Seahawks need to fix D

IRVING, Texas — Mike Holmgren said something Thursday night that fans throughout Seattle have been thinking all season.

It’s something that the entire nation saw earlier that afternoon while the Dallas Cowboys were piling up 447 yards on Holmgren’s Seattle Seahawks during a 34-9 blowout on national television.

The Seahawks’ defense, Holmgren said, is in need of a facelift.

“We have to take a hard look at that side of the ball,” the Seahawks’ head coach said Thursday night. “Maybe changes are necessary next year.”

Holmgren won’t be part of that process, as he has al ready announced that this season will be his last in Seattle. Perhaps his going-away speech will be a little like the one he delivered Thursday night: fix the D.

The Seahawks came into the season with high hopes for its defense but have fallen flat through three-quarters of the schedule. Seattle entered Thursday’s game against Dallas ranked 29th in the NFL in yards allowed, and the holiday performance did nothing to improve its standing.

Dallas continually took advantage of the Seahawks’ small cornerbacks and soft zone coverage to march down the field for touchdowns on each of the Cowboys’ first three possessions. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo wasn’t afraid to throw the deep ball, and he connected more often than not.

By the end of Thursday’s game, Romo had piled up 331 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-34 passing. It was a clinic in every sense of the word, leaving the Seahawks looking somewhat helpless to stop it.

“There was one stretch where we were getting off the field, and that looked like us,” Peterson said, referring to back-to-back series in the third quarter that resulted in a Marcus Trufant interception and a three-and-out. “But we weren’t consistent enough. Fortunately, we’ve still got four weeks to prove what we’ve got to prove.”

It’s probably too late. The Seahawks have been one of the NFL’s worst defenses this season despite a group of talented players that included all 11 starters from the 2007 team.

The most obvious problems have been an inability to get consistent quarterback pressure and a secondary that lacks size.

Both areas were exposed again on Thursday.

With a pair of 6-foot-3 wideouts that both weigh over 200 pounds, the Cowboys turned in 11 pass plays that went for 13 yards or longer. Seattle started the game with Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant following Terrell Owens all over the field, but the Seahawks had to adjust after Romo continually tested smaller cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings on the other side.

“They’ve got T.O., and our guys are short — even though they hold their own,” Seahawks safety Deon Grant said. “And the plays they made were when we were in zone.”

Seattle’s blitz was ineffective again, leading to a few big plays downfield. Wilson had chances to sack Romo three times, but on each occasion the quarterback slipped his grasp and delivered a pass.

“He’s a good quarterback,” Wilson said, “and he just made plays.”

Romo’s ability to escape the pass rush was on display all afternoon. The Seahawks didn’t record a single sack, despite a game plan that often featured blitz packages.

Romo had one of his finest games of the season, proving that his pinky injury is no longer a factor.

“It’s not like his legs were messed up and he couldn’t run around,” said Peterson, referring to the finger injury that kept Romo out of three games. “It’s just a pinky.

“I mean, look at mine,” Peterson added, holding out a pair of hands that included bent pinky fingers. “If it’s just his pinky, I’d say he was pretty healthy. I know he plays quarterback, but come on.”

The bigger question in Seattle is what’s ailing the Seahawks’ defense. The formula that brought together four Pro Bowlers and three other players who were first-round draft picks has not panned out.

“Right now, we haven’t performed up to our expectations,” Peterson said, “so we know there will be some changes.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III celebrates after scoring against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Grading the Seahawks in their 37-27 win over the Panthers

Seattle turns in a solid all-around performance in front of the 2013 Super Bowl winners.

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Most Read