The Seahawks were the aggressors. Seattle delivered nearly all the big hits in this game: Roy Lewis on Austin Pettis, Heath Farwell on Pettis, Kam Chancellor on Steven Jackson, Chancellor on Lance Kendricks. Even the hit quarterback Tarvaris Jackson put on Rams safety Quintin Mikell following an interception packed more punch that most of the hits St. Louis put on Seattle. That was striking.
Sidney Rice has a strong arm. The receiver's pass to Mike Williams for a 55-yard gain on the Seahawks' first play traveled 48 yards in the air. He was standing at the Seattle 12-yard line when he let the ball go. Williams caught it at the St. Louis 40. Trick plays can backfire. Trusting a receiver with a pass on the first play of a road game carries risks. This one worked well, but its impact was limited. Jackson tossed the first of his two interceptions on the next play.
Red Bryant's interception made Tim Ryan's day. Bryant, listed conservatively at 330 pounds, dropped into coverage and picked off a batted pass late in the game. Ryan, calling the game for Fox, seemed giddy at the sight of a fellow defensive lineman not only dropping into coverage, but making a play. And the stiff-arm Bryant put on Pettis was comically dismissive, similar to the one Marshawn Lynch unleashed during his famous touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints.
Chancellor's hits send a message. Chancellor, the Seahawks' second-year strong safety, probably faces another fine for the helmet-to-helmet hit he put on Kendricks late in the game. Seattle can live with that. The physical presence Chancellor brings will eventually deter teams from throwing over the middle casually. The Seahawks' run defense, of which Chancellor is a big part, convinced Baltimore and St. Louis to abandon the running game over the last two weeks. The Rams didn't even try to run. On a related note, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane dominated in this game.
Jennings trade working out well. Clinton McDonald was the player Seattle acquired from Cincinnati in the Kelly Jennings trade. He's been a regular part of the rotation at defensive tackle all season, playing better than 35 percent of the defensive snaps heading into Week 11. McDonald recovered a fumble against the Rams. He tackled Jackson after two yards on a third-and-4 play. He was credited with one of the Seahawks' seven quarterback hits. With Jennings gone, the Seahawks are much bigger at cornerback. They mugged the Rams' receivers and gave Sam Bradford few options.
I'll be catching a flight in the next couple hours and heading back to Seattle. Hoping to post the "five observations" for the other NFC West teams before the week gets away. I'm not traveling across the country for the 49ers' game at Baltimore on Thursday, but I will be in San Francisco when the Rams visit in Week 13.