What did we learn about the Seahawks in St. Louis?
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned
1. Seattle has been winning in spite of its offense: There were no turnovers to set Seattle up, no special-teams heroics by Leon Washington. Seattle's offense was left to sink or swim on its own, and it drowned in its own difficulties moving the ball, failing to cross midfield in the second half. The running game didn't work, but it really hasn't all year, but the Seahawks couldn't pass protect and failed to show any semblance of a downfield passing game.
2. The Seahawks patchwork line showed signs of fraying: Seattle's line has been remarkably effective considering not only the turnover on the roster, but the turnover atop it, with Alex Gibbs resigning little more than a week before the first game. The Seahawks haven't blown anybody off the ball, but they did protect quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fairly well. At least they did until Sunday's game when he was sacked four times and hurried countless others.
3. This defense has a lot of heart: Seattle turned the ball over twice Sunday, each setting up a St. Louis possession inside the Seattle 10. The Rams didn't score either time, safety Earl Thomas intercepting a pass in the first half and Seattle forcing a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter. The effort-level of this defense has been apparent from the first half of the first game when the Seahawks offense couldn't do much of anything to the fourth quarter of this latest loss.
Three things we don't know
1. What's happened to receiver Mike Williams? He hasn't disappeared as he caught four passes -- tied for most on the team -- but he hasn't been featured as much as you might expect given how productive his catches have been. He had a great third-down reception Sunday for 17 yards, but of his four receptions that was the only one that gained more than 10 yards. Williams has shown how dangerous he can be after the catch, but his opportunities are varying week to week.
2. How can anyone keep a straight face the next time coach Pete Carroll talks about the importance of offseason workouts or training camp? Not only are five of the 10 offensive linemen on Seattle's 53-man roster were signed after Aug. 30, but Brandon Stokley was targeted a team-high eight times in his fifth day as a Seahawk.
Was Russell Okung's debut for the Seahawks a setback? He didn't reinjure his ankle, according to coach Pete Carroll, but he didn't appear to play all that well, either. He failed to recognize a zone blitz on one first-quarter sack, and was beaten by a spin move from veteran James Hall on another play. While he was a high draft pick, he is a rookie, too, and Sunday was a reminder there will be growing pains.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
1. What does Carroll have against field-goal attempts at the end of the first half? He certainly doesn't like settling for them. Last week against San Diego, Seattle's headstrong decision to run a quarterback draw on third down without any timeouts eliminated its chance for three points at the end of the first half. This week, the Seahawks passed up on a 51-yard attempt in one of the most kicker-friendly stadiums in the league to try and run for a first down on fourth-and-10. If Seattle keeps squandering scoring chances, it's going to continue to haunt them.
2. Just how steamed is Seattle's defense? Not only is the defense spending too much time on the field, but the offense is like the little kid who needs a booster seat to sit at the table. If the offense doesn't get that boost by way of turnovers hand like the two game-changing interceptions against San Francisco or the five turnovers against San Diego, Seattle hasn't had much of a chance.
3. Will Seattle dial back the number of changes it makes to its offensive roster? Continuity has to count for something, right? But the volume of turnover in Seattle the past month chafes against that. This past week it was a shuffle along the offensive line as Allen Barbre and Breno Giacomini were signed Tuesday, the Seahawks began practicing Wednesday with the hope Chester Pitts could start only to waive him the next day. Then, newly added Brandon Stokley stepped into the lineup and promptly became a featured target. Is Seattle going to keep tinkering and experimenting or will it settle on a group to move forward with?
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call