MMQB: Seahawks 24, Rams 19

Seahawks.NET
Posted Nov 25, 2007


"Glass half-empty: the Rams may have exposed a major weakness in the Seahawks' pass-happy offensive scheme. Glass half-full: the Seahawks are continuing to find ways to win and are tied with the Buccaneers and Giants for the second-best record in the Conference."

Seattle Seahawks 24 St. Louis Rams 19
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

Play Of The Day:  With just 25 ticks left on the clock and trailing the Seahawks by five points, the St. Louis Rams faced fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line.  Despite having both Seattle and St. Louis timeouts called back to back before the play, backup quarterback Gus Ferrotte fumbled the snap and was tackled for a loss by Daryl Tapp, effectively ending the game.

Handouts to the StandoutsPatrick Kerney finished the game with three sacks, one forced fumble, seven tackles and an interception, one week after finishing a game with three sacks, one forced fumble and five tackles. 

Marcus Trufant picked off his fourth pass of the season while blanketing Tory Holt on an out route in third quarter.  The turnover would be the turning point in the game for the Seahawks, who would go onto to score 17 unanswered points to win the game.

Josh Wilson probably wasn’t supposed to field the kickoff in the second quarter, but the Seahawks are glad he did.  Wilson ran through the Rams kick coverage unit like there weren’t there en route to an 89 yard touchdown return.  During the return, Wilson not only read his blocks well, but read the defense well and cut back against the grain for the final 20 yards of the return.

Things That Made Me Go “Blech”:  I’m tempted to just say “the first half in its entirety” and move on, but that would be letting the team off of the hook so … (deep breath) here goes:

The Seahawks' first drive ended on two consecutive sacks … both by Will Witherspoon.  On the first, Witherspoon ran right up the middle completely untouched.  This scenario would repeat itself several more time over the course of the game.  Attention Seattle Offensive Line:  this will be a major highlight of the Eagles game film sessions this morning so here’s hoping that you’re able to figure out what went wrong and fix it quickly 

The Seahawks second drive ended with safety after OG Rob Sims allowed Adam Carriker to blast through the line unblocked and tackle Maurice Morris in the end zone.

On the first play from scrimmage after the safety, the Seahawks linebackers got caught in man coverage (and with Julian Peterson blitzing from the outside) and Steven Jackson was suddenly 20 yards downfield without a Seattle defender anywhere near him.  When a defender finally did get near him, it was Brian “Ole” Russell, who kind of waved at Jackson’s legs as the Rams running back charged past him on the way to a 9-0 lead.

Josh Brown has suddenly come crashing down to earth, missing two of three field goal attempts inside a climate controlled dome.  Both kicks had plenty of leg but were wide.  Suddenly not offering a kicker a long-term lucrative contract seems to make sense.

The Seattle Offense managed a whopping -8 yards of total offense in the first quarter.

Seattle’s offensive possessions in the first half:  3 and out, safety, 3 and out, 3 and out, punt, interception, and 3 incompletions before the half.

Several times Julian Peterson was matched up in man coverage with Tory Holt and Issac Bruce, and not once was it a successful match up for the Seahawks.  John Marshall might want to rethink that strategy.

Offense:  The Seahawks came out throwing as advertised again, only this time their opponent seemed to relish the idea.  The Rams threw everything but the kitchen sink at Hasselbeck and for the first half of the game, it worked extremely well.  The Seahawks were unable to hit the quick routes and didn’t call the draw/delay runs that punish opposing teams for over blitzing.  The net result was the atrocious first half detailed above in the “Blech” section.

Fortunately for the Seahawks, the second half has been very good to them in the 2007 season, and this game would prove to be no different.  Suddenly, the offense was making the quick reads on blitzes, the draw plays were effective and Seahawks hit a rhythm that enabled them to put up 17 unanswered points to finish out the game. 

In counterpoint to the first half, the Seahawks offensive possessions in the second half were:  Field Goal, 3 and out, Touchdown, 3 and out, Touchdown, Missed Field Goal.

Matt Hasselbeck finished the game 21-38 for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Matt stood tough in the pocket under a withering pass rush from the Rams and despite getting sacked 5 times he managed to remain cool under fire and lead his team from a 12 point deficit to just their second road win of the season.

