Jeff Fisher’s Los Angeles Homecoming party must have been pretty big after Sunday’s game. The Rams, notorious for finishing at or around .500 for years, played some of their best defensive and offensive football at the Coliseum. The Seahawks, in Pete Carroll’s first trip there as a head coach facing a team that now plays in a stadium he used to head coach out of, were hampered by poor offensive line play and a high ankle sprain for Russell Wilson.
The nitty gritty details are as follows (and you know, with the Seahawks, the numbers don’t tell enough of the story): Seattle’s Steven Hauschka made one 23-yard field goal in the second quarter. It would be the only points Seattle could manage to put on the board. For the second week in a row, the Seahawks hodge podge offensive line was put to the ultimate test, facing Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and William Hayes, two of whom recorded a sack in this contest. Russell Wilson, even though clearly hampered by an ankle sprain that would have sent most quarterbacks to the pine for a game or two, stood tall in the pocket and continued to throw time and time again. He finished the game with 254 passing yards, and Tyler Lockett was the beneficiary of two separate huge plays, one of them being a 50 yard bomb that was thrown right on time.
That’s how the game went; Seattle would get behind the line of scrimmage early and often, and then sprinkle in massive completions before fizzling out. For some awful reason, most of the game felt just like that, with the Rams marching up and down the field when it counted to put Greg Zuerlein in position three separate times to put FGs through the uprights. The Rams, hot off of their 28-0 thrashing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, failed for a second straight week to score a touchdown. They got their first win of the season, and now the majority of the teams (and all in the NFC West) are 1-1 through two weeks of play.
The lowlights of the game, besides the offensive line, was the inability to run the ball. In Thomas Rawls’ real first game back he ran for negative yardage. Christine Michael didn’t do too much better, but did get some chunk yards to his name before a critical fumble put the miracle finish on ice for good. The real MVP of this game was the defense, which accumulated three sacks for 20 yards lost on Case Keenum, even with zero turnovers recording in the game. Frank Clark made Case Keenum’s life a nightmare, absolutely plowing him after he bowled over Tim Barnes. Barnes was the beneficiary of plenty of fluky fumbles in Seattle and (then St. Louis) the Rams’ last game, a Week 16 rainy slog fest last season at Century Link Field. The Rams defense played just as hard this time, forcing three fumbles, and recovering two. Todd Gurley was held to just a total of 70 yards, 51 on the ground, and 19 coming off of one single pass, again highlighting how silly it is for opposing teams to run on Seattle.
If we wanted to ignore the inability of either offense to score actual points, you only need to look at the factor of penalties to see where the Seahawks really got down. Seattle received 10 penalties to the tune of 114 yards. Offensive pass interferences were the bane of the Seahawks existence, with Tyler Lockett being the benefactor of a particularly terrible OPI call. Head Coach Pete Carroll was particularly fiery on the sidelines after witnessing what he (and most of us watching the game) felt were blatant miscalls. Carroll remarked after the game, “I don’t know how we got those pass interference plays,” also later revealing that, “I never thought this was how the season was going to start, being unable to go 2-0,” in reference to the teams rather quizzical lack of offensive touchdowns and uncharacteristic slow start.
Next week, the Seahawks welcome their old NFC West nemesis, the San Francisco 49ers. Though usually these games are a blowout stacked in Seattle’s favor, the last meeting between these two showcased the emergence of Thomas Rawls, who ripped off 209 total yards of offense and set a Seahawks rookie record. This time around, the 49ers are coached by Chip Kelly, whose 49ers actually traded three and outs with the Carolina Panthers last week, and put up the aforementioned 28 on the Rams in Week 1 at home. In the draft, they strengthened their defensive lines, so look for that to be a key focal point in this game. Blaine Gabbert is the starter for the 49ers, and while their receiving corps has some new faces (Jeremy Kerley from the New York Jets replacing the now Detroit Lions Anquan Boldin).
Seattle will need to once again lean on the defense to pressure the 49ers into critical errors early on, so even if Wilson’s ankle is still making him less than 100%, gives them a fighting chance to leave Week three with a win.