I'd like to think of Seattle's passing game as capable of recovering from an early deficit, but that proved incorrect. Since it was incorrect, in many ways, this game was about who could stake an early lead and hold on. That's pretty much what the Rams were able to accomplish, plus a little flourish in the second half.
The last time Seattle overcame a two score deficit was last season against Detroit. Mostly, Matthew Stafford threw the game away, but Matt Hasselbeck also contributed to the Seahawks victory. He had 329 yards passing on 39 receptions. 166 yards and 16 receptions were caught by the backfield: Julius Jones, Justin Forsett and Justin Griffith. Detroit fielded the worse pass defense in football, worse even than the 2009 Rams, and according to Football Outsiders metrics, ranked 29th defending passes to running backs. So, you see how a comeback was possible: rookie quarterback, terrible pass defense, terrible pass defense against running backs and playing at home.
As long as Seattle can face the 2009 Lions every week, they can afford to fall behind. Otherwise, this happens.
- Hasselbeck attempted a scramble, because he's a rusher now you know, and George Selive caught him in the open field after three. That ended the drive.
- Field goal.
- Steven Jackson hits the pile but St. Louis is able to push forward against Colin Cole and Red Bryant and Jackson achieves four yards.
- Overthrow, no apparent pressure.
- Seahawks rush six. Clemons forces an incomplete through pressure.
- Exciting stuff. It's about to get, like, 1.5 times more exciting.
- Russell Okung learns about the zone blitz. He slides to block the end, the end pulls out into cover, he slides in to assist Hamilton and David Vobora rushes in untouched and smashes Matt.
- Three yard rush on second and 17. Not much else to say. Blocking looked ok, but it went nowhere.
- No pressure, Matt steps and fires high towards Mike Williams and Williams reaches up and snags it for 17 and the first.
- False start: Stacy Andrews. Going to become mighty skilled at typing that.
- Fred Robbins drives Andrews back and Na'il Diggs shoots the resulting gap and tackles Justin Forsett for what looks like a loss. Recorded as no gain. The rest of the blocking looked solid, but Andrews struggled mightily against the Rams tackles. Too much length and height and too little anchor.
- Screen falls apart for lack of blockers. It's just Chris Spencer and Forsett playing football in the flat, Rams closing from all sides. Okung falls/is knocked down by James Hall (falls). Hamilton can not disengage from Selvie (what a steal that kid was.) Spencer gets there, but it's a tough matchup, James Laurinaitis in space, and though Forsett can cut in an behind Spencer, the five yards Seattle achieves is maximizing minimal execution.
- Rams rush six. Seattle retains Forsett and John Carlson as blockers and the two effectively protect the blind side. Pressure erupts from the front side, where, for whatever reason, Hasselbeck has drifted towards. In a two-thirds pristine pocket, Hasselbeck is rooming in the maelstrom. Chris Long attacks the inside, Hasselbeck drifts outside the pocket, Robbins disengages, prepares to strike and Hasselbeck jumps, torques his torso and badly underthrows towards Brandon Stokley.
- Slot Machine does his thing and comes back to the ball and cradles it complete, but it's short of the first.
- Then we get this. It's not a perfect pass, not perfect, it's a little low and wide, but Michael Robinson must catch it, and he knows it, but he doesn't and Seattle turns the ball over on downs.
- Seahawks rush five. David Hawthorne forces Sam Bradford to scramble forward for six. Good blitz, if minimal return.
- The weak side doesn't deserve blame for botching this screen. They're battling blockers ardently protecting the quarterback. Brock and Bryant should have sensed things were developing a bit too easily. Lawyer Milloy sees Daniel Fells curl, the blockers pull and redirect, and chases Fells. I'm a little ambivalent about how good Milloy looks on this defense. On the one hand, hell yeah. On the other, it would be nice if the soon to be 37-year old strong safety wasn't a standout performer.
- Anyway, Milloy chases and eventually stumbles and runs into Will Herring, knocking both players out of the play and springing what looks like a modest gain by Fells for 21. Earl Thomas forces Fells out. The play is partially called back for holding. Kenneth Darby doesn't seem to agree and I can't blame him. I think the flag is thrown because Herring falls.
- Marcus Trufant run blitzes from the left slot and closes and ankle-tackles Jackson after a gain of one.
- Exceptional jump by Aaron Curry; exceptional timing by Milloy, and Seattle sends the dogs off right end for an easy sack. Curry makes it possible by stretching the edge and Milloy and David Hawthorne complete the sack.
- On the left of, of lesser significance, Mebane trips over Brock's feet, who is attempting to pull into a zone, and Mebane falls on his face. It's been that kind of year for Brandon.
- Mebane loops inside and pressures Bradford out of the pocket. Bradford steps up and passes wide towards Danny Amendola and Amendola does this.
- Jackson converts the first on fourth and one, but illegal motion nullifies the play and forces the punt.
That's it for now. My wife and I are taking a hike up by St. Helens this afternoon, so the rest of this spellbinding contest will have to wait until tomorrow.