Aside from falling short at the end, that’s as good as I had any right to expect this game to go. The Seahawks ran the ball – without Chris Carson, without D.J. Fluker (who I thought was the bigger of the two injury inactives for this team, considering the opponent) – better than they have all year, 273 yards on 34 carries; they kept the game close all day, and in the end they got the ball back with around 90 seconds, one touchdown away from winning it outright. On top of which, the Seahawks drove to the Rams’ 35 yard line with just under a minute to go before the drive stalled. It was all right there, and we just couldn’t punch it in. Again, I take no solace from a moral victory; yes, it shows the Seahawks are on the right track and closer to returning to their championship window than we thought, but there’s still a huge talent discrepancy between us and the elite teams in the NFL. In other words, there’s a lot of work left to do. This isn’t a reincarnation of the 2012 Seahawks so much as the 2011 variety: that team that went 7-9, had some remarkable victories, but ultimately fell short of their goal to make the playoffs (even if that goal looked insane heading into the season). The 2018 Seahawks aren’t QUITE what we thought they were, but they’re also going nowhere, very, very slowly.
What I’m Geeked Out About After Nine Games
I got a two-fer, and they’re both rushing related. First and foremost, WELCOME TO SEATTLE RASHAAD PENNY! He’s had opportunities at times this season, but until yesterday had failed to take advantage of them. Well, this was his coming out party. 108 yards on 12 carries with a TD. He looked smooth, he looked explosive, and he took advantage of some really solid run blocking from our offensive line. Kudos all around to those five (sometimes, with Fant, six) guys for punishing the Rams once again. In two games this year, against that stout front, the Seahawks ran for 463 yards on 66 carries, for a 7.02 yards per carry average! Outstanding!
Of course, not for nothing, but those fuckfaces only seem to get it up for rushing the passer on third down, so maybe they need to get their priorities together if they have any aspirations of winning a Super Bowl, but that’s neither here nor there.
My other prong in this section goes to Russell Wilson. Sure, he threw 3 more touchdowns, on 17/26 for 176; but he also ran the ball like he hasn’t all year! 92 yards on 9 carries, which was the most he’s had in a single game since November 2014 (and tied for the 5th most in a game in his professional career). I know he always just takes what the defense gives him, but I thought he took advantage of a few keeps that both moved the chains and opened up some future holes for our backs.
Now, if only he’d pulled it down and ran with it on that final play of the game …
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)
It’s pretty much time to shift expectations a little bit going forward (and, even moreso, assuming we lose to the Packers this Thursday). While it’s okay to hold out hope for a wild card berth (even moreso, assuming we beat the Packers this Thursday), I’m looking to focus more on positive elements for the future.
For instance, when you see the Seahawks giving up 36 points to the Rams, my go-to emotion is to say, “The defense deserves zero praise whatsoever, full stop!” But, that’s just not logical. While it’s distressing to see the Rams move the ball with such ease, quite frankly they’re the Rams. This is what they do. And, given the limitations we’re working with on that side of the ball, it’s commendable that we were able to limit them in the ways we did.
Kudos, for instance, on stopping them with less than 2 minutes to go, to give our offense a chance to win it! If you offered me this scenario heading into the game – considering I was predicting a double-digit blowout – I would’ve accepted it in a heartbeat! I almost always think Russell Wilson is going to lead us to victory in the closing seconds of the game, so why wouldn’t that be something to hope for?
I thought Bobby Wagner had a whale of a game. I thought Jarran Reed and Frank Clark played their asses off. Quinton Jefferson looked like a load all day. Jacob Martin flashed at times. Sure, there were breakdowns here and there, but the Rams’ scheme often creates these types of breakdowns. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot to like, even on a day where we gave up 456 yards. I mean, shit, the Rams are supposed to have this great “championship defense” with the best defensive coordinator in the game (taking advantage of their star quarterback on a rookie deal, by signing and trading for all these high-priced studs on defense, a la the Seahawks in 2013) and they gave up 414 yards to us, on top of a litany of penalty yardage! We’re at least doing as well as they are, with A LOT LESS. Something to think about, before you resume killing our defense.
Also, kudos to Mike Davis for being a boss. Kudos to Lockett for yet another touchdown. Kudos to Doug Baldwin and Ed Dickson for big catches. Kudos to Michael Dickson for some FANTASTIC punting!
Let’s Talk About Competitions
Bradley McDougald was one of our injury concerns heading into this game, but he ended up making the start. He did okay, but the coaches rightly split time between him and Delano Hill. I don’t know if Hill is totally safe as a future starter, but he’s been looking better these last couple weeks. Not the total disaster he was in the pre-season and earlier this year. He’s making strides, that’s all you can ask. I still think this team needs to make safety a priority in the 2019 draft, if for nothing else than to boost our competition.
We’re also gonna need to move on from K.J. Wright I think, when this year is over. I wouldn’t mind seeing Shaquem Griffin get some looks. He’s definitely started to flash on Special Teams lately, which is cool to see (also shout-out to Akeem King, who is straight balling out there on Teams; that was a nasty head-to-head deal between the two, though); I hope Griffin is making strides in practice at least, in the base defense. I’m curious to see how he grows going forward.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)
I was extremely disappointed in Duane Brown for giving up that strip sack to Dante Fowler yesterday, which set up the Rams’ game-winning score. I mean, come on. You’re a Pro Bowl left tackle going up against a draft bust; I get that sometimes even the all-time greats get beat, but you CANNOT get beat in that situation! Not with the game on the line, that late in the contest, to a fucking nobody! What are we PAYING you for, if not to stand tall in that exact scenario?!
Also, just … The Legion Of Boom, these guys are not. Sure, the Rams are an elite offensive unit, and they scheme you to death, but I’m not seeing a ton of progress out of our secondary this year, and that’s going to be a problem going forward. Now, of course, maybe they’ll look better once we find a pass rush (next year, hopefully). But, maybe they’ll always be an Achilles heel (no pun intended, Richard Sherman) and we’re going to have to play these types of games against good offenses.
I hear a lot of Seahawks fans complaining about CenturyLink not being as loud as it was in its heyday; well, fans feed off of defense. It’s hard to get up for this mediocrity we’re watching this year. Where are the big plays? Where are the sacks and interceptions and forced fumbles? Where are the stops on third down? An elite defense trumps an elite offense 10 times out of 10. Without that, yeah, expect the home crowds to be a little more indifferent than they once were (though, to be fair, I’m not a regular attendee to the games, but it was VERY loud in my opinion, the game I went to last week, as I had to regularly plug my ears to deal with all the screaming).
Finally, let’s not waste snaps handing the ball to C.J. Prosise, huh? He’s done. Let’s move on already.