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The Tape: Rams @ Seahawks 1st Quarter

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In the spirit of playing though pain, I present the only damn thing I'm writing today.

Offense

John Carlson:

Sixth play, first Seahawks drive. 1st and 10 from the Saint Louis 16. Seahawks break 2 WR, 2 TE, Rb. Rams in a base 4-3. Carlson runs a corner route, but turns too quickly and clues Pisa Tinoisamoa of the incoming pass. Matt Hasselbeck's pass is underthrown. Tinoisamoa turns, is in position for the pick but loses the ball. The greater fault is Hasselbeck's, who underthrew a pass that should have been overthrown, but in turning too quickly and revealing the target, Carlson briefly betrayed that, yes, the man that's carried Seattle's passing offense on his back these first three weeks is in fact a rookie.

Fourth play, second Seahawks drive. 4th and 1 from the Saint Louis 15. Seahawks break WR, 2 TE, I formation. Rams in a 4-3. Presnap, Carlson motions right, aligns right of Will Heller. At the snap, Mike Wahle pulls right. Willis crushifies Chris Long, cascading the Rams interior defensive line. Heller pulls forward and walks Quinton Culberson out of the play. Carlson road grades Ron Bartell into the pile of bodies formerly known as the defensive line, culminating in a "stop pushing me" kind of fit by Bartell. The hole opens, T.J. Duckett runs in and for the first with ease, but a blown block by Wahle allows O.J. Atogwe to tackle Duckett after three. I counted four good blocks by Carlson in the first quarter.

Fifth play, third Seahawks drive. 2nd and 14 following a failed rush by Julius Jones. Seattle breaks 3 WR, TE, Rb with Carlson in the right slot. Rams in a 4-3. Carlson runs a perfect but loose route, sprinting upfield, getting just behind Tye Hill's short zone, taking a round but fast route towards the flat and falling into the reception. I like this play because it's a good example of an effective route versus a textbook route. Carlson isn't shaking man coverage but cutting through a zone. Had he run a more angular route, a squared out for instance, he might have drawn coverage by safety Corey Chavous. Instead he loops into the soft spot, never drawing coverage and picking up an easy 22.

Blown Block, broken play, touchdown: Two plays earlier, Leonard Weaver upended Culberson in a highlight worthy pass block. The final play of the same drive, Jones' 29 yard touchdown run, Weaver show that he hasn't and probably won't transfer that ferocity to his run blocking.

2nd and 3 from the Saint Louis 29. Seattle breaks 3 WR, I. Rams in a 4-2 nickel. Seattle runs up its right "A" gap. Weaver charges into the hole and is bounced clear into the backfield by Tinoisamoa and Witherspoon. That failed lead block sets up Jones' 29 yard scamper. In the confusion, Jones never gets into the hole, is trapped behind his line, but doesn't fall forward or plunge into a non-existent crease, he just keeps his legs moving, stays patient and cuts back right when Corey Chavous and James Hall break containment. Hasselbeck throws an unadvised lead block, Jones capitalizes on a broken play and Seattle takes an insurmountable 17 point lead.

Defense

Pistol Grip Pump: I'm not sure why Josh Wilson started over Kelly Jennings, but he did and played well. Of course, watching Dane Looker it's hard to fathom how fast and athletic even the godawfulest wide receiver is.

On the Rams first play of their second drive, Wilson put a one-armed press on Looker that disrupted his entire route. When Bulger's pass fell in front of Looker incomplete, Looker wasn't within sniffing distance of his target. Now, Pistol's a powerful little DB, but even Dane Looker can't let a corner one-arm strong-arm him. That's embarrassing.

Blitz the Former: Third play, first Rams drive. 1st and 10 from the Saint Louis 33. Rams break 2 WR (left), TE, I (offset right). Seattle in a base 4-3. The play runs down like this. Tatupu briefly delays his blitz.

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The reasons I like this blitz are simple. Julian Peterson edge rushes. Peterson is an exceptional edge rusher. Tatupu engages Steven Jackson. Tatupu is a master at the yeoman work of engaging blockers. His hit staggers Jackson and helps remove the outlet pass. Lawrence Jackson drops into a zone. When Marshall want to use a fire zone, Jackson or Darryl Tapp should be the ends to drop into coverage. Brandon Mebane attacks Orlando Pace. Mebane is a capable pass rusher even attacking the end. Basically, Marshall optimizes his talent and that's what a blitz should do. Not be tricky or complex, but efficient and appropriate. The play results in a sack, fumble and turnover.

Blitz the Latter: The second blitz didn't result in the same kind of fireworks, but it's presnap formation featured an interesting wrinkle yet unseen from Seattle.

Third play, second Rams drive. 3rd and 6 from the Saint Louis 24. Rams break 3 WR, TE, Rb, SG. Seattle in a 5-2. Yep. The personnel is akin to a 3-3 Nickel, with three down linemen, three linebacker and five DBs, but Leroy Hill and Julian Peterson assume the three-point across the offensive left, Hill in, Peterson on the end and Josh Wilson is ashoulder Lofa Tatupu in the customary strongside linebacker position.

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Hill and Peterson drop into coverage, Peterson offensive left under intended target Dante Hall. Hill offensive right, theoretically covering Marc Bulger's hot read. Wilson and Tatupu aren't great blitzers, but the play works because the two are disguised. The pressure clearly takes Bulger off guard and he futilely hucks the ball remotely in the direction of Hall.