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Updated Monday, November 5, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Seahawks' defense showing signs of decline

By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Some defeats have a bright side.

The Seahawks' victory over Minnesota on Sunday, however, had an underside.

As encouraging as that game was for Seattle's offense and its rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, it prompted concerns about the defense that was this team's unquestioned strength as recently as four weeks ago.

It wasn't just that Seattle allowed 17 points in the first half, matching the most it has given up before halftime this season. It was more than just the fact that Adrian Peterson rushed for 182 yards, the most by a Seahawks opponent since Pete Carroll became coach.

The biggest problem is that it was a continuation of a decline that began in the second half of Seattle's Week 6 loss at San Francisco, ran through a 28-24 defeat in Detroit and continued Sunday.

"We're seeing a lot of complexities in the last month," Carroll said. "And some of the stuff has been harder for us. We haven't executed as well, and that calls for us to make sure we're really on our stuff."

And for the past couple of weeks, the defense has been off its game.

When San Francisco's Frank Gore rushed for 131 yards against Seattle at Candlestick Park on Oct. 18, the 49ers were credited for their wiliness. They ran a trap repeatedly in the second half, which was responsible for a good number of Gore's 92 yards after halftime.

When Detroit's Matthew Stafford passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns last week, it was chalked up to scheme. The Seahawks had stayed back in the secondary, believing that Stafford would eventually throw downfield instead of constantly settling for short passes.

But after Peterson did everything but leave skid marks as he sped around Seattle's defense during the first half Sunday, it was evident that this was more than just an aberration. Seattle has some issues, and the question is not whether Seattle has an elite defense, but whether it can be fixed.

"To play good run defense, you have to be extraordinarily disciplined," Carroll said. "And at times, we're just getting a little bit out of whack, so we need to fix that. That's what our efforts will be."

Carroll pointed to the second half of Sunday's victory — when Minnesota gained only 59 yards — as proof that his team can rebound.

"We went back to the basics of what we call," Carroll said, "and our guys played better and we executed well, and got ourselves a good half."

Of course, Seattle didn't stop Peterson so much as the Vikings found themselves in a double-digit deficit with 4:09 left in the third quarter and had to start throwing the ball. Peterson carried only five times in the second half, gaining 38 yards on those carries.

There was one sign of progress, though. The offense that was holding Seattle back so often the first month of the season came back from two first-half deficits Sunday and scored a season-high 30 points.

"It's cool to see that the balance is there," Carroll said. "That the offense can pick up when the defense is struggling and give us a chance to get righted, which we did, and then we both took off in the second half."

Notes

• Carroll said there is no decision on activating CB Walter Thurmond, which must be done by Nov. 12, which is 21 days after he began practicing with the team. Thurmond is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and does not count against the 53-man limit on the roster.

• LB K.J. Wright and G James Carpenter are recovering from concussions and being monitored according to the league's procedure for players who suffer brain injuries.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @dannyoneil

On the defensive
Beginning with the second half of Seattle's Week 6 loss in San Francisco, the Seahawks defense has gone from being a wall to resembling a turnstile when it comes to stopping the run:
Seattle defense Quarters played Pts allowed TDs allowed Rush yds per game Rush yds per carry
First 6 1/2 games 26 77 6* 73.5 3.4
Last 2 1/2 games 10 61 7 186.8 6.6
*Does not include TDs scored against Seattle special teams or off turnovers
Sunday

N.Y. Jets @ Seattle

1:05 p.m., Ch. 7


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