Three things we learned: Seahawks 24, Rams 7
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned
- The Seahawks are good enough to beat a bad team convincingly.
This is not entirely insignificant. In fact, it indicates progress because coming out of Seattle's Week 6 bye, the Seahawks went on the road against Cleveland and lost the lowest-scoring game in team history. The Seahawks' defense was every bit as stout Sunday in St. Louis as it was in Cleveland, allowing Seattle to grind out a very workmanlike win. Seattle didn't play its best game on offense. In fact, it was a below-average outing and the Seahawks still won by 17 points. That's a good sign.
- The Rams are really bad.
Surprisingly bad, considering this team was the preseason favorite in the division. Some of that is understandable. The Rams secondary has been decimated by injuries at cornerback. They've lost nine players at that position alone this season. St. Louis came into the game missing its two starting tackles and after losing Mark Levoir in the first half, the Rams had to resort to using Kevin Hughes at left tackle. He had been on the practice squad since Sunday. But St. Louis still lacks downfield weapons for Sam Bradford, and the Rams largely conceded the run game by using a spread offense fairly extensively. Steven Jackson carried the ball 15 times, which was more than he had in Seattle last year in Week 17, but still probably not enough.
- Brandon Browner's coverage is a real asset to the defense.
Yes, he had another penalty, but that was just 5 yards. The Rams clearly wanted to test him, and Browner showed he was ready. Brandon Lloyd played in the Pro Bowl last season, and he's exactly the kind of smaller, quick wideout that could give Browner trouble. But Browner's physical style clearly affected him Sunday. Lloyd was targeted 14 times, and caught only five passes. Seattle's defense has ranked in the bottom six teams in the league in passing yards allowed in each of the past three seasons. That is changing this season thanks in part to the physical style of Browner.
Three things we already knew
- Kam Chancellor is going to have to adjust his aim.
His hit to the head of tight end Lance Kendricks was every bit as devastating as the one he leveled on Baltimore's Anquan Boldin last week. It's probably going to be even more expensive, too, as he was fined $20,000 by the league last week. You can debate whether the rules on hits to defenseless receivers are overly punitive, but you can't argue that these two hits by Chancellor are exactly the type the league is cracking down on.
- The yellow flags have become a red flag in Seattle.
Before this season, Seattle had not committed 13 penalties in a game since the season-opener in 2002. The Seahawks have now been penalized 13 times in each of the past two games. You can't blame youth entirely because that was Paul McQuistan, a veteran offensive lineman, with two false starts and a holding penalty. Robert Gallery had a false start, too. The Seahawks have already been penalized 96 times this season. The franchise "record" is 128 in a season.
- Give Chris Clemons a lead, he'll get you sacks.
The Seahawks pass rush had been missing much of the previous two games, but it showed up repeatedly on Sunday in St. Louis. The Rams had no answer for Clemons' speed, and he finished with three sacks - the most for any Seahawk since December 2007.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
- Whether Pete Carroll took some type of sedative before the game.
He had lost of chances to get all hormonal. His team had the ball at the St. Louis 1 with 3 seconds left in the first half and the Seahawks kicked a field goal. He could have gone for it on fourth-and-1 in Rams territory in the second half and he punted. In a game where the Rams hadn't shown the ability to do much, Carroll made the right calls in playing the field-position game, which is a big reason why Seattle's average starting point was its own 41 in the second half while the Rams began - on average - at their own 22.
- Why Tarvaris Jackson started so poorly.
It was jarring. Both those interceptions were clearly on him. He didn't see the linebacker on the first one, and held the ball too long on the second. Not only that, but his velocity seemed down to the point that you wondered whether his strained pectoral muscle was actually worse this week than it was against Baltimore. He played better after that, but the Seahawks also didn't ask him to do a whole lot.
- Why Seattle's special teams are so inconsistent.
The good: Leon Washington had two nice punt returns in the first half, and Jon Ryan continues to punt at a Pro Bowl level. The bad: Seattle had a punt deflected in the first quarter. The ugly: Seattle had three penalties on punts, two for false starts and a holding call against long snapper Clint Gresham. The Seahawks need to get all that sorted out before it costs them another game.
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