Seahawks fall short of super in stretch

Saturday, December 16, 2006

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Mike Holmgren addressed his players in a darkened room Friday morning, the result of a wind and rain storm that knocked out power to much of the Seattle region.

The setting matched the Seahawks' mood.

What was expected to be a celebration of a third straight NFC West crown on Thursday night turned into an examination of just what was wrong with the reigning NFC champs after a shocking 24-14 loss to San Francisco.

"It's been a little bit of the same old, same old the last few weeks," the coach said at team headquarters, which was running on generators. "We've been a pretty inconsistent football team where one phase of the football team might play well, but the complementary parts of the team didn't, and that could change on a weekly basis it seems."

Despite the two straight losses, the Seahawks (8-6) still control their fate in the NFC West. A win over San Diego on Christmas Eve or at Tampa Bay on New Year's Eve will give the Seahawks the division crown and a home game in the first-round of the playoffs.

The main problems for Seattle again involved the offense. Even with MVP running back Shaun Alexander and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck back from injuries, the Seahawks have displayed only occasional signs of the machine that rolled through the NFC a year ago.

Against San Francisco, Alexander was limited to just 16 yards in the second half. He gained 40 of his 73 yards on one drive in the first quarter -- capped by his 3-yard TD run, just his fourth rushing touchdown this year.

The inability to establish a constant ground game has been a problem since Alexander's return from a cracked bone in his foot on Nov. 19. He has only one 100-yard game this season, and his 3.8 yards per carry average is well off his 5.1 of a season ago.

Hasselbeck was intercepted twice, as Seattle's offense rarely threatened.

Holmgren said if these inconsistencies had festered earlier in the season, personnel or schematic changes could've been made. With just two games remaining, Holmgren believes it's too late to make drastic moves.

Instead, the coach will be leading the mantra that Seattle can still accomplish its goals.

"I think that's part of my job. I've got to show them and then I believe this, we're going, we're still going," Holmgren said. "Are we disappointed, are we angry, are we frustrated, can we play better? Yes, yes, yes, yes. OK, but now, boom, that's done. And we've got two games left in the regular season, let's go."

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