Originally published November 9, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Page modified November 10, 2011 at 1:55 AM

Can Seahawks reverse early offensive struggles?

The season has only been half bad for Seattle's offense. Whether it's totally awful depends on what the Seahawks do in the second half of...

Seattle Times staff reporter


Baltimore @ Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 7

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The season has only been half bad for Seattle's offense.

Whether it's totally awful depends on what the Seahawks do in the second half of the schedule, because through eight games, Seattle has been the dregs.

The Seahawks have scored fewer than 20 points six times, have yet to hold a halftime lead, and in the past three games Seattle has more penalties (29) than points (28).

Looking for a bright side? Well, you're going to have to wait for it.

"We're coming around," coach Pete Carroll said, "and we can see it. The change is happening right before our eyes. So we just have to demonstrate a patience in the sense, in an impatient world, that allows us to make the right decisions and stick with the stuff that we're doing."

Seattle has scored 122 points this season. Only three teams have fewer. That's the sixth-fewest after eight games of any season in Seahawks franchise history.

This was a clear danger when the Seahawks began the season with three starters signed in free agency and two rookies starting on the offensive line. The free-agent starters are quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Sidney Rice, and the rookie linemen are guard John Moffitt and right tackle James Carpenter.

Throw in a four-month lockout, and the Seahawks were behind before the games ever started.

"It's as difficult a process as we could have put ourselves in," Carroll said.

The results back that up. Seattle didn't score in the first half of its first two games, and three months into this season, those early difficulties haven't vanished. Of the 12 touchdowns Seattle's offense has scored, only three have come in the first two quarters.

So what does it look like from inside the offense? Running back Marshawn Lynch was asked for his review on the first half of this season.

"I feel like we were playing catch-up with ourselves," Lynch said. "What I mean by that, we have all the right talent. We've got the right guys in the right position, and we've been having little things stop us from reaching our full potential."

Sunday was a step forward. For the second time in four games, the Seahawks' running game was not a running joke. Lynch rushed for 135 yards, the most he's had in any regular-season start for the Seahawks.

Seattle settled for a pair of first-half field goals when it was in position to score touchdowns, and then Jackson committed three second-half turnovers that led to the 10 points that were the difference in the final score. But it was an encouraging sign. The Seahawks entered the game having allowed the most sacks in the league. They gave up only one to the Cowboys. Seattle entered the game with the second-fewest rushing yards in the league, and they gained 162 yards on the ground, their most in any game under Carroll.

Consider that a running start into the second half.

"I'm excited because we took a step in the right direction," said Tom Cable, the team's offensive-line coach. "There have been some signs of it, but no consistency like we had in Dallas. I think that's probably the most exciting thing is a little bit of consistency."

Pointed criticism
Seattle has averaged 15.3 points this season, which is the sixth-lowest in franchise history after eight games:
Year Scoring avg. After 8 games Final W-L
1992 6.6 1-7 2-14
1981 13 2-6 6-10
1982 14.3 3-5 4-5
1976 14.8 1-7 2-12
2000 15.1 2-6 6-10
2011 15.3 2-6
1993 16.1 4-4 6-10
2010 16.3 4-4 7-9

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