Seattle has lots of problems too

The Seahawks still aren't sure how to stop all the big plays on defense. This could be time for the Oakland Raiders to break out.

Benching strong safety Michael Boulware didn't seem to help during a 35-28 loss to the Chiefs. The problems go beyond any one player.

"As to why any phase of our football team breaks down in a particular games, there are a few reasons, different reasons, and you just have to be honest about it and try and fix them," coach Mike Holmgren said. "That's what we're going to try and do.

"We are capable of being better, though. And quite frankly, until we get some of the guys back (on offense), I'm counting on the defense to kind of carry the ball a little bit."
Seattle's defense performed ably during early victories over Detroit and Arizona. The defense was dominant for three quarters of a victory over the Giants as well. It was easy to write off a poor fourth-quarter showing in that game because Seattle was leading 42-3 after the third.

Things are different now. After allowing only 11 touchdowns in their first 11 quarters, the Seahawks have allowed 18 touchdowns in the subsequent 17 quarters. The defense has fallen to a No. 23 overall ranking after giving up 499 yards and 30 first downs in Kansas City.

"We won a game with our defense the first game of the year, 9-6 (at Detroit)," Holmgren said. "I believe our defense is capable of playing a lot better." Poor tackling against the Chiefs was only part of the problem. The team has also suffered from less-disciplined play. Players are missing more assignments this season and nobody is quite sure why.

The Chiefs exploited all areas of the defense. Damon Huard passed for 300-plus yards. Larry Johnson rushed for 155 yards. Tight end Tony Gonzalez reached triple digits in receiving yards.

"I thought they hurt us underneath more in this game," Holmgren said. "(Gonzalez) had a little too much freedom running around and that surprises me because it was a point of emphasis during the week.

"That is an awareness thing. That's a concentration thing, where he is. ... But what made things work for them is our inability to really stop their running game."

The run defense hasn't been the same since allowing a 95-yard run to Minnesota's Chester Taylor two weeks ago. Seattle gets a break when Oakland's anemic offense visits on Monday night, but the Seahawks clearly must improve on that side of the ball to be a factor late in the season or in the playoffs.


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