Notebook: Spiky Seahawks Can't Be Trusted

The Seahawks remain an inconsistent team that can't be trusted. Their defense might collect nine sacks or allow 260 yards rushing. Their offense might score 35 points in the first half, or none. Their special teams might provide a 90-yard punt return or shank a punt at the worst time.

The result for Seattle is a 6-4 record with six games to play. The team's loss at San Francisco on Sunday could prove costly. Seattle still has tough games against Denver (road) and San Diego (home). The way the Seahawks played against the 49ers, they could even lose at Arizona, as unlikely as it seems.

Coach Mike Holmgren remains optimistic because he thinks the team will improve as it gets healthier. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has missed the last four games. He should be back on the field Monday night at home against Green Bay.

"There's a pretty good feeling on the team and we will bounce back from this," Holmgren said after losing to the 49ers for the first time since 2002, a string of six games.

Seattle's offensive inconsistencies have been understandable. The team has been without as many as four starters at a time on that side of the ball. Hasselbeck, center Robbie Tobeck and right tackle Sean Locklear missed the San Francisco game.

Shaun Alexander returned from a broken foot, but there wasn't much running room. He appeared to move well, but he can't block for himself. Tobeck and Locklear could return against the Packers. Hasselbeck might need some time to shake off the rust. Alexander should be able to perform effectively if the blocking improves.

The Seahawks' problems on defense are more confounding. The team allowed 262 yards rushing and 416 yards overall to the 49ers. Seattle previously allowed a 95-yard run to Minnesota and 155 yards rushing to Kansas City's Larry Johnson.

The 49ers' Frank Gore had runs of 51, 50, 23, 20 and 17 yards against the Seahawks. His 212 yards were the most for a 49ers running back and third-most for a Seahawks opponent.

"We've gotta do a better job of tackling in the open field and we've gotta do a better job of recognizing formations and the plays that are going to come out of them," defensive end Bryce Fisher said.

The Seahawks remain a resourceful team. They rallied with two long touchdown passes in the second half against the 49ers, and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu forced Gore to fumble in the final two minutes. Seattle recovered and had the ball with a chance to go ahead.

Despite getting dominated by the Chiefs in similar fashion a few weeks earlier, Seattle actually pulled into the lead of that game with six minutes left. And when the Chiefs pulled ahead again and apparently sealed the game with an interception, Seattle receiver Deion Branch stole back the ball to give his team one final chance.

What it means, of course, is that the Seahawks do not quit. Sometimes they need to do a better job starting, and sustaining.

"Offensively, you go through a stretch where you have a lot of different guys in there and it's tough to get continuity and you just can't make the big mistakes," Holmgren said. "I think we'll get most of the guys back next week."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Seneca Wallace tossed two touchdowns with three interceptions in his fourth start of the season. Starting QB Matt Hasselbeck is expected to return next week. Wallace has played well at times, but he has not played well consistently enough, particularly Sunday.

--RB Shaun Alexander averaged only 2.2 yards per carry in his return from a broken foot Sunday. Alexander moved well and said he felt good. He gained confidence as the game went on. But with the 49ers controlling the ball for more than 43 minutes, Alexander never got into a rhythm.

--WR Darrell Jackson caught another long TD pass Sunday. His 41-yarder in the fourth quarter brought Seattle within a touchdown even though the 49ers were dominating the game most of the way. Jackson has eight touchdown receptions on the season, leaving him one short of tying his career high.

--C Robbie Tobeck was active Sunday but did not play. He has lost weight and strength while battling an illness. Tobeck is expected to return against Green Bay next week on Monday night.

--QB Matt Hasselbeck is expected to return from a knee injury next week on Monday night. He was the third quarterback Sunday.


SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories