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Originally published Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Steve Kelley

New Seahawks players, coach, same ol' late-season swoon

The Seahawks are in the midst of another December swoon. And with NFC powerhouse Atlanta up next, don't expect that downward spiral to end.

Seattle Times staff columnist


Falcons @ Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13


The Seahawks are bad. Déjà Vu bad. Groundhog Season bad.

They have six wins only because they have played some of the league's worst quarterbacks. Jimmy Clausen? Max Hall? Derek Anderson?

At this point in their 6-7 season, the only way they can win games is if they are playing against grenade-throwing quarterbacks. The worst and the dullest.

And there are none left on the schedule.

This week the NFC's best, the Atlanta Falcons, come to town. Raise your hand if you think the Hawks have any chance of winning this game, even at home, even if their Qwest crowd gets 2005 loud.

The Falcons are the worst kind of team for the Hawks to face at this time of the season. A balanced offense. A hungry defense. A team with Super Bowl dreams.

We're in the midst of another Seahawks swoon. A downward spiral out of which no amount of clichés and pep talks can pull them.

Remember just 11 months ago, when then-CEO Tod Leiweke announced the firing of coach Jim Mora and said much of the decision was based on the lackluster way the team finished its season?

The Hawks lost lopsidedly. They made December look like surrender, a 27-point loss to Houston, a 17-point loss at home to Tampa Bay, a 48-10 get-me-some-place-warm loss in Green Bay.

It wasn't that the Hawks quit on Mora, they just weren't good enough to compete.

This season, they've gotten no better.

Despite a schedule that is only slightly more difficult than Boise State's, they are 31st in the league in yards allowed. Only the Washington Redskins have allowed more.

They are 27th in the league in total offense and 31st in yards gained rushing.

They can't run the ball. They can't stop the run. Their defense can't get off the field. And their offense is another mistake waiting to happen.

The Seahawks' season fell apart when they lost defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Mike Williams. That's how thin the talent is. Bryant and Williams were tough losses, but it wasn't like the Seahawks lost Clay Matthews and DeSean Jackson.

Every Seahawks loss has been by more than two scores. They lost by 30 points in Oakland and 34 at home to the Giants.

For all the talk this season about the importance of competition, these Hawks have been uncompetitive too many times.

These shellackings in 2010 are exactly the kind that cost Mora his job and brought "Competition" Pete Carroll to Seattle to change the franchise's direction.

But since the Seahawks' win in Chicago in mid-October, they have been every bit as lackluster as they were at the end of last season.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's arm strength is greatly diminished. (I was dead wrong to suggest a month ago that the Seahawks should extend his contract.) In fairness, Hasselbeck has few open receivers and no running game to help him.

Seattle's cornerbacks are getting fricasseed. (Meanwhile, veteran corner Josh Wilson, who began this summer as a Hawks starter, made the game-winning pick six in Baltimore's Monday night win at Houston.)

Carroll and general manager John Schneider cut and culled the roster. They brought in every ambulatory offensive lineman and every pass-catching body they could find.

They turned over the roster like a couple of farmers turning over the soil and came up with ... the same old Seahawks. The same old results.

This team teased us early. It looked opportunistic and full of energy. It looked as if it had just enough playmakers — Leon Washington, Earl Thomas, Lofa Tatupu, Lawyer Milloy, Aaron Curry, Williams — to win just enough games to get into the playoffs.

With the NFC West in some kind of pigskin Twilight Zone, it seemed the Seahawks could win a division championship while rebuilding for the future.

But now this season and the future are muddled. Looking past this year, St. Louis and San Francisco seem better prepared for the future.

The Seahawks?

Even the weird, weird West can't hide all their faults. And, with three games remaining, the idea of a playoff game in Seattle is a flickering dream that is about to be extinguished.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or

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About Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation. | 206-464-2176



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