Jim Mora finds faults in Seahawks' blowout of Rams

Brandon Mebane Sacks BulgerJim Mora’s hometown team just won its first game with him as its coach in a rout, in a shutout no less.

Yet Mora still has a list of issues he wants fixed, starting Sunday at San Francisco.

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“Shoot, it’s long,” Mora said Monday, a day after the Seahawks beat St. Louis 28-0 for their biggest opening win since 1998.

The lengthy list is indicative both of how far Seattle has to go to return to NFC West supremacy following its 4-12 flop last season – and of how far the Rams, 2-15 since the start of 2008, have fallen.

The Seahawks’ offense had three turnovers in the first quarter: two interceptions thrown by Matt Hasselbeck, and a fumble by Nate Burleson after a catch.

Mora didn’t like that his defense gave up 109 of its 247 total yards allowed on the Rams’ final two drives. That defense will be without outside linebacker Leroy Hill for at least the next two weeks. Special-teamer Will Herring will start while Hill recovers from a groin injury.

And the special-teams faltered when St. Louis blocked a field goal for an apparent touchdown, before replay officials saved Seattle from a tie game at halftime by calling a penalty for 12 Rams on the field and erasing the score. Mora also did not like the paltry 28 yards Seattle got on four punt returns, two each by Burleson and Justin Forsett, or the 20 yards by Josh Wilson on the lone kickoff return.

“There were a lot of opportunities for us to get better. And we will do that,” Mora said. “I think the most positive thing besides the win … was that we overcame some adversity early, three turnovers in the first quarter. Our defense went out the first three series and in 14 plays (allowed) 7 yards and one first down.

“When you go through a season, you have to able to lean on each other a little bit, because it’s rare really that all three phases of the game are working at the same time at maximum efficiency.”

Almost as rare as a trick play. These new Seahawks used one Sunday. The fact it was still being talked about Monday is a reminder of how former coach Mike Holmgren despised trickery on offense for the last decade in Seattle.

New offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, to whom Mora gives almost full play-calling autonomy, sent Hasselbeck outside as a receiver in the first quarter with backup quarterback Seneca Wallace receiving the snap in a wildcat-like formation. Wallace lateraled across the field to Hasselbeck. Running back Edgerrin James was free down the opposite sidelines but Hasselbeck instead threw short back to Wallace for a 24-yard gain.

The surprised crowd loved it. Hasselbeck wasn’t so thrilled. He said he hadn’t split out as a receiver since his youth league days in Massachusetts.

“It was probably the most nervous I was about anything going into the day, was playing wide receiver,” Hasselbeck said. “I have a new respect for those guys. It’s a little different out there.

“The only thing is we might have to tell the crowd to not get so loud when Seneca comes into the game. That kind of gives it away,” he deadpanned.

Mora loved the play, because it gives the 49ers something else to consider while preparing this week.

“At least make them say that these guys aren’t going to just be vanilla ice cream all the time, they’re going to come up with a wrinkle here and there,” said Mora, who was San Francisco’s defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003. “If a team has to spend an extra hour on some things that you might do, and then you don’t do them, that’s an hour wasted for them.”

Mora is expecting nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month, and center Chris Spencer, who has had a torn quadriceps muscle, to return to practice this week. But the coach does not know if the key linemen will make their season debuts against the 49ers.