Seahawks loss significant; blowout was not

Nov 1, 2010, 7:49 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

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By Mike Salk

The Seahawks are not the best team in the NFC. That is now clear. Tony Dungy was wrong.

The best team in the NFC wouldn’t have gotten waxed in Oakland. It wouldn’t have failed to convert 15 of 16 third downs. It wouldn’t have been outgained 545-162. And it wouldn’t have gained a total of 4 yards on its first 12 plays (negative 16 yards if you include penalties).

I think we can also safely say that the Seahawks early season schedule had a significant effect on their 4-2 start.

Look, I’m not using Sunday’s drubbing as a chance to leap all the way off the bandwagon. Not when it came on the road against a superior AFC opponent and not when the Hawks still lead the woeful NFC West. But it is a good barometer of what kind of team the Seahawks are at this point in their rebuilding process.

They are a team that gets the most out of it’s limited talent. When they’ve won, the Hawks have kept it simple, limited mistakes, let the other team beat itself with turnovers, and won enough battles up front to come out on top. They don’t really have enough talent or depth to win any other way. When they play a team that doesn’t kill itself with turnovers, they lose. And because they aren’t built to play that kind of game, they run the risk of losing big.

The Hawks have forced 12 turnovers in their four wins. They have forced one in their three losses. Notice a pattern?

Now, that isn’t to say the Seahawks are a terrible team. They aren’t. In fact, in this year’s NFL, they are a middle of the pack team because they take care of the ball and typically don’t beat themselves. There are plenty of teams around the league that are happy to give you the ball and ultimately the game. But they also simply don’t have the talent to win too many games without the benefit of a few turnovers along the way. That fact gets exaggerated on the road when they don’t have the benefit of the 12th Man wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.

I won’t panic because the Seahawks got blown out. In fact, I’ll assume that many of their losses this year will come in that fashion. Their three losses have been by an average of more than 21 points. The wins, meanwhile, have been by an average of less than 14 points (with two of the four by a touchdowns or less). That doesn’t mean they aren’t a good team, just a limited one.

Fortunately for the Seahawks, being limited doesn’t count them out in the NFC and especially not in the NFC West.

* * *

– The injury situation, which seemed to be teetering on the edge of being a problem has no tipped over that edge. Depending on the severity of a few injuries, the Hawks are now extraordinarily thin along their defensive line, in the secondary, along the offensive line and at wide receiver. The D-line could be missing Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole and Red Bryant (three of four starters). The secondary is already without two of its top corners (Thurmond and Jennings). Mike Williams, Golden Tate and Brandon Stokley are all battling injuries. And now Russell Okung and Tyler Polumbus are question marks – even tougher to take with Chester Pitts just returning to action and Ben Hamilton and Sean Locklear playing sub par games.

Speaking of Hamilton, he seemed like he was trying to take the Goat of the Week award away from Locklear. He struggled badly in the first quarter before being replaced by Pitts. He whiffed on a couple of sacks and then was called for a key holding penalty.

-Was this the worst football/sports weekend in Washington in a while? The Huskies, Cougars and Seahawks lost by a combined score of 116-3. They went 11 quarters without scoring a point and did not get into the end zone once. How do you handle that?

-I didn’t get to see much of the WSU game, but the Huskies looked wretched against Stanford. They simply were not in the same league as the Cardinal. I know Jake Locker is battling rib issues and his offensive line is beleaguered, but he is not in the same league as Andrew Luck. I’m not sure how a team could be excited to draft him in the first round right now. That interception on the slant route was exactly the kind of inaccuracy that you can’t have in the NFL.

-I don’t even know what to say about Nick Holt’s Husky defense. They are not Pac-10 quality. No other way to say it. They also appear to be getting worse, not better. How does the coaching staff explain that?

-Despite how bad the Huskies looked, they are still capable of getting to a bowl game. It’s going to take them winning three straight to end the year, but their final three opponents are all beatable. UCLA is also 3-5, Cal was spanked by Oregon State this week and lost starting quarterback Kevin Riley, and Wazzu is, well, Wazzu.

Every Monday morning at 9:20 am, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll joins us to break down the previous Sunday’s Seahawks game. Submit your question for Coach Carroll here and if we ask the coach your question, you’ll win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Seahawks game at Qwest Field. It’s the Pete Carroll Show every Monday at 9:20 am on Brock and Salk.

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Seahawks loss significant; blowout was not