Seahawks-Rams: What will it take to win?

by Joe on November 18, 2011

We all remember how the last Seahawks-Rams game went: Charlie Whitehurst, the savior of the franchise, started in place of an injured Matt Hasselbeck and led the team to victory and another NFC West championship on the last day of the season last year. These were the two best teams in the NFC West staking their claim on the future of the division. Would the Seahawks be able to keep their string of success over the past decade going? Were the Rams gonna control the division for the next few years?

Fast forward to this year. St. Louis started out 0-5, Charlie Whitehurst sucks, Sam Bradford is having a less than stellar sophomore season, Seattle is extremly inconsistent, and the Niners look to be the class of this division this year.

Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams

Hopefully Steven Jackson sees a lot of this on Sunday

Seattle heads to St. Louis to take on the Rams in a game that in the big picture of the NFL is somewhat meaningless. As much as I would love to think Seattle can make a run at the Wild Card (I will be rooting for this as long as I can) realistically they are pretty much gonna be a non-factor in the playoffs. St. Louis doesn’t have much else to play for either. But to Seattle fans and Rams fans this is a good measuring stick game.

Both teams are coming off victories (Seattle over Baltimore and St. Louis over Cleveland), both teams have a lot of players injured, and both teams really need to see where they stand. Are they good teams that haven’t played well and just haven’t put everything together yet? Are they young teams that still have a lot of holes?

Anyway, I wanted to take a quick look at the teams and see what it will take for Seattle to get a victory here. After looking at the stats I think it comes down to one thing: Stopping Steven Jackson.

Take a look at the following numbers:

  • Loss vs Philly: 2 attempts, 56 yards.
  • Loss vs Baltimore: 4 attempts, 23 yards
  • Loss vs Washington: 17 attempts, 45 yards
  • Loss vs Green Bay: 18 carries, 96 yards
  • Loss vs Dallas: 18 carries, 70 yards
  • Win vs New Orleans: 25 carries, 159 yards
  • OT Loss vs Arizona: 29 carries, 130 yards
  • Win vs Cleveland: 27 carries, 128 yards

Steven Jackson started out this season very slow but as he has picked up his running game, as he has gotten more carries, and as the Rams have committed to the run the Rams are playing better football. In the last three games Jackson is averaging 27 carries and 139 yards and they have two victories and an OT loss on a punt return. In the 5 losses to start the season Jackson was hampered by an injury and never had 20 carries or 100 yards.

Sam Bradford has been somewhat of a disappointment this year. After a very good rookie year Bradford has regressed a bit this year. He is only completing 55% of his passes, only has 4 TDs, and is averaging only 6.2 YPA. Bradford has also been sacked 26 times, has a bad ankle, and really doesn’t have much to speak of as far as a receiving corps goes.

So pretty much I can see this game coming down to how well the Seahawks can control Steven Jackson. For the most part Seattle has been pretty stout against the run game this year. DeMarco Murray burned them a bit but other than him they haven’t allowed a 100 yard runner and they are only giving up 3.6 yards per carry which is 4th best in the league. They have also faced 269 runs which is more than all but 5 other teams.

I think Seattle does better against the run when they face bigger, more power type backs. They were able to control runners like Frank Gore and Michael Turner but faster, outside runners like Murray were tougher for them. Jackson has some good speed but for the most part he is an inside runner so Red Bryant, Alan Branch, and the Seattle D-line should be able to contain him.

Another factor in this game is how Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan can hold up against Chris Long who already has 8 sacks this year. Other than that there¬†aren’t too many players on the St. Louis defense that scare me. ¬†James Laurinaitis is a good linebacker and James Hall has 6 sacks but overall this is not a great defense. They are allowing 150.6 yards per game on the ground (5.1 YPC) so if Seattle can keep Marshawn Lynch rolling I think Seattle can dictate the game.

St. Louis has been playing better the last few games but they still have a lot of injuries to deal with, they don’t have much of a passing game, and Seattle is coming off a big win. It wasn’t a fluke win either. They out-physicaled one of the most physical teams in the league and I think they are starting to develop an identity.

I don’t see this as a let down game for the Seahawks and I think they control this game from start to finish and win 27-13 or something like that.

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