After what felt like the longest week ever between football games, it was great to see the Seahawks back on the field. Earl Thomas and the rest of the Seahawks defense must have been going through withdrawals over the break, because they looked like they needed to hit some guys – and they did.
It was a good thing they had that desire, because they were on the field for nearly two-thirds of the game. It was the performance by the defense that allowed the Seahawks to pull off the 14-9 victory on the road in St. Louis on Monday Night Football.
Fittingly, the game ended with the Seahawks defense on the field, the ball sailing over the head of a Rams receiver on fourth down as time expired.
If you give credit to the Seahawks defense, a little bit of the credit should go to some questionable play calling and plays by the Rams. The defense played great and Thomas played outstanding, but there was a little bit of luck involved in this win as well.
Rams fans must be fuming at the idea that throwing a fade route at Brandon Browner on the final play of the game was somehow a good idea. Personally, I’m really glad they tried, and against most teams throwing to a 6’ 3” Brian Quick might work. But Browner is the bigger of the two guys in that situation, so why not go with a mismatch?
Then you have Kellen Clemens, who despite throwing two interceptions had his team in position to win at the end of the game. Even early in the fourth quarter, down 14-6, he had them in position to get right back in the game. With a little more composure, perhaps they don’t even need a touchdown on the final play.
After a Browner holding call on 3rd-and-16 gave the Rams new life, Clemens ended up with 1st-and-goal on the 6-yard line. On second down, after running ahead for three yards, Clemens has a clear chance to run the ball in untouched and instead throws it out of the back of the end zone.
On the next play, Walter Thurmond sacks Clemens for a 6-yard loss and fortunately the Seahawks hold the Rams to a field goal and keep a 5-point lead. The importance of that lead is magnified after the next drive puts the Rams in field goal range and kicker Greg Zuerlein misses from 50 yards out.
If the Rams capitalize there, or if Clemens would have managed to walk in from three yards on the earlier drive, we aren’t talking about the Seahawks being 7-1 on the season and 4-1 on the road.
Because I’m delaying talking about the biggest reason why this game was so close, it’s kind of a strange feeling to be critical of a team that is getting wins on the road. Before the season started, would you have even cared how the team won on the road if you knew they would come out with a 4-1 record away from CenturyLink in the first half of the season?
The fact is that even with an offensive line that got manhandled by the Rams, Seattle still gutted out a win. It’s really impressive that Wilson, after fumbling so many times in Arizona, was able to hold on to the football and make smart decisions with the ball.
Sure it matters that many of us were wondering if lawn furniture scattered about the field after a strong windstorm would have provided more protection for Wilson, but again I go back to that 4-1 road record. Wins fix everything.
Fortunately, the next three games are against teams with a below average pass rush. Seattle has the Buccaneers at home, Falcons on the road, and back home against the Vikings. After that the Seahawks have a bye week before taking on the New Orleans Saints and by then, if all goes well, they’ll be back to full strength on the line.
Speaking of the Falcons, the Cardinals’ defensive line did about the same thing to Atlanta’s offensive line on Sunday that the Rams did to Seattle. Fortunately, our Seahawks have a quarterback in Wilson that can overcome a struggling offensive line – the Falcons have Matt Ryan and are 2-5 right now.
Finally, and I can’t believe it’s taken this long to get to Golden Tate, I think we should congratulate number 81 for a wonderful touchdown grab. Without his 80-yard touchdown, the Seahawks might not have gotten more than 100 yards on offense.
I don’t know where everyone else comes out on his 25-yard wave that invited a flag for taunting, but after listening to what Steve Smith had to say about Janoris Jenkins last week I’m guessing it was well deserved. The good part about all of it was the penalty didn’t really have an impact on the game.
Tate accounted for both touchdowns by Seattle, the first gave the Seahawks a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. Richard Sherman’s fourth interception of the season put Seattle on the Rams 26-yard line. A 17-yard run by Wilson, and a Rams attempt at the most penalties on one play helped set up the touchdown by Tate who finished the game with five catches for 93 yards.
Well, Seahawks fans, once again I’ll say our team is 7-1 at the midpoint of the season. Five of the games in the second half are played at home. If Wilson keeps his victory streak alive at home and only gets one more win on the road, then the Seahawks earn a 13-3 record.
At this point, it’s tough to look at the schedule in the second half and predict anything less than a 6-2 record. The Saints might be the only team in the way of a potential lock on home field advantage, so the closer we get to the next Monday Night Football game, the bigger that game is going to be.
That’s right. November isn’t even here yet, and I’m already looking forward to December. I’ll leave that “one game at a time” stuff to the coaches and players.