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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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January 13, 2008 9:33 AM

Season slip, sliding away

Posted by Danny O'Neil

There's still a level of disbelief. Not that the Seahawks lost, but how they lost.

The Seahawks were a big underdog, playing on the road in a playoff round in which the home team wins about four out of every five games.

The disbelief comes over the fact that Seattle held a 14-point lead 4 minutes into the game and still lost by 22 points while the undrafted Ryan Grant ran for 201 yards.

"That boy ran his behind off today," safety Deon Grant said afterward. "I have to take my hat off to him. We knew he was good, but we didn't picture him doing what he did to us on defense."

The question is how did that happen?

Some of that may have been the conditions. Saturday's game could have come with a traction-tire advisory. At least it could have for Seattle. One of the things that was discussed after the game was the difficulty created by those conditions.

"I think if it had any effect at all -- both teams have to play in it -- I think it negated a little bit of our speed on defense," coach Mike Holmgren said. "That's what I would say. If we have to play the game that way, we're a little bit undersized. Again, give credit to the Packers."

So was footing a factor?

"It definitely affected," Grant said. "A few times, I was breaking to the ball and I was sleeping before I even got to the play. At the same time, that's what home-field advantage means."

But footing was not the difference in this game.

"Well, you're playing on the same field. It's the same footing, the same traction, the same visibility for both sides," safety Brian Russell said. "I think that's just an excuse. We didn't execute. We stopped the run pretty darn good all year, and we didn't do that today."

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Posted by Everett fan

10:02 AM, Jan 13, 2008

I thought that GB understood the field conditions better than we did - The poor field hampered speed. Therefore, when they covered our receivers tightly, we could not break away in the poor foooting. Conversely, when we were on defense, we gave their receivers slack, and we had not enough speed to close the gaps.
To repeat, the home field advantage was great.

Posted by Alexander

10:19 AM, Jan 13, 2008

Did anyone watch a football game yesterday, I didn't! Alexander...your the greates!

Posted by Ken Brown

10:53 AM, Jan 13, 2008

Hawks lost because thew Packers had a great game plan to neutralize their speed defense...most runs were delays and screens. AS for the rest of the story stop listing the Super Bowl in Holmgrens list of stats of games won and lost. The Hawks did not lose the superbowl it was taken from them. The people of Seattle need to stop allowing the NFL to get away with this crime and take a stand. Put up a championship banner in the stadium and dare the NFL to take it down. It has been two years and it still hurts we were robbed. Until we win another stadium the crime will hurt. GO Hawks!

Posted by Haws Love Crying

11:00 AM, Jan 13, 2008

All I read is how the refs screwed the Hawks against tha Packers and Hawks fans still bring up the Super Bowl. Get Over It!
How about this, maybe the Packers won because they are clearly the better team. Patrick Kerney padded stats against a weak nfc west.
The Hawks were completely out of their league saturday.

Go Pack Go!fdfd

Posted by Guard Dog

11:08 AM, Jan 13, 2008

It's going to be fun listening to you packers fans boohoo after the 'Boys beat you like you stole something...your not ready...

Posted by Hawks 12th man

11:14 AM, Jan 13, 2008

And we'll be watching from our lame boring rainy city hoping Holmgren doesnt retire wishing we could get our own Brett Favre or a RB who plays hard and only makes $300,000 instead of $7M.

Posted by Hasselbacker

11:17 AM, Jan 13, 2008

I'm a huge Hawks fan but that was men against boys out there. We were completely outclassed. Shaun Alexander is overpaid and useless. Patrick Kerney is overhyped. Lynnwood fan is right, they padded stats and got wins vs a pathetically weak nfc west.

Posted by hawks4eva

11:40 AM, Jan 13, 2008

Can anyone really say that Alexander helps this team in any way shape or form? 28 yards rushing? In an NFL playoff game? He needs to go...fast.
Sad ending to a season with a lot of coulda' and shoulda's, hope the boys come more ready to play next year.

Posted by Terry from Everett

11:49 AM, Jan 13, 2008

Did anyone else notice how Hasselbeck came out in the 2nd half and came out and cried to the refs after every play? I think that got inside his head and affected his performance. Holmgren also jawed at the refs before halftime. I have never seen a team complain about the refs as the Seahawks. Officiating sux, for every team. They cant let it affect their performance on the field. They were clearly up against a better team. End of story.

Posted by murray

1:01 PM, Jan 13, 2008

the fact that an undrafted running back played the way Grant did yest. underscores the fact that signing a running back to a multi-yr./million dollars contract is a waste of team cap resources...good running backs,frankly, are a dime a dozen in college ball,especially where a pass happy team like the Hawks are concerned.Better to have traded Shawn for a draft pick or higher pick and signed more O-line or D-fense.

