Let's say it again, all together now: We will not complain about ugly wins. We will not complain about ugly wins. We will not complain about ugly wins....

No. We won't "complain," as such. "Notice," though? "Point out"? "Express gratitude for the wins but still reserve some concern that once again we're seeing a strong early start that's based more on smoke and mirrors than on the actual strength of our team and thus some deep-seated worry that once again the roof is going to cave in any minute and we'll once again end up getting completely wasted in a haze of drunken despair every Sunday night for three months straight"?

Yeah, we might still do that.

Let's start with the pretty parts, though, and there were certainly a few. First, again, was the defense. The pass-rush was a little spotty, but the rush defense (66 yards) and the pass-coverage (a quiet 224) were just outstanding. More importantly, we held a pretty good offense to just 10 points, and none in the second half.

What's most intriguing about this defense, though, isn't found in the numbers. After years of watching a passive, safe, bend-but-don't-break unit that'd do just well enough to get you beat, we're finally seeing a defense with attitude. These guys attack. They fly to the ball. And most obviously, they hit. There were long stretches of this game where the Seahawks looked like they simply had no idea what to do. They couldn't run, they couldn't throw; it looked like our defense was actually sapping their will. That was truly inspiring, and a real cause for hope.

Even on the offensive side, there was some really good stuff. Needless to say, Frank Gore's homers were the primary highlight. (Anyone else out there reminded of John Taylor against the Rams?) We racked up 400 gross yards. We committed no turnovers. And we controlled the ball for more than 34 minutes.

On the whole, what's really striking about this game is that from start to finish it seemed like we were in total command. Sure, there were some ebbs and flows. But not for one minute did I sense in the slightest that we were in danger of losing. For the first time in a while, we were simply dominant, and that was a feeling both welcome and gratifying.

But we should be getting used to this by now, right? Winning, that is. In case you've lost track, that's seven wins in our last nine games. If we could go seven-and-two this season, we'd throw ourselves a friggin' parade. Yeah, some of those wins were more convincing than others, but in the end it's about winning, period, and by that standard, we're on a helluva roll.

So what is it that's bothering me?

It's the same thing that's bothering many of you. It's this abiding fear that this offense just isn't sustainable. It's this persistent worry, we just can't keep doing this.

Gore had two magnificent runs that produced 159 yards and two touchdowns. They happened twice, so it's not like they were a fluke. But naturally, you can't make "80-yard run" a staple of your playbook. Gore could play another 10 years (and here's hoping he does) and never bust another one again. As the season goes along, we can't depend on homers for either yards or touchdowns.

And Sunday, there was nothing else.

Take those two runs away, and as a team we rushed 27 times for 97 yards, an average of 3.6. Shaun Hill passed 26 times for 144 yards, an average of 5.5. (Let's not even talk about Michael Spurlock's pass, which confirmed yet again that this Wildcat thing needs to end, like right now.) Worse, Hill hooked up with his wide receivers only five times, for only 36 yards. Worse than that, four of those went to Isaac Bruce, the last one going to Arnaz Battle for a single yard. Josh Morgan, our so-called "#1 receiver," was shut out. His season totals? Three for 38. And worse than that? When Gore didn't break one, we were wholly unable to get in the end zone. As dominant as we were, turn those touchdowns into field goals or worse, and all of a sudden...who knows?

I can already hear many of you complaining that I've got no business "taking those two runs away," when those two runs obviously had an impact on our offensive strategy for the rest of the game. Granted, those runs gave us a pretty comfortable (though by no means insurmountable) lead, and we could afford to sit on it a little with our defense as strong as it was. But effective lead-sitting involves consistent running, and you can't let those two runs distract you from the greater truth: we couldn't run consistently, and until we can stretch out the defense a bit, we won't.

This passing game is getting harder and harder to stomach, and what's really disturbing is that it doesn't need just one new part. What I mean is, it's not just Hill. Sure, he's got a below-average arm and an even-worse pocket presence, but he's got enough grit that he'd do just fine if the rest of the pieces would work as they should. Whether it's because he's got coaches who can't quite commit to him, or he's got offensive linemen who can't quite protect him, or he's got wide receivers who can't quite get open (or catch) for him, the problem is systemic. So defenses will continue to stack the line, and despite the occasional 80-yard gallop ("Oh, what a bonanza!"), neither the run nor the pass will consistently work.

But there I go again, bein' a drag. Trust me, I'm thrilled that we're two-and-oh, and two-and-oh in our division. And I'll concede that the thing just feels more legit than it did two years back. But now we're off to Minnesota, to face our toughest test yet, and we'll have to overcome plenty more to get where we wanna be. Is it really possible to win ugly like this, into the playoffs and even beyond?

I can't say I'm not nervous, but I also can't wait to find out.