Sunday, October 27, 2013
Three things: Rams-Seahawks
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. – Three things to watch in Monday night’s game between the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
To protect and catch: By now, everyone knows that the Rams are without quarterback Sam Bradford for the rest of the season after he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee last week against Carolina.
Kellen Clemens will start in Bradford’s place for the foreseeable future. Seattle comes to town with one of the best defenses in the league buoyed by its ability to get after the passer and create takeaways.
Through seven games, the Seahawks’ 23 sacks are tied for fourth in the league and their 19 takeaways are tied for first.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams have allowed 17 sacks, tied for 14th in the league though the line has played pretty well the past three weeks. Meanwhile, the Rams continue to have drop issues among pass-catchers, having the worst drop rate in the league with one on 7.4 percent of targets.
It’s going to be tough sledding for Clemens anyway but if the Rams want to make his life easier, they must do all they can to help him. That means keeping him upright in pass protection and catching the balls that are there to be caught and maybe even a few that aren’t.
Getting creative: Speaking of ways to help Clemens, the Rams would be well served to find ways to keep the Seahawks off balance.
The natural instinct when playing with a backup quarterback is to protect him by pounding away with the running game and sticking to safe, underneath throws.
There’s nothing wrong with doing some of that to help Clemens but it would also behoove the Rams to find some unique ways to take a few shots here and there. How the Rams go about doing it doesn’t really matter but it’s important that they do it.
Seattle’s defense doesn’t have many holes but it does have the tendency to take chances on the back end and give up big plays. This could be a way for the Rams to get some points on the board.
Roiling Russell: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t have many problems in his rookie season but the Rams defense proved to be perhaps the biggest thorn in his side.
In two games against the Rams in 2012, Wilson had the worst QBR (14.4) of his young career in the first meeting in St. Louis and then was hammered for six sacks in the second meeting.
Both teams are different this year, of course, but the Rams have continued to find ways to get after the quarterback and Seattle has had some major issues with offensive line injuries.
The Rams again must find a way to force Wilson into some mistakes and keep the pressure on to have a chance to pull off a victory.