From the sidelines: Seahawks at Cowboys

Posted Nov 8, 2011

Mistakes mar the improvement made on Sunday, and the Seahawks are forced to keep battling through difficulties as they reach the halfway point of 2011.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Eight games into the 2011 campaign, and the story remains much the same for the Seahawks.

Mistakes, penalties and turnovers cost Seattle another game, this time a 23-13 loss to the Cowboys.

“We know how this game goes,” a careworn Coach Pete Carroll told his team to start off his postgame speech. “You make mistakes and give them the football, and they win.

“This wasn’t about fighting or being tough; it was about giving them stuff.”

That “stuff” included three turnovers, 88 yards of penalties and a blocked field goal. The stats were different, but it was same story, different week for the Seahawks.

The tough part about Sunday was that the Seahawks actually did improve in several facets of their attack, most notably in the running game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 135 yards and the team had 162 rushing yards, season highs for both. Unfortunately, Sunday’s upticks were marred by its mistakes.

“You got better today,” Carroll said, “but we have to play right.”

They’re getting better, but it’s not showing up so glaringly just yet. As much solid, long-term improvement as they’ve made this year, they’re not scoring the points or getting the wins that denote true growth and real success. Even though they’ve been in striking distance in the fourth quarter of five of their six losses, they’re still 2-6.

But at some point, something’s going to click. Improved play will line up with clean play, and the victories will start rolling in.

“We’ve got to play better, we’ve got to play right,” Carroll told his players. “We’ve got to hang, because the wins are going to come.”

So the Seahawks reach the halfway point of the 2011 at 2-6, vastly different than what they expected or where they were last season at 4-4. But just as games aren’t measured by their first halves, neither are seasons. The body of work will be the ultimate judge, and the ship can undoubtedly still be righted.

“The first half is over, but nothing can be won or lost in the first half — it’s behind us now,” Carroll said. “Let’s move on from here and keep working and keep getting better. And then all of a sudden, we’ll forget all this and do something we’re all proud of.”

The beleaguered Seahawks march on, not where they want to be but remaining hopeful for where they can ultimately be.

“It’s a challenge; it has to be hard,” Carroll said during his pregame speech on Saturday night at the team’s Ft. Worth hotel. “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it when we make it to where we’re going.”

With those difficulties square in front of them, the Seahawks have reached a crossroads in a sense. Keep competing and keep believing? Or fold up the tent and give up on the journey?

The answer’s obvious for everyone in the Seahawks locker room.

“It’s a chore for us to keep fighting to believe,” Carroll said on Sunday after the loss. “But we must battle on and keep believing.”

Laboring on, believing on, the Seahawks embark into the second half of the 2011 season.