Bengals used the Seattle script to perfection

Updated: October 28, 2003, 8:41 AM ET
ESPN

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Looks like the cleat finally was on the other foot for the Seattle Seahawks.

In Sunday's 27-24 loss at Cincinnati, Seattle's aggressive defense let another team read from the Seahawks' script. The Bengals forced five turnovers -- three interceptions and two fumbles -- without committing any of their own.

"Give them credit," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Monday. "They took advantage of it and they won."

It was exactly the style of play Seattle (5-2) had used in building the franchise's best start. But instead of the Seahawks pulling out another late victory, as they'd done three times earlier, Cincinnati held on.

Turnovers are huge at any level of football. In their five victories, the Seahawks have forced 12 turnovers. In their two losses, they've committed seven.

"When you don't get them, you're probably not playing or doing something in some area that you did previously, like pressuring the quarterback, tackling well or swarming to the ball to cause the turnovers," Holmgren said.

Despite the miscues, the Seahawks were in position to win.

Trailing 27-24 with under six minutes to play, Matt Hasselbeck twice had passes tipped by Cincinnati defenders and turned into interceptions. Seattle was driving near the Bengals' 30-yard line in both instances.

"It's just a freak thing," Hasselbeck said. "You're going to get maybe 10 batted balls like that during the season. We got two in the fourth quarter and both ended up as interceptions.

"It's really disappointing, but I don't know what else you can do about it."

The Seahawks rolled to 468 total yards, converting 8-of-14 third downs for their best rate of the season -- 57 percent. All of those successes meant little when measured against the five turnovers.

Did the law of averages catch up with the Seahawks?

Holmgren didn't think so.

"I'm not going to say those things even out," he said. "Good teams are going to win most of their games. You're going to win more if you prepare and you learn how to win those close games."

Changes are pending for this week's game against Pittsburgh (2-5).

Seattle's overhauled and improved defense allowed a season-high 412 yards. The Seahawks gave up 101 yards rushing to an unheralded back, Rudi Johnson, who stepped in when regular starter Corey Dillon was sidelined by a car crash.

Holmgren plans to shuffle the defensive front, seeking the best mix of men to stop the run and force pressure in passing situations.

"In run defense, you always care about fits," Holmgren said. "Guys are responsible for gaps and different positions on the line. When that discipline breaks down, as it has in the past around here, then we've got to fix it."

Defensive tackle Norman Hand has been slowed by a persistent turf toe injury, and his spot could be filled by improving Cedric Woodard or rookie Rashad Moore. Lamar King might return this week after offseason knee surgery.

Things will be sorted out this week in practice.

"Everyone's had their tryout. Let's settle in and see who can play," Holmgren said.

Second-year linebacker D.D. Lewis will get more playing time after making seven tackles in Cincinnati as a late replacement for Chad Brown, who should return from a foot injury.

Holmgren also is considering moving Antonio Cochran from left to right end.

"Whatever it takes," Cochran said. "They told us when they came in: If you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, we're going to make changes."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index