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Originally published December 13, 2009 at 4:56 PM | Page modified December 14, 2009 at 1:19 PM

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Jerry Brewer

No confusion now: Seahawks need to dismantle this team

Before this game, the Seahawks seemed in prime position to play well enough late in the season to shed some doubt over how much change they require. Not anymore.

Seattle Times staff columnist

HOUSTON — In a makeshift interview room under the stands, the song "Takin' Care of Business" blared from the Reliant Stadium speakers and competed with Seahawks coach Jim Mora's frustrated — and frustrating — postgame remarks.

The Seahawks didn't take care of business. The coach fumed, albeit inadequately. And the background tunes provided an awkward comedy to the moment.

In wake of the lowest moment of the Seahawks' season, this is what it's come to: resorting to gallows humor.

There's nothing funny about this team's erratic, ineffectual ways. Yet in between screams, you laugh anyway. You laugh to quell the agony.

Seattle suffered its worst loss of the season Sunday, a mystifying 34-7 dunce cap of a performance, to the middling Houston Texans. The game was over in the first quarter. The inevitability of it became apparent on the first play, a 64-yard touchdown pass to Texans star receiver Andre Johnson. The Texans haven't made the postseason in their eight seasons of existence, but clearly, they're in better shape than the Seahawks right now.

"It's a really pathetic, pitiful performance," Seahawks running back Julius Jones said. "That's just the two words that I can think of that's on the top of my head."

There was a positive, however. Because of this wipeout, the transitioning Seahawks should have no confusion over how much chopping they'll need to do after they hire a new general manager. The whole tree can come down, if need be.

Before this game, the Seahawks seemed in prime position to play well enough late in the season to shed some doubt over how much change they require. Not anymore. They're still closer to the team that lost seven of its first 10 games than the one that claimed consecutive victories before this shameful showing.

"We just fell flat on our face," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "We didn't do what we needed to at all. Not even close. Not even close."

Afterward, Mora was most angry at the offensive line. Of the 63 plays the Seahawks ran, a preposterous 15 of them went for negative yardage. Hasselbeck was sacked three times and was under pressure all game again. Center Chris Spencer, who has a broken right thumb and is snapping the football with his left hand, was part of three botched exchanges.

Mora threatened to make lineup changes and warned his linemen that all five of their jobs are under review. In other words, he gave them the Olindo Mare Special.

Furthermore, for the 93rd time this season, the coach said the entire team will be under more scrutiny this week.

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"It's going to be a microscope, looking at everything," Mora said, doing a little magnifying-glass pantomime for emphasis.

Sherlock Mora is on the case.

The coach was appropriately fired up, but he didn't go far enough. The O-line has been the Seahawks' greatest weakness for three seasons, but in this game, there were other goats, too.

The defense was terrible, especially early. Johnson, the one player the Seahawks had to contain, finished with 11 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Only one of those catches came after halftime. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 336 of his 365 yards in the first half. If the Seahawks offense had kept the game closer, the Texans probably would've amassed 600 yards of total offense. Instead, it let up in the second half.

In addition, the Seahawks special teams allowed the Texans to deflect a punt, and the return game remains nonthreatening. Mora should've criticized every unit the way he did the O-line.

But he didn't want to go that far. The Seahawks, now 1-6 away from Qwest Field, offered another lifeless road performance. Mora refused to question his team's effort, but even if the Seahawks are playing hard, they're not competing with purpose. They have neither grasped nor fully embraced the new offensive and defensive schemes. The coach and his staff must accept some blame for that.

"I'm very discouraged right now," Mora said. "I'm as discouraged now as I've been in any game of my career."

Then, on cue, Mora declared his standard stance. His team would keep "fighting, kicking and scratching and trying to get better."

By then, "Taking Care of Business" had stopped playing, and you could only roll your eyes, humorless, and wallow in disgust.

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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