Posted by TikiBobsHandjobgivver

1:33 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Well said Murray. Lets just hope the Alexanders contract doesnt put them back to the pathetic franchise they were before Holmgren came.

Posted by DaBubba

2:50 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Above everything else it is the responsibility of the players to pull together, to execute, and to not quit; Hawks went 0 for 3.

Posted by Keith C

4:26 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Kearney Overhyped?? Go watch the skins hawks game. How is he overhyped? He played great all season. Tatupu had the best season though. Trufant got better, he needs to bulk up some more though and hit people harder.

I expect a great D next year alond with an Offense to match it. As long as we get a running game back, the hawks will be fine. New Tight end too. The receivers will be amazing.

Posted by GB

5:01 PM, Jan 13, 2008

So much for the Seattle D. Hawks just don't have what it takes to be winners.

Posted by gb2

5:03 PM, Jan 13, 2008

how about those cowgirls?!

Posted by littledogfido

5:45 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Shaun Alexander is the whole problem. He looked like he was auditioning for "Dancing with the Stars." You cannot win in bad weather without a running game, and dancing side to side in the backfield does not constitute a running game. What a joke!!! Who cares about how much he is getting paid, they should have benched him last year. Maurice Morris is better, but he is no spring chicken either. Hopefully they can find a running back in the draft.

Posted by Hawk passion lost 1st half

6:11 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Interesting that NY drove down the field in ~51 sec and scored to end the half to match the
Dallas momentum. Makes you wonder "what if" on the Hawks last possession of the half w/ 26 sec left down 11. They took a knee. The field conditions surely did not improve. NY has a better run game and should do better than Seattle although I expect them to lose in GB. Could be worse Hawk fans....Dallas choked big time at home!!!!

Posted by steve kmetko's fantasy

6:14 PM, Jan 13, 2008

if i hear Holmgren say, "ah geez, ah schucks - we're so undersized.." one more time im gonna puke. so fix it! STOP acquiring pygmy "Moochers" from "Breaking Away" to play cornerback. get some size up front in the D-line that can stuff the run and rush the QB. Kerney is great. Fire Tapp. get a middle linebacker that can not only talk a big game but can PLAY in that big game. Julian Peterson is another paper tiger Chad Brown. get a safety or two that can tackle without leaving their feet. release any wide receiver under 5'3. (thats leaves us with 2 i believe) and finally..hire a D coordinator that isnt mentally deficient.
the motto in the NFL is "ANY GIVEN SUNDAY" well for the Seahawks its, "EVERY $%&#@!* SEASON!"

Posted by purplereign

6:45 PM, Jan 13, 2008

there are some serious changes that need to take place this off season, if holmgren steps down, i hope jason garrett is given serious consideration rather than just handing the job over to mora. there are alot of holes that need to be fixed. running back,offensive line, defensive line, secondary, where do you begin?

Posted by idahohawk

6:57 PM, Jan 13, 2008

The Pack took it to us in terrible conditions for both teams! Alexander must go...he runs with no intensity. I watched Barber for Dallas tonight and despite losing that is how you run! This team desperately needs a tight end, some massive d-line run stoppers and we need to get Seneca off of the bench and start using his numerous skills!
been a hawks fan since I was 4 (1978) and this was one of the harder games to watch go down...I do look forward to next year but their are obvious changes that need to be made! Please front office draft us a running back that RUNS regardless of holes or NOT!!!

Posted by KG

6:59 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Tough day today after the big loss. Reading some of the posts from yesterday, not very shocked how "fans" are quickly jumping off the Seahawks train. Sorry people, we truly have the most bandwagon fans in the nation...

I mean, I agree with some of the sentiment, but to say "we suck" is kind of ridiculous. I do agree, we're not an elite team but we are not far. Our defense was hurt yesterday by the weather because we rely on speed, not strength. That is a problem though that Ruskell has refused to fix. He continues to bring in and draft undersized guys who are fast and high character guys - but you need big guys who can play physical and have that killer instinct. Holmgren has begged for that, but Ruskell continues to refuse to give the coach what he needs to build this team as a SB contender. Ruskell gets too much credit for '05 - the team is very different from then because of his questionable changes.

I also think John Marshall had a poor game plan yesterday - he's not utilizing the strengths of our LB's. There was too much scheme involved trying to confuse Favre, it didn't work. There should have been more blitzes from the LB's to help the undersized D-Line. But man, McCarthy is a lot better coach than I thought - great game plan. Marshall may have to be replaced, this team is spending too much $$$ on this D with bad results on the road.

I'm suprised with some bloggers blaming Holmgren. I don't get that - we had a great offensive game plan but the players did not execute (losing Branch hurt too). I thought Matt played well - but dumb penalties and too many drops. Pollard needs to be replaced tomorrow.

