Lance Laury shoved David Roach aside and speared the football from Donnie Avery's grasp. The ball caromed to Will Herring and he fell on it for an easy recovery. It was all easy. Seahawks recover on the St. Louis 19. Without hardly an effort, their win probability shot up to 65%.
Ease cheapened the victory for many. The Rams were 2-14 in 2008 and nearly as bad per play as the winless Lions. Of course, Seattle was 4-12. Had it lost a slim victory against St. Louis in week 15, it would have been 3-13 and in a virtual tie with the 3-13 Rams. If Super Bowl contender is the beginning standard, a satisfying victory versus the Rams is unattainable. If 4-12 is the standard, yesterday was a hoot.
Seattle is not guaranteed to be a good team. It reinforced that doubt in the resulting offensive series.
John Carlson motioned out of tight end and Seattle aligned in a three wide receiver, "I" formation. The Seahawks attempted to stretch right, but Rob Sims and Max Unger struggled to sustain their blocks and the hole collapsed around Julius Jones.
Cameron Morrah motioned on the next play. He sprinted from right-tight to left wide out and turned an ultra-conservative, two tight end, single receiver, "I" formation into a moderately conservative two wide receiver-"I". The motion worked. Cornerback Jonathan Wade moved off wide receiver Nate Burleson and over to Morrah. Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe moved left to cover Burleson. Matt Hasselbeck ran a weak play action and gunned it to Burleson. The accuracy and timing were on. The pass targeted Burleson in the numbers, but between the ball and Burleson was Atogwe, the best player in St. Louis' secondary and likely the best defender on the Rams. If it were a decision, it was a bad decision, but the play was planned and Hasselbeck didn't read, he reacted. The motion moved the man and Burleson was functionally one-on-one.
A second before the snap, a shadow crosses the field. Seattle has turned a gimme turnover into third and ten. It splits three wide, tight end and matches Justin Forsett to Hasselbeck in the shotgun. Seattle sends out five to receive. The Rams drop seven. It's nickel-man defense with a two-deep zone. Underneath receivers Forsett and Carlson are open, but short of the first. Deon Butler is covered on the right. Burleson has separation out of his cut, but Hasselbeck's read is T.J. Houshmandzadeh running a seam route out of the slot. He takes a three step drop and fires high to Housh. He is double covered. Wade tips it and James Butler recovers.
Win probability, 52% -- Rams.