Written by: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
Since being named HC of the LA Rams, Sean McVay has had the Seahawks number and by no means did that change on Sunday night. After the 28-12 beating that Seattle took from the Rams, Pete Carroll falls to 2-4 against Sean McVay’s Rams team and looks just as lost against that offensive system as their first meetings in 2017.
Quandre Diggs - The Good
Really, the only good to come out of the game was Quandre Diggs. Though DK Metcalf had an impressive game that could’ve been even more so if Russ would’ve made a few better reads. But with Quandre, he continues to grow in the defense and be a huge playmaker. Diggs has been a calming presence on the defense with the ability to cover a lot of grass, hit some people, and make plays on the football. Diggs had two intercepts against the Rams which included a pick-6 that, to that point in time, was more points than what the offense was able to score.
Even in a game where the secondary was beaten by a lethal Rams offense, Quandre Diggs still was able to bring life to the team which we haven’t felt since Earl Thomas was in uniform. Diggs was the only glimpse of hope and tried to provide a spark but the rest of the team couldn’t build off of it.
Defensive line - The Bad
It’s hard to assign the blame for the lack of pressure that the Seahawks defensive line has created so we can just say it was a collective effort. Entering Sunday, the Rams line was what had been holding back that offense from putting up huge numbers. Instead, the Rams OL completely controlled the Seahawks and prevented any sort of pass rush from being felt by Goff. The secondary didn’t play well either but that was expected, not a total of 4QB hits all game.
With Ziggy Ansah out and Jadeveon Clowney still dealing with his core injury, you couldn’t have expected a whole lot from the unit but they still found a way to disappoint. The Seahawks needed players like Rasheem Green, Jarran Reed, and Quinton Jefferson to step up but none of them were able to provide any sort of consistent pressure that warranted any extra attention from the Rams (other than Clowney of course).
Offensive line - The Ugly
The Seahawks have one of the worst pass protecting offensive lines you can find. Play action pass blocking has worked wonders on creating more time for Russ to throw but even that has suffered as the season has moved along. The unit as a whole needs a serious revamp within the next few seasons and Seattle has yet to draft or develop players to step in. Jamarco Jones has had promise but the staff has continued to reiterate that the unit right now is the best possible combination of the unit.
Yes, I did mention in my preview that you should expect the Seahawks offensive line to be somewhat of a liability in the game as they faced Matthews, Donald, and Fowler but to this extent was not in mind when putting it together. A huge issue Sunday was that they were giving Russ less time than usual. In the 2nd half, when down by several scores, the line was such a liability that Schotty couldn’t make any attempts at calling deep pass concepts without an absurd lack of belief that the line would protect long enough for something to develop.
Russ was sacked 5 times Sunday while being hit 11 times. No way can you expect Russ to produce at the level he was at earlier in the season with that type of pressure. Over the last 4 games, Russ has been sacked 18 times and the result of that is shocking on him statistically. He also logged a 4:4 TD-to-Int ratio over those four games.
Seahawks were outcoached
Whether it was the little things like quick snaps or changing gameplan on the fly, the Rams out prepared the Seahawks and it wasn’t close.
Quite a few Seahawks defenders admitted afterward that they were caught off guard in the first half when the Rams started to quick snap. Little things like that prevent defensive calls from getting distributed which leads to players being out of position.
On a larger note, the Seahawks stayed in their 4-3 defense most of the game despite the clear mismatch in the secondary. Not sure whether we should be upset at Pete Carroll or Ken Norton Jr. but they need to change their approach. The Rams have speed at both receiver and TE with players like Robert Woods (98 yards and a TD), Cooper Kupp (45 yards and a TD), and Tyler Higbee (116 yards). Again, the Seahawks still chose to go with their base scheme which made it too easy for the Rams.
A huge question mark for right now is if the Seahawks are really telling us the truth about Tyler Lockett. Since his shin/leg injury against the 49ers, the aura around Lockett feels a little odd. Lockett had to stay overnight due to worries of him taking flight. But after that, Lockett has only five catches in three games and just doesn’t look to be 100%. It’s no coincidence that the Seahawks offense has sputtered in recent weeks and the need for a dynamic playmaker has never been more apparent.
But to get the ball to Lockett, Russ needs time to get the ball to him. This will have to be up to Brian Schottenheimer to do so. Seattle didn’t stick to anything on offense that was able to neutralize the Rams defensive line other than a few PA screenplays that had a little bit of success. If Seattle runs so more bootleg and quick concepts that create mismatches from the LOS then they can neutralize defensive lines over the next few weeks.
On a more somber note, Rashaad Penny tore his ACL on Sunday and also had other structural damage in his knee. It really is a heartbreaking loss because Penny had just started to find his role in the offense and was building a two-headed monster in the backfield. But for the time being, Seattle will have to rely on Chris Carson, CJ Prosise, and Travis Homer so expect Seattle to host a few workouts this week for possible RB fillers.
Next up, the Seahawks travel to take on the Panthers who are struggling badly. Seattle needs to come out next week and put this game in their rearview mirror. Both sides of the ball have stuff to work on, so how they respond next week will tell you about what this team is made of and if they’re truly going to contend in the NFC.