Seattle finds many ways to end up 2-6
Whether it was offensive ineptitude, defensive lapses or special teams meltdowns, the Seattle Seahawks have found plenty of different ways to end the first half of the season with a 2-6 record.
Ultimately it comes back to a lack of consistency, some of which was to be expected with limited offseason work due to the NFL lockout and another rollover of Seattle's constantly changing roster.
But for a team with ''Finish'' as one of its mottos, the Seahawks have done the opposite.
''There's really two things - there is the consistency that isn't there and the lack of that, and also taking care of the football,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''Last week when you go back, this is a very tight football game we're in and we turn the ball over once and we come right back and do it again and give them 10 points and change the football game in a game that called for really effective, efficient play.''
That 23-13 loss at Dallas last Sunday was another example of Seattle's maddening inconsistency through the first half of Carroll's second season. On a day where Seattle got its finest effort running the football in the past two regular seasons and Marshawn Lynch recorded his first 100-yard rushing day in nearly three calendar years, the Seahawks committed three turnovers and saw their own defense give up 163 yards rushing to the Cowboys.
They've been outscored 61-50 in the fourth quarter, and in five of their six losses the Seahawks have been within one score early in the final quarter before letting each game get away.
Seattle's two wins were the only time that the Seahawks led at the start of the fourth. But such are the headaches you live with when the offensive line is almost completely new, three-quarters of the secondary is different and no starter on the Seahawks depth chart heading into the game this week against Baltimore has more than eight years of experience.
Not to mention four rookies starting.
''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 and not get us out of whack so that we can keep growing and they can keep building their confidence and their expertise in playing with one another,'' Carroll said.
While much of the focus has been placed on the offensive woes that handcuffed the Seahawks at times during the season, at least two of their losses can be put squarely on special teams problems. In the opener at San Francisco, the Seahawks were within 19-17 in the fourth quarter before giving up a pair of returns for touchdowns - one kickoff, one punt - by Ted Ginn Jr.
In Week 8 versus Cincinnati, an early 63-yard punt return by Adam Jones led to a touchdown, while Brandon Tate returned a punt 56 yards for a score in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
''Special teams is the group that usually tries to pick up both sides,'' Seattle running back and special teams captain Leon Washington said. ''... All of it works together with each other and I'll be the first one to tell you that special teams hasn't done their part like we usually do.''
Carroll hopes that improvements running the ball against Dallas will bring that needed consistency to the offense. Last Sunday was the first time all season Seattle had at least 30 rushing attempts and the third time it had more than 100 yards on the ground this season.
''We have to throw the football, we know that. But it all starts with attitude and with the commitment to the running game,'' Carroll said. ''It's taken us this long to see the kind of results that we needed to finally see in two of the last four weeks. So there's still not consistency there, but it's the heart of good football in our approach.''
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