The Seahawks went into the L.A. Coliseum and defeated one of the most surprising teams in the NFL in the Rams by a score of 16-10. This game between the divisional foes had higher stakes than usual, with the winner taking the early lead in the NFC West. Although it is early in the season, it is looking the division crown could come down to the final week of the season. Here are the biggest takeaways from this contest.
Seahawks defense shut down the high-scoring Rams offense
One of the biggest surprises of the first four weeks in the season was the effectiveness of the Rams’ offense. Todd Gurley has been one of the best running backs in the NFL, heading into the contest against the Seahawks as the second leading rusher in the NFL. But the Seahawks held him to only 43 yards on 14 carries, including a huge fumble lost. Gurley sets the rhythm of the Rams’ offense, which helps Jared Goff become more effective in the pass game.
But when Gurley was unable to find open space, Goff was forced to do it all himself. Although Goff has been very good in his sophomore season in the NFL, it looked like he couldn’t be the entire Rams offense. Goff had to force throws against the very good Seahawks pass defense, which led to two interceptions thrown by Goff.
Although the Rams gained 375 yards of offense on the Seahawks defense, the experienced Seahawks defense forced turnovers on key moments of Rams’ drives. The Seahawks defense resembled a “bend but don’t break” defense, but they made the plays when needed. It cannot be overstated how clutch of a play that Earl Thomas made when forcing the Todd Gurley fumble at the goal line on the Rams’ first drive of the game.
Seattle offensive line struggles again
Yes, the offensive line had its hands full playing against Aaron Donald and company, but they just looked downright horrible. Rees Odhiambo allowed Robert Quinn to fly around the edge like it’s nothing, sacking Russell Wilson once and hitting him two more times. Donald did his thing, hitting Wilson three times and getting two tackles for loss. Wilson was on the move for the entire game, with times where the offensive line practically blocked nobody. The Rams defensive line could be the best in the league, the Seahawks line showed no resistance.
The run game was also unable to get anything going with many Rams defenders shedding their blocks at the line of scrimmage. This is a huge concern because it had looked like the offensive line was showing signs of progress and were much better than they were in the first weeks of the season. But yet again, it looks like this offensive line will be the biggest problem for this offense.
Seahawks injury replacements leave mixed reviews
Against the Rams, the Seahawks were without starting defensive end Cliff Avril and starting running back Chris Carson. In place of Avril, it seemed like they did not skip a beat with Frank Clark filling in for him. Clark racked up a sack, two tackles for loss, two QB hits and a forced fumble. Even when not being credited with a stat, Clark was causing pressure on Goff.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle used a committee of Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and J.D. McKissic. None of the trio averaged more than three yards per carry. Even though it was a close game, the Seahawks were shying away from the run game. It seems that without Carson, there is not much trust with this group of running backs. McKissic made a few plays as a receiver out of the backfield, but that role will be filled by C.J. Prosise when he is healthy. Although the offensive line struggles did not help the running backs, one of the backs, especially Rawls or Lacy, need to show the ability to average more than three yards per carry.