Seattle's pass game struggling despite 7-1 start
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RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Even before the news came out that Sidney Rice was done for the season with a knee injury, the Seattle Seahawks knew their offense could not play much worse.
Rice's absence is just another obstacle for the Seahawks to overcome as they try to bring life to an offense and a passing game that was already struggling due to poor protection for quarterback Russell Wilson.
''It's kind of hard to talk about it without saying too much. Offensively we were very disappointed,'' Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. ''We left a lot of plays out on the field. We didn't execute some of the things we're known for executing. It wasn't us. Honestly, we were embarrassed by it, especially on Monday night.''
Seattle's 14-9 win over St. Louis last Monday was about as bad as it could get and still have a good outcome. The performance was an eyesore offensively where many of the Seahawks' flaws were exposed.
Wilson was swarmed by the Rams' pass rush, getting sacked seven times and hit another 10. Of Wilson's 139 yards passing, 80 came on one play, his long touchdown toss to Golden Tate that proved to be the game-winner. There was no running game either, and the Seahawks finished with just 135 yards of total offense.
If the lackluster showing wasn't bad enough, then came the news that Rice has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the year. Rice's absence will mean more opportunities for Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Golden Tate. Baldwin and Kearse are expected to split the reps at Rice's position.
''It is kind of hard to replace Sidney Rice because he knows the entire offense and he does a lot of things we can't replicate,'' Baldwin said. ''So we're going to try and fill his role as best we can.''
The Seahawks passing game could get a boost from the return of Percy Harvin, but coach Pete Carroll sounded less optimistic Wednesday about the return of his newest offensive weapon. Harvin did not participate in practice Wednesday and Carroll said his return remained a day-to-day process as he recovers from hip surgery.
''He didn't do a whole lot last week, he did very little, but it seems like it's best to keep him in that mode a little longer,'' Carroll said.
Rice was not a major part of the Seahawks passing game this season with only 15 receptions and three touchdowns. But he was Seattle's biggest receiver at 6-foot-4 and in the past had shown the ability to use his body in the air to make receptions. Seattle's tallest receiver now is Kearse at 6-foot-1.
''I think we're mature enough that we're ready to do that. We're ready for more of a load,'' Tate said. ''We can handle that and this is what we've been waiting for - not an injury obviously - but we've been waiting to get more balls and be more involved with the offense and I think that's what's going to happen with us.''
While Tate and the other receivers said they could do a better job helping their quarterback by working to get open quicker, many of Seattle's problems have come on the offensive line. Seattle has given up 10 sacks and Wilson was hit another 19 times combined the last two weeks.
The amount of pressure has limited Wilson's time to find receivers down field. Center Max Unger said the pressure has been unacceptable.
''It's just (missed assignments),'' Unger said. ''Physically we can get beat, but it's missed assignments. And we definitely got beat here and there, but it's the missed assignments that are really killing us.''
Even with the struggles on the line, Carroll said Seattle is not planning any changes until starters Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung are ready to return. Okung is eligible to start practicing again later this week but cannot return until Week 11. Carroll said Giacomini is unlikely to return this week but could be ''active in what is going on'' next week.
''We're still trying to grow and do as well as we can with these guys,'' Carroll said.
Notes: Seattle officially placed Rice on injured reserve and signed WR Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad on Wednesday. ... RB Marshawn Lynch (knee) G J.R. Sweezy (elbow) and DE Michael Bennett (illness) were among the starters who did not practice on Wednesday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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