The running game was evidently not a part of the first half game plan as the team finished with 4 rushing attempts for 6 yards by halftime.  Maurice Morris would get back on track in the second half, finishing the game with 16 attempts for 79 yards including a fantastic 49 yard draw play that led to Seattle’s first offensive touchdown of the game.  Leonard Weaver snowplowed his way through the Rams front seven for the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter in what one hopes will become a regular occurrence.

Defense:  The Seattle defense did and admirable job against the run holding Steven Jackson to under 100 yards, which is especially impressive considering that Jackson had a 53 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.  When the game was on the line, the Seattle run defense stopped Jackson on 3rd and goal on the 2, a play made all the more important by Ferrotte’s subsequent game-ending fumble.

The linebacker corps rebounded after a rocky start (see:  Jackson, Steven 53 yard touchdown run) to finish the game with 19 tackles (9 of them from All Pro Lofa Tatupu who) and a forced fumble.  Leroy Hill was solid against screen passes to the Rams running backs and tallied a sack and forced fumble in what could very well be his first year as an All Pro.

Patrick Kerney had another monster game, racking up three sacks and picking off an ill advised Ferrotte shovel pass in the second quarter.  It is worth noting that two of Kerney’s sacks came on third down, snuffing out St. Louis drives.

The secondary did an admirable job against the Rams receivers, playing man to man for a majority of the snaps and allowing just one pass of over 20 yards all game. 

Special Teams:  Josh Brown went 1 for 3 on field goals and his kickoff seemed to lack the depth he’s been getting during recent games.  I hope this is just a bump in the road for Josh, as he’s a vital part of the Seattle offense, especially considering how the team struggled in the first half.  Every point is going to be vital down the homestretch of the season.

Ryan Plackemeier also had a bit of an off day, with two punts significantly shorter than usual.  Perhaps he was tired out by all of the work he was given by the Seattle offense.

Nate Burleson was bottled up in the return game, and was benched on punt returns in favor of Bobby Engram after fumbling in the second quarter.  Josh Wilson returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the Seahawks only first half points.  During the return, he got excellent blocking from the entire team. 

The Seahawks once again showed some vulnerability on kick coverage, although they managed to prevent the Rams special teams from scoring so it hard to give them poor marks for the game.

The Golden Microphone Award:  Last week I heaped praise on Matt Vasgersian and J.C. and they returned the favor by calling a decent game, although nowhere nearly as cleanly as last week’s.  On several occasions Pearson referred to the right position but the wrong team’s player (e.g. the Rams are doing a great job at getting pressure on Marc Bulger) and Vasgersian made few gaffes of his own (e.g. calling the NFL’s realignment “recent”).  Still, the play calling was accurate and the post-play breakdowns were canny and accurate.  Why these guys aren’t considered the cream of the crop on FOX is beyond me, but as long as they’re stuck in the NFC West “ghetto” with the Seahawks, you won’t hear me complaining.  Good job, fellas.

Random Notes:  Leonard Weaver got his first NFL touchdown on Sunday on a beautiful snowplow run from five yards out.  Memo to Mike Holmgren:  remember this when Shaun returns.

The Seahawks have swept the series from the Rams for the last three years.

In each of the last three games against the Rams, the Seahawks have returned a kick for a touchdown.

Kudos to Marcus Pollard who threw a great block on a Matt Hasselbeck rollout that enabled Matt to get outside the pocket.  Pollard proceeded to turn his man around and continue blocking while Hasselbeck was outside the pocket, which bought Matt enough time to complete the pass.

The last two times the Seahawks have traveled to Philadelphia, they’ve won 38-0 and 42-0.

Summary:  The Seahawks maintained their lead in the NFC West, but needed to come from behind against a team that’s only won two games all season to do it.  Glass half-empty: the Rams may have exposed a major weakness in the Seahawks' pass-happy offensive scheme.  Glass half-full:  the Seahawks are continuing to find ways to win and are tied with the Buccaneers and Giants for the second best record in the Conference.  In the end, this was a game that was given away by the Rams at the last second.  The Seahawks will need to play better than this if they want to make any noise come January.

Next Week:  On the road again in Philadelphia.

Dylan is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country and firmly believes that “Live At Leeds” is the single greatest live performance since a deaf Ludwig Van debuted his final symphony in Vienna in 1824.  You can e-mail Dylan at NJSeahawksFan@gmail.com.



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