Sports

No soaring (or scoring) for these Hawks

Would you believe the season the Seattle Seahawks are having?

When the season started, after three wins out of four preseason games, no one expected Seattle to have two of their top wide receivers injured, then have their starting quarterback suffer a back problem.

The Seattle defense returned every starter, backups were solid and everyone expected the defense could compensate for a lack of offensive punch.

After a 34-10 loss to a good Buffalo team, Seattle lost a 33-30 overtime at home against San Francisco and that was followed by a 37-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

Then the wheels came off. Three straight losses preceded a 34-13 win against a woeful 49er team.

Then it was crash and burn with losses to Philadelphia, Miami, Arizona and Washington, and a big Thanksgiving Day loss to Dallas.

Seattle returns home, where they used to be invincible, to host New England. That doesn't seem winnable and NBC opted not to carry the game as a national telecast, preferring another prime-time game and relegating the Seahawks to regional television.

A trip to St. Louis should result in a win, but then the Jets hit Qwest Field four days before Santa Claus arrives and the team finishes at

Arizona on Dec. 28.

In my humble opinion, Seattle's rather small, fly-around-to-the-ball defense was exposed by the NFC East teams that had bigger offensive lines and Seattle could not stop teams from running.

The Seahawks have given up too many long third-down plays and foes have been successful on 43 percent of third-down efforts. Granted, the Seattle defense has been on the field a lot of the time. Seattle's defense, going into the Dallas game, had been on the field for 129 plays more than the offense.

Translated: With the average number of snaps for each team between 60 and 65, the Seattle defense has been on the field for two more games than the offense and that's because of lack of consistent drives.

On the other side of the third-down line of scrimmage, the Seahawks have been successful only 32 percent of the time and that is the telling stat in professional football.

In the NFL, schedule makers make it tough for winning teams from the year before and Seattle, atop the NFC West a year ago, has had only three games against teams that were sub-.500. They played 10 games against losing teams a year ago and eight in 2006.

A recent article pointed out that Seattle played most teams even, but has been outscored 81-19 in the third period

It's been a long season for coach Mike Holmgren, his last as the leader of the Seattle franchise. Will it be better next year with new coach Jim Mora? At this point, unless they finish stronger than I expect, no.

On the other hand, if they finish strong, maybe a couple of new play-makers, maybe draft a good quarterback with a high draft pick, Seattle can return to where they are used to being, on top of the NFC West.



Wednesday Whirl

Winter prep sports breaks into the picture this weekend. The Sequim boys go to Klahowya to battle the Eagles as Olympic League play opens with a bang. The Sequim girls host the Eagles, with wrestling on tap for Saturday as Sequim and Port Angeles go to Forks.

The P.A. Riders have a new head basketball coach and Art Bell takes his charges to Bremerton Friday, then to Yelm Saturday, while the Rider girls under coach Mike Knowles host Bremerton and Mount Si this weekend.



The 'Did you

know' department

The Seattle Seahawks' Sea Gals has a Port Angeles member. She's Jessica Northern and she's in her second year along the sideline. She was four years on the P.A. Rider dance team, the Rider Angels.

She went to Bellevue Community College and returned to school to finish her degree. Needless to say, Rider Angel leader Jolene Dalton-Gailey is very proud of her alumna.



Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at scooter@olypen.com.

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