Seahawks Notebook | Big plays add to big points allowed
There is one big reason why Seattle is allowing 7. 5 points more this season than a year ago, the largest increase of any team in the league...
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — There is one big reason why Seattle is allowing 7.5 points more this season than a year ago, the largest increase of any team in the league.
Well, it's a bunch of big reasons, actually, because big plays go a long way toward explaining what has happened.
Seattle has allowed 15 plays of more than 35 yards this season, an increase of 50 percent over a year ago when the Seahawks gave up 10 such plays over the first 10 games. The Seahawks have given up four touchdowns of 35 yards or more compared with two touchdowns of that length in the first 10 games last season.
So why has a defense that was rebuilt in 2007 to stop being so vulnerable on the back end been beaten deep so much this season?
"We've given up some because of size problems," coach Mike Holmgren said. "We have a couple guys in the secondary that are try-hard guys, and they're good players, they're just small and they've been victimized a little bit by that."
Seattle began the season with 180-pound Kelly Jennings starting at right cornerback, and 5-9 Josh Wilson assumed the starting role in October.
The second factor Holmgren cited is Seattle's pass rush hasn't been as effective this season. The Seahawks have 24 sacks, which is tied for ninth in the league, but 13 of those sacks were amassed in two games against the 49ers.
That lack of a consistent pass rush has prompted the Seahawks to blitz more often than in the past, and that has left Seattle's secondary even more vulnerable.
"The irony there is that we sometimes have been criticized for not blitzing enough," Holmgren said. "My feeling is that this year, we've been hurt a lot more than we've been helped by doing that because we've been in a lot of one-on-one situations and really they've converted against us."
Matt Hasselbeck returned to practice Thursday, recovered from Sunday's loss to Arizona when he was so exhausted and dehydrated he required intravenous fluids afterward.
"I don't know if I've ever had a game that I've felt that bad afterward," Hasselbeck said. "It was a tough one."
Hasselbeck passed for 170 yards in the game and scrambled for two first downs, but Seattle twice had the ball in the fourth quarter trailing by six points and Hasselbeck didn't complete a pass on either drive. He was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the first play of Seattle's final drive.
"My body just quit," Hasselbeck said. "It just had had enough. And that's disappointing because as a player, you just feel like you really let everybody down."
Hasselbeck did not practice Wednesday, resting because of what Holmgren characterized as a sore back. Hasselbeck said he's recovered and ready to play Sunday against Washington.
Defensive end Brandon Miller is from Colquitt, Ga., a town with a population of about 2,000 people. He went to college at Georgia and signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent.
On Wednesday, he took the longest plane flight of his life, landing in Seattle after the Seahawks claimed him off waivers from the Falcons. Miller, 6-4 and 259 pounds, was signed to the 53-man roster to replace Patrick Kerney, who was placed on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury.
"I was just going to keep on working hard, wherever I was," Miller said. "And thankfully, Seattle came and picked me up."
Miller was on Atlanta's practice squad the first 10 weeks of the season. He was active for last week's game against Denver, but was released earlier this week to make room on the Falcons' roster.
Denver, Green Bay and Houston also submitted waiver claims on Miller, according to ESPN.com. Seattle was able to claim him because its 2-8 record put it first in line.
• RB Shaun Alexander may not be active for Washington on Sunday. He is the third-string running back but does not play special teams, so he may not be in uniform.
• CB Josh Wilson and WR Koren Robinson returned to practice. Wilson was back after an injury to his lower leg, Robinson after his customary day off on Wednesday. DT Red Bryant (ankle) was not on the field for practice.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Seahawks allowed fewer points than all but eight teams last season, but the Seahawks suffered the largest decline in scoring differential this season and they've allowed more points than all but six teams:|
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