Bumblin’, fumblin’ Seahawks

SAN FRANCISCO — The Seattle Seahawks lost again Sunday, which, the way things have gone this season, meant they lost in spectacular fashion.

You see, in 2010, Seattle doesn’t lose in heart-breaking fashion, it doesn’t drop a tense nail-biter in the game’s final seconds. No, when the Seahawks lose, they go down in flames. And that pattern held true once again as San Francisco capitalized on five Matt Hasselbeck turnovers to roll to a 40-21 victory at Candlestick Park.

“Today we loss, and when we lose, we lose in grand fashion,” safety Lawyer Milloy said. “And that’s not good.”

No one on the team quite knows what to make of the latest loss, which dropped the Seahawks to 6-7 — but remained tied for first place in the NFC West with the St. Louis Rams. One week, the Seahawks look good and win big, the next they’re taken to the woodshed for a beating. In their seven losses, the Seahawks have been outscored by at least 15 points, and Sunday was the third time in four losses that Seattle’s opponent has scored at least 40 points.

“It is puzzling, because we think we’re a lot better than we showed today,” said Hasselbeck, who was intercepted four times and fumbled once. “It is puzzling. We practice a lot better than we showed today, I know we are better than we showed today, but sure, if you just saw us play on Sunday’s you’re scratching your head and saying, ‘What the heck is the deal with this team?’”

The deal right now is that the Seahawks are struggling. Sunday’s loss was the fifth in seven games, and the two wins in that stretch were against the four-win Arizona Cardinals and the one-win Carolina Panthers. With St. Louis losing in New Orleans, Seattle could have taken over first place in the NFC West by beating the 49ers, who came into the game with a 4-8 record, but instead Seattle again ended up on the wrong end of a spanking.

“This was a disappointing day for us in so many ways,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We had high expectations of really performing well. We wanted to come back from last week and play well, and it didn’t happen for us.”

San Francisco, which improved to 5-8 to stay in the division race, jumped ahead on the first possession of the game when Alex Smith connected with tight end Vernon Davis on a 42-yard touchdown pass, but the game didn’t turn into a blowout right away. After the teams traded punts, Seattle tied the score on an 11-yard pass from Hasselbeck to wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who was starting because injuries kept starters Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu out of the game.

In the second quarter, however, things fell apart quickly for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks. First Hasselbeck threw a pass to fullback Michael Robinson, who had the ball hit off his hands and go to linebacker Takeo Spike, leading to a field goal and 13-7 San Francisco lead. Seattle’s next possession lasted just three plays, ending with a sack on Hasselbeck that forced a fumble, setting up a touchdown. Late in the half, Hasselbeck was intercepted a second time deep in Seattle territory, leading to another 49ers field goal and a 30-7 halftime lead for the home team, which prior to Sunday had not scored more than 27 points in an entire game this season.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Hasselbeck threw an interception on the second play of the second half, and that one was returned 39 yards for a touchdown by former University of Washington safety Dashon Goldson.

“He just got a freebee with a bow on it,” Hasselbeck said. “It was just a gift and he took it to the house.”

The Seahawks did add a pair of touchdowns, a 92-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington and a 2-yard catch by Deon Butler — which resulted in a broken leg for the wide receiver — but by then the damage of the five turnovers was far too much to overcome and another blowout was inevitable.

“I’m giving you guys the same thing every time after a loss,” Milloy said. “Whenever we lose, we lose bad. I can’t put my finger on it, and I’m kind of sick of it, and pretty much that’s it.”

Carroll, like his players, didn’t have an answer for why his team could look so bad a week after it appeared to turn a corner in the second half of a win over Carolina.

“It’s amazing how one week to the next, you can come out and find your game and execute so well, and then not be able to carry it to the next game,” Carroll said. “That’s what I really wanted to see happen and that’s why I’m so disappointed in this performance.”

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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