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Originally published November 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Page modified November 1, 2009 at 10:01 PM

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Jerry Brewer

Maddening performances have become the norm for Seahawks

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Seahawks 38-17 on Sunday, and, well, was anyone outside of the Seattle locker room surprised?

Seattle Times staff columnist

ARLINGTON, Texas — Another fruitless drive had stalled early in the third quarter, and Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh barged off the field, huffing and hollering. On the sideline, his tantrum grew louder and more animated, so much so that receivers coach Robert Prince ventured over to calm him.

The moment epitomized the latest aggravating Seahawks defeat, and upon first glance, it seemed to be the match that would light a true throw-me-the-ball controversy. Only it wasn't. Houshmandzadeh wasn't mad solely because he didn't get the pigskin. He was just mad, period.

Helplessly mad. Story of the Seahawks' season.

"I was talking to nobody," Houshmandzadeh said. "I was talking out loud to whoever wanted to listen."

Few listened. The rest of his teammates and coaches were lost in their own annoyances.

"He needs to get in line," coach Jim Mora said when asked about his star receiver's level of irritation. "We're all frustrated."

For all the pride the Seahawks have, for all their disappointment in themselves and their earnest desire to be a winner again, they're left to talk about change that has yet to come and won't come easily, either. They're left to stew over a 2-5 record. They're left to stomp about another romp, with no clear resolution to their predicament in sight.

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Seahawks 38-17 on Sunday, and, well, was anyone outside of the Seattle locker room surprised? You knew the Seahawks weren't equipped to win this game, even after a bye week. They're too inconsistent, too injured and at times too inept. Expectations for this team have gone from preseason hopes for the playoffs to modest wishes that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck won't get killed whenever he drops back to pass.

And here's the most sobering part about this loss: Reflect on it, and considering what you've seen over the past two seasons, this one wasn't that bad. Over the past 23 games (6-17 record), you've seen worse. The Seahawks lost a game by three touchdowns — an indicator of a miserable effort — and you're left clinging to what might have been if cornerback Marcus Trufant hadn't been whistled for three pass-interference penalties, or if Justin Forsett hadn't fumbled to set up Dallas' second touchdown, or if the replay officials had overturned Cowboys receiver Roy Williams' iffy touchdown catch.

The difference between a 2-5 and a 5-2 team? The 2-5 team can neither catch breaks nor overcome mistakes. The 5-2 team, which Dallas is, can capitalize on most every opportunity it gets.

"There are some errors out there that are juvenile errors," Hasselbeck said. "There were things you expect to see in the preseason."

Those errors happened all over the field. The Seahawks missed some easy blocks and missed some easier tackles. They gave up an 82-yard punt-return touchdown to Patrick Crayton. They committed some crazy penalties: 12 men in the huddle, Aaron Curry's offsides penalty immediately after Darryl Tapp's neutral-zone infraction, the pass-interference calls on Trufant.

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Second-year running back Forsett made another bad mistake to go with his fumble. Just before the Seahawks' first possession, he caught a punt at the 5-yard line and gave his team awful field position to begin the game. The Seahawks turned it into a field goal, but Forsett, who grew up in Arlington, was still upset after the game.

"It was tough," Forsett said, shaking his head. "Little mistakes like that we can't have."

Afterward, Mora was calling for accountability. The Seahawks must have it to get out of this rut, he said, and it starts with him. Mora also referenced a quote his old junior high school coach, Bruce Brown, recited to him last week: "Adversity turns weak men into victims and strong men into competitors."

Weak or strong? What will it be, Seahawks?

"We're going to get it," Mora vowed. "OK? We are going to get it. There's no question we're going to get it."

He didn't offer any timetable, however. He'd be lying if he did. At the Taj Ma-Cowboys, the new $1.2 billion playpen of Dallas owner Jerry Jones, the Seahawks fell deeper into their hole Sunday. If they sink any further, they won't even be able to see the smidgen of light they're fixated on currently.

It was another bad day, but did you not see it coming? Before the game, Clay Bennett, the Sonics-napper himself, stood on the sideline and chatted with Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke. Ol' Hands of Clay was right there — in your face — again.

As we know too well, nothing good ever happens to Seattle when he's around.

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.
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