need a spark offensively.
"We've got to get going. It's pretty clear that we've been able to pick it up at times in the second half and I'd like to see if we can get started faster and get off to a little better rhythm, so we're going to work to do that."
One way the Seahawks will try to ignite their offense in the early going will be more no-huddle offense. That was the formula that led to some success in San Francisco, the only touchdown against Arizona and most of the offense on Sunday against the Falcons. Tarvaris Jackson has said he is comfortable running no-huddle, and the Seahawks young line seems to do better when the tempo increases.
Carroll said after Sunday's game, then again Monday, that the Seahawks will use more no-huddle in the future.
"There's a tempo thing involved thing there that sometimes elevates guys," Carroll said. "I don't think it's so much (Jackson), I think it's everybody. As you can see (opposing defenses) fatiguing during the time, the pass rush isn't the same.
"When we're all spread out, clear and clean looks helps guys in two-minutes. That's why two-minute drives are always so successful in the league. I'm not going to go any deeper than that because I don't know that it is any deeper than that. But I don't really care, I'm just glad that we have something that looks good on offense."
Roster moves
On Monday, Pete Carroll was optimistic that linebacker Matt McCoy, while out for a while, would not be out for the season with a knee injury. A day later, however, McCoy was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. As expected, Seattle signed linebacker David Vobora, who was with the team in training camp.
Seattle also promoted defensive end Jameson Konz off of the practice squad, presumably to help on special teams. Konz, a seventh-round pick last year, was drafted as a tight end, then spent most of the year on injured reserve with a hip injury. He was moved to the defensive side of the ball in training camp this year. Fullback Eddie Williams, who was signed after starter Michael Robinson suffered an ankle injury in the season opener, was released.
Seattle also reached an injury settlement with practice squad tight end Fendi Onobun and signed tight end John Nalbone to replace him. Nalbone, a fifth-round pick out of Monmouth in 2009, has spent time in Miami, Minnesota, Denver, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati, primarily on practice squads.
Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
Story tags » Seahawks

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