SEATTLE - DECEMBER 12: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with Paul McQuistan #67 after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Rams 30-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
This game sort of reminded me of that one summer a few years ago when I played in an adult kickball league. Our team rule was "you have to be holding a beer at all times," so fundamentals (yeah, I said 'fundamentals' in reference to kickball) went out the window and there were seemingly infinite errors and crackpot "Harry Highschool" type plays and schenanegans. I think it was safe to say we weren't playing up to our potential and we certainly left some points out there on the field. That said, occasional heroics and surprisingly deft plays would save the day and you'd leave the field feeling pretty good about how it went.
Does that sound familiar at all?
The important thing here is that the Seahawks won the game. Seattle overcame an ugly, slow start and sluggish, mistake-riddled offensive attack to wear down the Rams and finally put the game officially away late into the fourth quarter. Despite what appeared to be a somewhat dominant performance by the Seahawks throughout - no offense to the Rams, but I never really felt worried at any point in the game - the score remained fairly close until 0:14 in the 3rd quarter, when Doug Baldwin scored on a 29-yard touchdown to put the Seahawks up 20-6.
Here are some things that happened in this game, and here's what I think of these things:
- Doug Baldwin intercepted a punt. (Ok, he blocked a punt but nearly caught it off Donnie Jones' foot). Michael Robinson scored a touchdown after recovering the ball. That was awesome. Doug Baldwin is dead serious.
- Marshawn Lynch threw a forward pass. Twice. He didn't connect either time. THIS REALLY ANNOYS ME. Mostly because Michael Robinson is the guy that should be throwing that football if any Seattle Seahawks not called a quarterback are going to be throwing the football (not Sidney Rice either). Because Michael Robinson was a quarterback in division one football and I just really want them to use that, for no good reason. The Rams covered both pass attempts well and I'm really hoping the Seahawks don't use that play again.
- Marshawn Lynch rushed for 115 yards on 22 attempts and a touchdown, at 5.0 yards per carry. This is another reason I'm mystified with the fact they're having him throw the football. Twice. Oh well.
Still, Lynch has now rushed for 100+ in five of the last six games and has scored a touchdown in nine straight games, which ties a Seahawks' record with Shaun Alexander.
- The Seahawks run game continued to look good, finishing with 145 yards on 4.5 yards per carry. This was the sixth straight game they ran for over 100 yards, and that hasn't happened since the 1996 season. That's pretty big.
- Offensive balance was the name of the game again - the Hawks threw the ball 32 times and rushed it 32 times. Doug Baldwin led the receivers with 7 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. He was probably the player of the game. Golden Tate had another strong performance, grabbing a couple of big first downs in key spots. Mike Williams too had a couple of big first down catches.
- Tarvaris Jackson, despite (to my everlasting chagrin) throwing off his back foot or from mid-air nearly every single time, managed to play a pretty efficient game - finishing 21 of 32 for 224 yards and a touchdown. No interceptions and no bonehead plays for the most part as he mitigated some of the shortcomings on the offensive line in pass pro.
Credit goes to Jackson though for getting the job done and not turning the ball over.
- On defense, the Seahawks really didn't let the Rams get into a groove at any point in the game. St. Louis finished with 281 total yards - 114 on the ground (3.7 yards per carry) and 167 through the air. The defensive performance would have been even more impressive if not for a stupid taunting penalty by Richard Sherman that gifted the Rams a first down on the one yard line instead of a fourth down. The Rams may have gone for it and the Seahawks may have stuffed them - they did the next two downs before Steven Jackson finally punched it in on 3rd and goal.
- Brandon Browner continues to be Brandon Browner - he picked off another pass but also had a few penalties in the secondary. I think people are just going to have to get used to this and keep in mind that for the most part this team has done a good job of limiting big plays over the top.
Overall, this was an ugly game. The Rams are completely decimated with injuries and a lack of big-play talent, and their premiere player in Sam Bradford had an awful game. 12 for 29 for 193 yards and a pick. Their other premiere player, Steven Jackson, was held to 63 yards on 20 carries (though he did pick up 60 yards through the air).
I'm glad the Seahawks won but am loath to take too much away from the game, all things considered. The penalties continued to pile up - 9 more tonight - and the inconsistencies show through. Special teams pretty much kept Seatte in this, but still, a win is a win and the more this young team wins, they more they believe. I'll take it.
What were some of your observations? I'm getting this piece up quickly then I'll hit the tape for some more thorough analysis soon.