It appeared that the Seattle Seahawks were poised to continue the momentum from last season’s unexpected run against a Rams team that had more questions than answers.
Instead, reality struck the Seattle Seahawks like a roundhouse kick to the face in the second half. After a promising 1st half that resulted in a 13-7 halftime lead, the 2nd half was a horror show. The Seattle Seahawks lost both Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross to injuries.
The Rams would score 23 unanswered points in the second half, while the Seahawks were so inept on offense that they did not make it into Rams territory once. Overall, the Seahawks ran 14 offensive plays in the second half for just 12 yards. This was the worst second-half total yardage by an NFL team since 1991.
Overall, the Los Angeles Rams ran 32 more plays and outgained the Seattle Seahawks 426 to 180. They nearly doubled the Seahawks regarding time of possession.
In Week 2, the Seattle Seahawks head into another tough battle with the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks have quite a few things that they need to straighten out. Here are the three most important things that they must fix as soon as possible.
1. Improve on third-down conversions.
A key point of emphasis for the Seattle Seahawks during this off-season was to improve their execution on third down. In the lead-up to the game against the Rams, Geno Smith indicated that the team’s desired identity is to “score points.” An essential part of living up to that identity was to improve on extending drives by converting on third downs. While the Seahawks were above average in most statistical offensive categories last year, they were 20th in the league in third down conversion percentage. Specifically, the Seahawks were just 33 for 57 on third down conversion opportunities between 1-3 yards.
This problem would rear its ugly head again as the Seattle Seahawks were just 2 for 9 on third downs against the Rams on Sunday. Given how the offense performed, this weakness will look more and more glaring if not dealt with. If I were running practice this week, I would spend much time working on third-down scenarios with the starting offense.
If the offense fails to extend drives by converting on third downs, this will mean that there will be a greater dependence on the Seattle defense. And as we saw on Sunday, the Seattle defense has enough problems.
2. A better game plan for limiting third-down efficiency of opponents.
A perfect storm may be brewing against the Seahawks with regard to situational football. In addition to the lack of third-down efficiency on offense, the Seahawks’ defense could not get off the field in third-down situations. If these two weaknesses continue to linger, the Seattle Seahawks will be prone to losing the time of possession battle quite a lot during the season.
The Rams were 11 for 17 in third-down situations overall. They were 9 for 12 on third downs in the second half. The Seahawks failed to generate an effective pass rush on Sunday, and Stafford made them pay for it.
Given how the secondary performed on Sunday, Pete Carroll must dial up effective defensive schemes to pressure the quarterback on third down.
3. Seattle’s secondary HAS to wake up.
While some may say that Seattle’s brutal performance in the secondary was affected by the absence of Jamal Adams and Devon Witherspoon, there was no excuse because the Rams were without All-Pro WR Cooper Kupp. The combination of Tre Brown, Mike Jackson, and Julian Love should have been enough to fill the void. However, they did not.
Based on the number of missed tackles by Seattle’s secondary on Sunday, Seattle’s cornerbacks and safeties may need to watch tackling tutorial videos before next Sunday’s game against the Lions. Whenever the Rams lined up in trips bunch sets, their receivers were able to get separation constantly due to the rampant miscommunication amongst the Seattle secondary.
Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson is one of the brightest offensive minds in the league. He brings a solid and hungry receiving corps spearheaded by Amon-Ra St. Brown. Marvin Jones and Josh Reynolds will be motivated to deliver top-notch performances as both men are battling to see who the #2 option will be without the suspended Jameson Williams. They will make a lot of noise if the Seattle secondary delivers another poor performance.
The secondary should get a boost as Jamal Adams returned to practice this week. His presence should serve to limit any miscommunication in the secondary. However, the rest of the secondary must elevate their level of play. Some tough love in the film room may be necessary.