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Dave Boling: Seahawks’ ego bruised

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, right, wasn’t satisfied with his effort in preparing his team for the Cowboys. (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, right, wasn’t satisfied with his effort in preparing his team for the Cowboys. (Associated Press)
Dave Boling Tacoma News Tribune

RENTON, Wash. – The football stuff will be the easiest to fix. Getting the Seahawks’ minds right could be the biggest challenge now.

The Seahawks didn’t lose their second game until December last season, so being 3-2 this early is an unaccustomed – and obviously frustrating – situation.

From here, it’s on the coaches to get them headed in the right direction, to funnel the frustration into motivation rather than dissension.

Coach Pete Carroll made it clear Monday as he addressed the 30-23 loss to Dallas that fingers of blame should be directed his way.

“I feel I did not do a good job taking them through this week,” he said of the team’s response to a sloppy win over Washington the previous Monday. “I told them I felt bad that I didn’t get it orchestrated enough that we would clean that stuff up.”

The Seahawks, in some ways, were unrecognizable on Sunday in losing for just the second time at home in 21 games.

The offense has gotten away from the pound-the-ball mentality that led them to success.

On defense, the tackling was erratic as injuries created concerns about depth and manpower.

There is no question that all possibilities remain. The two losses are to 5-1 teams – San Diego and Dallas – and they have beaten 4-1 Denver and 4-2 Green Bay.

They still have all their division games on the docket, and it’s fair to remember that they were 3-2 at this point in the 2005 season when they went to the Super Bowl.

And the talent, definitely, is still there to be a championship team.

But, whoa … they didn’t look much like it at times on Sunday.

Several players talked about the team’s mindset not being what it’s been in the past.

The defense has lived by the motto “fast and physical,” but it wasn’t physical enough to stop running back DeMarco Murray nor fast enough to get to quarterback Tony Romo when he was standing in the pocket.

The offense under Carroll has always been about a bludgeoning, downhill running attack. But through five games, the Hawks are 32 rushing attempts behind last year’s pace, and Marshawn Lynch has 17 fewer carries.

And now they have back-to-back road games, at St. Louis and Carolina. Both have rugged defenses that have caused the Seahawks troubles. Seattle barely beat the Rams twice last season, and have won two consecutive at Carolina, but only scored 12 and 16 points in the process.

“We have to do a better job this week and really zero in; we’re playing a very difficult team in the Rams,” Carroll said. “We just have to get better, and there’s a lot of room for improvement. The coaches are all over that.”

Statistically, the most stunning number is the 99.9 passer rating by opposing quarterbacks, 36 points higher than their effort last season. Yes, they’ve played a string of top-flight quarterbacks, but that’s a marked departure.

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