Sunday, September 30, 2012
Wrap-up: Rams 19, Seahawks 13
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Week 4 game between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome:
What it means: The Rams showed they won't be an easy out for NFC West opponents, particularly in the Edward Jones Dome. They showed that coach Jeff Fisher and staff can give the team an edge. They also moved into a tie with Seattle at 2-2 in the NFC West. This game showed the Seahawks' vulnerability pending improvement in the passing game. They're a defensive team and a rushing team, but not much of a threat in the passing game.
What I liked: Both teams scored on their opening drives. The Seahawks came out throwing and put Russell Wilson's talents to use during an 80-yard drive to a touchdown. The Rams answered on their first possession with Greg Zuerlein's 58-yard field goal. Neither offense has functioned particularly well of late, so getting points early was a bonus.
The Rams maximized several scoring opportunities to gain an edge against a generally stronger opponent. They won the tactical battles, it seemed. They fooled Seattle with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola on a fake field goal. When Seattle threw incomplete and took a sack with 49 seconds left in the first half, the Rams leveraged the gift into a 48-yard field goal. And when Seattle failed to recover an onside kick to open the second half, St. Louis turned the favorable field position into Zuerlein's 60-yard field goal.
Seattle's ground game and the Rams' third-down offense were highlights at times.
Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards rushing. He and Robert Turbin overpowered the Rams' defense. Turbin ran over safety Quintin Mikell and through linebacker James Laurinaitis on one memorable play. Lynch's 18-yard scoring run over the left side was another highlight. Lynch broke tackles regularly.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford sometimes held the ball too long, but the Rams converted five of their first 12 chances on third down. Their ground game also improved late as Steven Jackson found some creases even though Seattle's defensive front continued to dominate at the line of scrimmage.
Seattle's defense did not allow a touchdown (its special teams did).
What I didn't like: Both teams suffered interceptions following poor plays or miscommunications involving receivers. The Rams squandered a likely scoring drive when Bradford threw for Brandon Gibson along the sideline, only to have Gibson continue his route down the field. Richard Sherman made the easy pick for Seattle. For the Seahawks, receiver Doug Baldwin couldn't handle a short pass thrown behind him, enabling the Rams' Trumaine Johnson to intercept it.
Seattle's final shot at victory ended when tight end Anthony McCoy tripped, allowing Bradley Fletcher to pick off Wilson's pass.
Any team running the ball as well as Seattle was should have found greater opportunities in the passing game. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said he's the reason for the team's conservative offensive approach, and that the philosophy will change once Wilson gains experience.
What's next: The Rams are home against Arizona on Thursday night. The Seahawks visit Carolina on Sunday for their second consecutive game kicking off at 10 a.m. PT.