Up next: First look at Seattle

The Seattle Seahawks last week were concerned about their wide receiver situation. Now they are apoplectic. While they told themselves all preseason that they could get away with a young receiving corps with no experience, their 34-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday brought that home with a thud.

Now, when they face the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday in their first NFC West game, they not only will have inexperienced wide receivers, they will have one less.

Nate Burleson, their starting split end and the only receiver on their active roster with more than five NFL career receptions, sprained his knee in Sunday's loss and some reports coming out of Seattle late Monday are that he'll be out for the season with a torn ACL.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Burleson aggravated an old injury, but it did not take away from the fact that Holmgren insinuated Burleson may be lost for the season.

For his part, Burleson said he plans on playing. But after he tried making a cut 10 yards into a route, caught his left foot on his right heel and went down to the turf, he never was able to come back to a game in which the Seahawks desperately needed him.

Starting flanker Courtney Taylor was ineffective all game, three of Matt Hasselbeck's first four passes being tossed his way, with one of them being dropped, Taylor not turning around on another and the third not coming close.

Jordan Kent also dropped a pass. Logan Payne caught one pass downfield, turned to run, was hit and immediately fumbled.

And when the Seahawks fell behind by double digits and Burleson left the game, Hasselbeck had no targets to throw to, his frustration palpable as he threw his arms down in disgust on more than one occasion.

"It might take us a while to look as smooth as we would like, but we kind of know that," Holmgren said. "Unfortunately, you go against a good team ... it's exaggerated a little bit. Clearly our inexperience in certain areas showed."

So what do the Seahawks do against the 49ers if Burleson, who had a touchdown reception against the Bills, is not able to go?

They can hope that Deion Branch returns prematurely from his surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Or, they can move backup quarterback Seneca Wallace into the starting lineup. Part of the reason that Holmgren gave Charlie Frye so much time in the preseason was so that he would be more comfortable if Wallace needed to get time and he somehow got injured.

Short of those two measures, Holmgren may simply have to rely on general manager Tim Ruskell's instincts, which told him this offseason that Taylor, Payne and Kent were ready to step in and fill the void left by the other receivers.

"What I'd like to do is learn from this game," Holmgren said. "For our young guys in particular, maybe in the long run it'll be the best thing that could have happened to us -- as strange as that sounds."


PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--- WR Nate Burleson sprained his knee and reports coming out of Seattle are that he's done for the season with a torn ACL. Coach Mike Holmgren needs to find a replacement for Burleson, who also returned punts for the team. Seneca Wallace fielded the Bills' last punt. Rookie Justin Forsett, who was inactive, also is a possibility.
--- RB Maurice Morris sprained his knee and is questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers. If he can't play, Julius Jones is likely to start.
--- LB Lofa Tatupu injured his right thumb against Buffalo, but he will play against San Francisco. He has his right hand wrapped in tape.
--- DE Jason Babin, one of the players on the bubble, was in the four-man rotation, while DE Baraka Atkins was inactive. If the Seahawks have to make roster moves, Atkins may get waived.



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