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Around the NFC West: Seahawks' kicker

The wind conditions at Candlestick Park were tricky enough for the Seattle Seahawks to require a holder during a kickoff.

For that reason, I was not clear to what degree kicker Steven Hauschka was to blame for the kickoff San Francisco's Ted Ginn Jr. returned 102 yards for a touchdown pivotal to the Seahawks' 33-17 defeat Sunday.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times raises the question in light of the Seahawks' decision to let veteran kicker Olindo Mare walk in free agency. O'Neil: "Would a touchback have won Seattle the game? No. Seattle's defense had to hold, and its offense would have had to score. Besides all that, when the guy brings the ball out from 2 yards deep in the end zone, the coverage should prevent him from running untouched to the end zone. But for a team with so much uncertainty, it's not so crazy to think -- in hindsight -- that Seattle could have put a little more value on the kicker who was a big part of the special teams that was such a solid part of last season's team." Noted: Carolina was the team that stepped up and paid Mare in free agency. Mare kicked off four times against Arizona in the opener. Two went for touchbacks. Two others failed to reach even the 5-yard line, and the Cardinals' dangerous returner, LaRod Stephens-Howling, had returns of 33 and 27 yards. At San Francisco last season, Mare kicked off four times, none for touchbacks. Ginn returned three of them, none for a long return.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says Leon Washington took responsibility for the Seahawks' special-teams issues.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks were generally happy with their defensive effort Sunday, but they needed to force turnovers. Noted: The pass rush didn't get to Alex Smith quickly enough in some cases, but in holding the 49ers to 209 yards, there was little to complain about.

Also from Williams: thoughts on the Seahawks' offensive line and injury notes. Michael Robinson has an ankle sprain. Noted: I saw Robinson leaving the locker room with his lower left leg in a walking boot.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' offense wasn't nearly good enough Sunday. Boling: "If it seemed to viewers as if there was an attitude deficiency across the Seahawks’ offense early in this game, well, they noticed the same thing."