Holmgren has been asking for a TE - another part Ruskell ignores...kind of like he ignored to put a franchise tag on Hutch which is a big need. Left Guard has got to be the first thing we go after in the offseason - Sims is a HUGE disappointment.

But how can we blame Holmgren?! He has developed this team into a winning franchise, we should be BEGGING for him not to retire. Some of you want Mora to replace him?! Um, how did Mora's DB game plan work yesterday?! We are lucky to have Holmgren but ungrateful fans won't get it until he leaves and we never win 5 division championships in a damn row again! Of course we want a SB championship more, but Holmgren at the helm gives us the best opportunity to do that.

Back to the priority list -- the second priority is a tight end. West Coast offense cannot thrive without an effective, reliable TE.

Third priority has got to be a #1 corner. Trufant played great but I still think he's a better #2 corner and Jennings is a true #3 - Greg Jennings abused Kelly yesterday.

I think Shaun needs one more chance - I know people will think I'm an idiot for saying that. But if we can shore up the LG need and Shaun can come in healthy - he should come back to split carries with a more physical back...maybe from the draft, I don't know?

I know we, as Seattle fans, are sick of saying "next year," but man, we got no choice - this is the only hopeful team that can bring home a championship. Time is running out though - hoping Ruskell can make some moves this offseason but he needs to focus on more size and strength because we saw how far speed got us yesterday.

And I cannot say enough, we should beg and plead Holmgren to stay otherwise kiss the yearly playoff runs goodbye.

For next year, GO 'HAWKS!

Posted by no trust in Matt

8:17 PM, Jan 13, 2008

new TE, O line, and QB...trade out Alexander
keep morris and weaver

Posted by sad about the end

8:26 PM, Jan 13, 2008

KG...have you seen a Jets fan...or a Giants Fan
or a Eagles fan, or a...give me a break! If a team does not fulfill its goals then you make changes to a team...it is a business that has a goal of getting to the superbowl...period. The Idea of any sports team is to be competitive and succeed. Fans are allowed to grip about what went wrong.

Posted by 84Hawk

8:50 PM, Jan 13, 2008

i agree with the changes needed kg. not sure what the last guy is talking about since you did name off changes needed to make our team better. fans can gripe but they shouldn't say the team sucks. teams that go to the playoffs do not suck. i'm disappointed by the blowout and we need some changes. i dont think we should give up on our team the way some have but hopefully it was only out of anger. important offseason.

Posted by Jawood

9:34 PM, Jan 13, 2008

The Seahawks are no better than a slightly above average team. They have some holes that need to be addressed for next year. I think they should release Branch, can't count on him to stay healthy. Like to see Green Bay win it. Anyone but the New England Cheaters with they're sour puss coach.

Posted by Steve

11:11 PM, Jan 13, 2008

Horrible...Ugly.... Not sure what else to say. It sucks being on the other side of a 'story book', made for NFL films blow-out. It still pisses me off that sentiment is almost always on the side of the other team: rarely are our hawks the main event. Maybe Brett Favre is a total a-hole, with a penchant for laying off mill workers while doing piles of blow in boarded-up YMCA's... Superbowl XL was written as 'steel town redemption and the send-off of a legend'. This game had another one of these sentimental/emotional storylines..."Young pups with the salt and pepper veteran, a franchise steeped in football tradition..." Ah, geez..Why did we have to show up and laid an egg? Ugh, that game was painful.
As for next year, it's pretty apparent that our some of our hawks need to 'graduate' and move on. If we field the same team next year, we'll likely lose the NFC West to the Cardinals, miss the playoffs and fall into two or three 'rebuilding' years. I'd like to see Holmgren...'Even the 'Hasselpass' offense...back next year. However, we're getting old and need to make some tough decisions. If Holmgren comes back and we field the same team, the likely result is 8-8 at best, followed Holmgren's exit. This loss really sucks, as did the N. Orleans game... The Hawks are a better than they played far too often: win 'or' lose. However, this Hawks was simply too inconsistent to make it out of the NFC 'woods' and into the limelight as a real contender. We need an 'overhaul'. I don't want to see the Hawks become the Melvin-Hargrove era M's.

Posted by HawksForever

6:05 AM, Jan 14, 2008

"Fans are allowed to grip about what went wrong."
___________________________

True enough. BUT... 90 + % of comments here are ignorant and not well thought out AT ALL .
They are based on heat of the moment anger, and do not fully realize EVERY factor that went into this or any other loss.

Posted by obluii

6:41 AM, Jan 14, 2008

Inclement weather is an equalizer. The Seahawks were lucky the weather was bad or they would have had two less touchdowns and the Packers three more.

Brett Favre made Holmgren look good when he was with Green Bay and now he made the coach look bad with that imitation quarterback. Holmgren is just an average coach and Hasselback is just an average quarterback. A playoff losing combination.

