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Originally published October 18, 2009 at 7:00 PM | Page modified October 18, 2009 at 9:31 PM

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Jerry Brewer

For now, Seahawks are nothing more than a bad football team

The Seahawks can't look in the mirror and see a good team with bad luck. They should see a bad team, one you can't depend on from play to play, a garbled group of talented players performing below expectations. Instead of holding onto a more glorious recent past, to the sound play of the Mike Holmgren era, they must admit that they're different now, almost fully dissimilar in personnel and performance. They must find the hunger to forge a new identity rather than gnawing on their old one.

Seattle Times staff columnist

It wasn't just a joke. It was a complete stand-up routine.

The Seahawks allowed Arizona to drive for nearly 11 minutes on the opening possession. On the ensuing kickoff, they failed to recover the football. The score was 14-0 before the offense came onto the field, and on its third play, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fumbled, the Cardinals recovered, and the score was 17-0 before you could scream for help.

It wasn't just a joke. It was improv comedy.

The Seahawks could only claim punter Jon Ryan as a bright spot. A pass nailed tight end John Carlson in the helmet. The run game produced 14 stinkin' yards.

It wasn't just a joke. It was a full-fledged roast, a relentless punch-line assault on a punchless, pathetic, plummeting football team.

There are many adjectives you can use to describe what the Seahawks are right now. Coach Jim Mora's favorite: inconsistent. Mine: bad.

Count the ways the Seahawks turned opportunity into embarrassment Sunday at Qwest Field. Bad punt returns, bad punt return coverage, bad pass protection, bad blocking in general, bad matchups with the NFL's best receiving corps, bad execution, bad coaching — bad, bad, bad.

Hit me one more time. Bad.

OK, again. Bad.

The Seahawks used to be hip-hop music. Now they're a tired, old blues song.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that this one was especially difficult," Mora said after Arizona thwacked his team 27-3 in a game that could've been much worse. "This was a big game for us. We felt like we have a chance to get to 3-3 at the bye, but it didn't happen, so we have to figure out why. We have to set our jaw and go back to work, and that's what we'll do. We'll see what happens."

Mora is a man looking into a hole and trying to see the bottom. He's doing his best to keep this team together and focused, and you have to commend his determination. Because of injuries and a transitioning roster, the Seahawks aren't the ideal team to take over and implement fresh ideas, but the new coaching staff has done enough to create a winning atmosphere this season.

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Nevertheless, the Seahawks enter their bye week with a 2-4 record and without star linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who suffered a season-ending pectoral muscle injury Sunday. Over their past 22 games, the franchise has an awful 6-16 mark. The Seahawks are in a rut they can't escape.

Did you think better times were ahead after a 41-0 victory over Jacksonville last week? That win only led to a humiliating regression. So the Seahawks need to be honest with themselves.

They can't look in the mirror and see a good team with bad luck. They should see a bad team, one you can't depend on from play to play, a garbled group of talented players performing below expectations. Instead of holding onto a more glorious recent past, to the sound play of the Mike Holmgren era, they must admit that they're different now, almost fully dissimilar in personnel and performance. They must find the hunger to forge a new identity rather than gnawing on their old one.

"At some point, we're going to have to create something new," wide receiver Nate Burleson agreed. "We understand our past, and we're thankful for that. But it isn't who we are now. We've got to establish something for 2009, for 2010. We're not the king of the hill, and everybody's chasing us."

No, the Seahawks are paupers again. They need to play like no one respects them anymore. They need to ignore their calamities. They need to get mad and stay mad.

Of course, that won't cure all their problems. The NFL is much more sophisticated than that. They'll need better health and major fine-tuning to turn around this season. But it would be nice to see this team show an edge, play with an edge, and play the rest of the year with a kind of we've-had-enough attitude.

Forget about a return to the playoffs for now. Start with a return to pride. Start with refusing to be manhandled. The wishy-washy Seahawks need to be exterminated ASAP.

"Some weeks, we play well," said Hasselbeck, who was sacked five times, hurried often and completed only 10 of 29 passes. "Some weeks, we don't. You don't know which team is going to show up."

Well, then redirection must begin by focusing on which team won't show up. The one we saw Sunday. The inconsistent team. The bad team. The joke.

There's nothing funny about being a football jester. You heard the boos at Qwest Field. The silliness must stop now.

Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or jbrewer@seattletimes.com, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer

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Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
jbrewer@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2277

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