Time of knockout is a stat, I don't know who pioneered, but I became aware of through Matt Hinton, aka Dr. Saturday. Hinton used to blog for SB Nation. Time of knockout is the exact moment the winning team achieves a score the losing team will never surpass. It's relevant mostly as a measure of dominance. Dominant teams tend to "knock out" their opponents very early in a contest.
St. Louis accomplished that on their second drive of the game.
Point fingers as you will, Seahawks fans, but any fingers pointed away from the Seahawks ridiculously bad offense are fingers pointed in error.
Anyway, where were we? Rams driving. Steven Jackson running uncontested into the third level. Lawyer Milloy making a saving tackle. Yep.
Sam Bradford connects with Mark Clayton for 34. Can I tell you this could have been worse?
- Clayton's catch was two parts great catch, he twisted and contorted and never lost the ball in flight and snagged it in a manner that was nearly indefensible, and one part so-so coverage. Marcus Trufant was a little slack and didn't show much awareness where the ball was.
- However, had Bradford not locked on Clayton, and I'm not knocking the rookie, just pointing out, he could have had a touchdown. Danny Amendola scorched Roy Lewis and Lawyer Milloy and was a good step or two free, and gaining, wide open to the end zone. Ear Thomas bit hard, very hard, on a two-man wide receiver screen on the left and was too shallow and too far left to possibly recover. It could have been a touchdown, but that would have to wait a few plays.
- David Hawthorne strikes Clayton over the middle and forces Clayton to drop a reception. How about Hawthorne in coverage? That's a pleasant surprise.
- Mardy Gilyard points at Jordan Babineaux in off coverage, Bradford turns and targets but overthrows incomplete.
- Then, the touchdown.
- Kenneth Darby motions out of the backfield and pulls right corner Kelly Jennings wide left. This is where the play breaks down.
- Jennings wide forces Will Herring to motion wide and attempt to cover slot receiver Brandon Gibson. Gibson, by all indications, is the preferred target. Bradford's cagey about it though. He looks right-right-right, before looking left and firing. Herring doesn't do a poor job, but he's completely overmatched, and though he stays relatively tight underneath, it's hopeless given Bradford's accuracy.
- The failure, as much as there is a failure, is on Earl Thomas. Thomas is caught looking left a split-second too long and as Gibson breaks in, Thomas has no hope of recovering to cover. Touchdown.
- Tyler Polumbus attempts to cut Larry Grant but he doesn't and Grant recovers to tackle Justin Forsett.
- The Rams get an exceptional jump off the line, seemingly the entire front seven, Polumbus falls, but Seattle is rescued by seven blockers, a solid route by Deion Branch, and quality timing. Matt Hasselbeck finds Branch hooking back away from Bradley Fletcher and receives for ten and the first.
- Michael Robinson motions wide right. Hasselbeck takes the snap, looks at Robinson, looks at Robinson, Carlson flashes free between the linebacker and the safety, looks at Robinson, scrambles right and, just under five seconds into the play, finds Forsett underneath for five. I will never know what the hell went wrong on this play, but boy was it ugly.
- Seattle runs up the gut against a nickel blitz and it works. Chris Baker loses Chris Long and Long loops around to tackle Forsett after four.
- Chris Spencer turns Fred Robbins, both guards pull into the second level, Andrews contains his assignment, but Ben Hamilton loses his. Forsett hits the hole, is slowed by Grant coming off the block by Hamilton, escapes and is corralled in the open field by James Butler.
- Hasselbeck finds Mike Williams free on a short post pattern for eight.
- Robinson converts the first.
- James Hall spins through Russell Okung and nearly sacks Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck is able to sling it away split-seconds before the sack. It's initially ruled a sack but Carroll challenges and it's overturned.
- Justin King blows coverage and Stokely receives on a curl for an easy 12. Stokely was wide open.
- Forsett rushes for 11. There isn't a stand out moment here but that only underscores how much push Seattle's interior line generated.
- Illegal contact on Na'il Diggs. Pretty minor. Diggs chucks Carlson far too deep into his route for it to be legal, but this stuff happens quite a bit, and Diggs doesn't blow up or hold Carlson. Not flagrant but certainly flaggable and besides, wooo.
- Then things break down, and like a lot of plays in which fans are stuck watching Hasselbeck haver and not know why, it's not really clear how this play falls apart or why.
- Seahawks run play action and John Carlson appears to come wide open towards the right corner of the end zone, but Hasselbeck never looks at him. Instead, he watches Butler and targets Butler wide right as Butler breaks right. Very roughly speaking, Hasselbeck is right to lead Butler to his right, because that's where Butler is breaking and it's away from the Rams coverage, but Hasselbeck leads Butler way too much. He leads him high and wide and Butler stabs at the pass deflecting it. Bartell is in position to pick it, don't know if he would have, but Craig Dahl tips it away incomplete. The two get up and slap hands, no worries.
- It was that kind of game.
- Spencer and Andrews turn their defenders so that their backs are facing the right sideline and Forsett rushes for five. Y'know, I knocked Spencer, but he looks pretty dominant through a quarter. We shall see, but so far, the line was not at all the problem.
End of the first.