Say what you will, but a good team with a weak coach and a weak quarterback, will not beat a weak team with a good coach and a good quarterback. Thatís football 101.

Go Pack!

Obluii

Posted by RSF

8:54 AM, Jan 14, 2008

I agree with the comments by KG re: what needs to be done. This loss really underscores how despirately we need a "John Madden" type guy in the middle. Tubbs is that type, but who knows how many more times he will play as a Seahawk. We need someone else who can stuff the run up the gut or occupy 2 o-lineman in order to free up our LB's more. I think the opp's o-lineman are able to get to the second level and block our LB's because there is no one on the d-line who needs to be double blocked. I am also not sold on Peterson - he seems to disappear in big games. I think Tatupu is a solid playmaker and I really think Leroy Hill is underappreciated. The corners are YOUNG. Trufant may not be a #1, but he improved over last yr. I agree that we need a veteran corner presence (I think a #2 would suffice).

The O-line is a big problem. Jones is aging quickly and Gray may retire. Locklear is a FA, and neither Sims nor Womack has stepped it up. I hope that we go after Faneca as our #1 FA priority and draft some o-lineman as well. We need an upgrade at TE and to draft a RB with a little power and speed, and a N-S running style. I have no idea what to do with Alexander as I'm sure cutting him will hurt our cap numbers significantly.

Another thing that I haven't seen mentioned are the woeful kickoffs by Josh Brown and the terrible kick coverage. Teams routinely start at their own 30 against the Hawks. I would really love to see stats on avg drive start following KO, I bet we are near the bottom of the league. Additionally, Plackemeier stunk most of the yr and those 2 things cost us significant field position throughout the yr.

Posted by Scott

9:08 AM, Jan 14, 2008

The game was what it was... I know it sounds like a copout but I have to say, I knew in the second quarter we were out of it as long as the snow stuck... I was watching the linebackers slidding around awkwardly trying to get into position and I knew where it was going. People don't realize, weather like that doesn't effect the offense the same way because their movements aren't based on reaction - they're scripted. It may slow them down but it doesn't give them the same disadvantage. When you take a defense built for speed and neutralize it, then you're going to see this kind of thing. In short, I would say let's be thankful for what we DID have, and not spend too much time lamenting what we DIDN'T have! I enjoyed the season and am proud of the Hawks.

Posted by Everett fan

10:02 AM, Jan 14, 2008

Scott - thanks for your good insights.
H'4Ever (6:05) Actually, most of these posts were calm and deliberated - are you still bummed out? PS "gripe" means to complain; "grip" means to hold tightly.
obluii (6:41) you have it bass ackwards - the weather was a huge advantage depending on style of play, as mentioned several times on this thread. Go back to GB where you belong and try to upgrade to FB 201, 301, 401 next year. Actually, you should try History 101, because you know nothing about it. Without Holmgren, Farve would be selling big Mac's along with you.

Posted by flybait

10:21 AM, Jan 14, 2008

I wish we could have made it to the Superbowl it would have been a home game for us, I think that GB exposed our every weakness of which we maintained all season. They won it fair and square and we didnt lay the goose egg that the Colts and Cowboys did this year!!!
I hope holmgren stays, shuan gets some o-line support and hacket is our wide reciever next year, i wish Trufant could stay but like he said its about the business (money) and we aint going to give it cause shaun got it all, i hope to see a new fresh tight end next year and plackemeyer go some where else!
Seahawks; thanks for the wonderfully weird season it truely was, i hope for the best next season and will hold my breath through April to see what changes are made. I expect to see a tougher division next year, therefor i want to see a even tougher Seahawks Team.

Thanks again and GO HAWKS!!!!!!

Posted by Fan of Mediocrity

11:07 AM, Jan 14, 2008

Holmgrens inability to get his team 'up' and ready to play GB is inexcusable, unacceptable and an embarrassment to the team, the coaching staff and the fans. It is time for Mike to retire, move on whatever.

With 4 pro bowlers on the defense, a much better than average QB and a pretty good corps of recievers (if we count out the TE and alway hurt D. Branch), there is absolutely no way that team should have gotten blown out of the sky in the fashion they did. Except of course for the coaching inequality.

Posted by mkast201

12:00 PM, Jan 14, 2008

"Without Holmgren, Farve would be selling big Mac's along with you."

Look at that statement.
Farve is going to the NFC Championship game!
Holmgren is going... going... going to Mickey D's for a Big Mac!
Talk about SOUR GRAPES!

Posted by Mike

11:34 AM, Jan 18, 2008

"we truly have the most bandwagon fans in the nation..."

Not really surprised that in an extreme liberal city (where not winning all the time is a dereliction of duty, losses are met with kneejerk reactions instead of well-thought out reasons why things happened, despite their stance as 'progressives' there's no such thing as progression) that that's the case

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