Seattle earns it first shutout since 2007 and its most dominant win since 2005. The Rams suck. How bad is to be determined. Seattle beat St. Louis almost as bad as a professional team can be beat -- like a red-headed rented mule. Rams fans hope that adding a left tackle will resurrect their offense are now crushed -- crushed as badly as the Rams were today.
Before we get on to the revelry, let's talk a few faults. Jon Ryan is costing Seattle field position with his punts. It's not going to kill Seattle to run with a just average punter, but I hope Tim Ruskell looks for an upgrade on Ryan as he looked for an upgrade on Ryan Plackemeier last season. Live by the in-season, die by the in-season signing, Ryan.
Matt Hasselbeck was awful to start the game. He stared down receivers, threw into double cover and lobbed some easy to pick ducks. He was picked and gave the Seahawks faithful an awful fright. A bad Hasselbeck is a quarterback that can't lead this team to the playoffs. He worked off much of the rust against presumably a very bad pass defense, and we can all hope this was early season hiccups. Clearly, Seattle recovered.
Linebackers Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu left the game with a groin injury and a hamstring injury. Neither sounded severe, but keep your eyes peeled. Groin and hamstring injuries can be nagging.
Now onto the goods. The coaches deserve credit. Both the offense and defense kept the attack varied and unpredictable and that is the essence of good play calling. Gus Bradley didn't shoot himself in the foot with lame three-stooges blitzes, did blitz early and knew when to trust the front four. This is what a well-run, well-designed and well-executed game looks like, and it took a quarter to appear, but when the gears clicked into place, the Seahawks were ruthless and efficient.
The offense mixed pass and run and didn't abandon either though both faltered, even failed. The line did its dirty work, keeping pressure off Hasselbeck and creating seams for Julius Jones. All three heads of the running back attack contributed; Julius Jones the star, but Justin Forsett showed up on third downs and Edgerrin James grinded out euthanasia yards.
Seattle's wide receivers excelled. Even without Deion Branch, the Rams were lost trying to cover Seattle's three very good receiving threats. Nate Burleson defenders might win the long battle, because in Greg Knapp's looser system, he is emerging as not just a weapon, but a star. The screen pass thrown to him in the first was beautiful and efficient, and the kind of new-breed play calling Seattle has needed for the last three years.
Hasselbeck rounded into form, and if he can find comfort within this system, he has the kind of varied weapons to show off his always excellent read. John Carlson declared himself as the best young tight end in football. He was absurdly valuable getting good gains, converting firsts and, on one drive, being unstoppable to the end zone.
The defense never stopped. The shutout says it all. Bradley lets the kids taste blood. Nick Reed responded by hitting Steven Jackson in the backfield. That exemplified the incredible depth Seattle showed. The secondary was solid. Nickel corner Josh Wilson was sound in cover and just missed a pick six. Seattle lost two of its elite linebackers and Will Herring and David Hawthorne subbed in without the defense slipping. Herring made a few nice plays in cover and Hawthorne exhibited his strength as a run stopper.
This is the way you start a season. This is the way a new regime steps in and asserts its authority. This is how a team starts on the road to a special season: One week at a time.
Game Ball: The Twelfth Man. When Seattle was lagging and Matt Hasselbeck losing his brains all over the field, the fans stepped up and deafened St. Louis into two false starts and three time outs spent. The men and women of Qwest earned that blowout.