Many pundits and sport shows said the Los Angeles Rams were going to come into CenturyLink Field and destroy the Seattle Seahawks. There were not that many optimistic fans this past week, either. I heard so much about how LA is far and away the best team in the league and is in a different class than Seattle.
Well, the Seahawks showed they can still play with anybody. Even in a down year like last year, Seattle still beat the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles convincingly. The Seahawks should not be counted out of games, especially when they are at home.
So, what did we learn from this game?
The run game is for real
Seattle has three straight games with a 100-yard rusher. It has not had that type of consistency in years. Mike Davis and Chris Carson are running very well right now, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is showing a commitment to the run game.
The offensive line is starting to come together as well and is really giving a good push at the line of scrimmage on running plays.
There were several plays against the Rams where neither Carson nor Davis were touched until they were yards past the line of scrimmage, which we have not seen that much of the past few years.
Russell Wilson doesn’t have to do everything
This goes hand in hand with the successful running game. Wilson does not have to carry the entire offense anymore. He showed against the Rams that even with limited attempts—only 21—he can still be very effective.
Wilson ended the game with 198 yards, no picks, three touchdowns and a 132.5 quarterback rating. Many of his big plays came off play action too, and this stems directly from how dominant the running game was.
Wilson was also only sacked two times against the Rams, which is probably the fewest number of sacks they have had against Wilson since Aaron Donald came into the league. The running game slowed the pass rush immensely and gave Wilson extra time in the pocket.
I also think the two sacks were not the offensive line’s fault. One of the sacks came when Ndamukong Suh was lined up against Nick Vannett one-on-one, which is one of the biggest mismatches in the game—the other Wilson scrambled into because he got jumpy in a clean pocket.
The defense is not clutch right now
Anytime you play a team that has as much talent on offense as the Rams, you are going to have some problems. Seattle came out early and made enough plays to keep LA to 17 points in the first half. The Seahawks had two interceptions and some very good run defense to stymie the Rams.
Seattle, however, was keying so much on Todd Gurley that play action was destroying its zone coverage. You could see the linebackers fly toward the line and then start backing up when the team realized it was fooled. This gave the receivers who were running crossing patterns easy catches and yards for the entire game. Watching Gurley also gave them the edge on most of the jet sweeps they ran to the wide receivers, and those yards add up and can be demoralizing plays.
Most depressing of all for the Seahawks was the inability to stop the run at the end of the game to get the ball back to the offense. Tackling was a problem all game but that last drive made it seem as if Seattle was tired. The Seahawks were not getting off blocks like they had been earlier and making plays.