It's one thing for Seattle, protecting a double digit lead (and growing), to employ a ball control offense, but the Rams second quarter play calling was tantamount to surrender. Saint Louis' second drive featured seven runs in eleven plays. The longest contribution was an iffy personal foul penalty charged to Marcus Trufant. Nearly six minutes later, a Josh Brown field goal pulled Saint Louis within 18.
High-stepping bowling ball: T.J. Duckett's nickname is apt; pressed into tight quarters he really does curl down and keep his knees high, looking every bit the high-stepping bowling ball. That hard to tackle, somewhat comical run style served him well churning into the end zone.
Twelfth play of Seattle's first drive of the quarter. Seahawks and Rams break in classic goal line formations. Seattle with an "I", with Sean Locklear playing tight, outside-left of Walter Jones. At the snap, Seattle's left side gets push, neatly encapsulated by Locklear throwing his weight around against O.J. Atogwe. There's an air of eventuality to Duckett's march, it's slow, methodical and when contact's made inches outside the goal line, you know which way the pile is moving. Duckett is a bit of a picker, and doesn't hit the hole with haste like a typical short yardage back, but that's also how Seattle run blocks, with holes and cutbacks lanes developing. Duckett is a cutback power back, if you can fathom such a thing.
Why you don't draft Dustin Keller: Keller enjoyed one of the sillier, highlight-reel meets combine-throwdown star turns of recent memory. I think Keller has a future in the NFL, but it'll take creativity, because Keller isn't a tight end. John Carlson is a tight end. Why does that matter? Because of plays like this.
Last non-special teams play of the half. The cap on a refreshingly merciless drive by Seattle. Seattle breaks 3 WR, TE, Rb. Rams in a 4-3 with eight in the box. They're walking up pressure in preparation for an obvious blitz. Carlson is on the left, where he saw a surprising number of snaps. Carlson has proven himself a dangerous enough receiver that he demands DB attention, and that mixture of receiving threat with competent run blocking makes this play work. Ron Bartell plays opposite Carlson. At the snap, the Rams blitz seven. Walter Jones blocks hard in, Mike Wahle drops back but delays his pull, Chris Spencer pulls into the second level, engaging Will Witherspoon, and Carlson locks down Pisa Tinoisamoa. Julius Jones runs up behind Jones, Wahle completes his pull dominating Bartell, Jones cuts out, cuts back behind Tinoisamoa and enters the third level with only three to beat. His wending, 32 yard rush is a legitimate third gear from pay dirt.
Deon Grant played inspired football, applying deep double teams sideline to sideline and answering that long asked question, how do I know Brian Russell sucks?
Josh Wilson, run stopper: Wilson is unusually aware for a young corner, especially in run support.
Fifth play of Saint Louis's second drive, it's 2nd and 10 from the Seattle 44. Rams break 3 WR, TE, Rb. Seattle in a 4-3. Wilson is playing outside left, deep, opposite Dane Looker. After the snap, Steven Jackson runs behind left tackle, as soon as Jackson begins to break left, you can see Wilson sprinting inside to meet him. Probably a bad call if Jackson were attempting the halfback pass, but otherwise a good read. Wilson meets Jackson after five and records the stop. Of one thing I'm sure, Wilson is a better run stopper than Kelly Jennings.
Kelly Jennings, lucky bastard: Sometimes the spectacular happens because the mundane failed.
Eleventh play, same drive, it's 3rd and 6 from the Seattle 11. Rams break with 4 WR, Rb, SG. Seattle in a 4-2 nickel. Wilson played nickelback in nickel situations, with Jennings re-assuming the left cornerback spot. Jennings isn't a nickelback. At the snap, Jennings fails to press Torry Holt, drops into a trail position and chases Holt into the endzone.
Meanwhile, Wilson briefly presses Looker, applies good coverage but breaks to the endzone when it's clear Holt is the target. Wilson doesn't play a part in the outcome. Bulger underthrows Holt, Jennings, a good step behind Holt, jumps, makes a leaping swat that screens if not deflects the pass, accomplishing something that looks a lot sweeter on first viewing than repeated viewing. Really, Jennings is beat, thus necessitating the grandiose swat attempt, and the swat itself doesn't look too effective, a better thrown ball would have sailed over Jennings, but the underthrown pass saves the day and Jennings gets a bit of a reprieve. I still believe in Jennings, but teams have taken to running him deep, not fearing his press and hoping their receiver can outmuscle Jennings in isolation. Russell at free safety ensures Jennings often plays on an island.