Being a fan of the Seattle Seahawks has been very rewarding over the last few years. Becoming one of the NFL’s elite franchises tends to have that effect. The team has been in contention for a win in every single game for the last four seasons. It doesn’t seem like the competitive level they reside at is diminished at all.
Watching the Seahawks play is generally like a summer day. A stressful summer day, but a summer day nonetheless. It’s a beautiful thing to behold. There is always a feeling of hope on the back-burner; a notion that somehow, through some miraculous channel, Russell Wilson will make a play or the defense will cause a crucial turnover that will seal the game and make everything bright, flowery, and joyous.
Games against the Los Angeles Rams are nothing like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stan Kroenke is the reason that it rains so much in Seattle, because the Rams are the cloud that fucks up all of the summer day festivities. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in the park with your best pals, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald zap you like lightning bolts and fry every one of your hopes and dreams. Lamarcus Joyner and Alec Ogletree rain down from the heavens and drench your will to continue the merrymaking.
The perpetual 7-9 franchise lurks over Seatown like a predatory bird about to snatch its prey out of the water. Like a, say… Seahawk?
One thing I've learned about Rams games is that I hate them and they're the worst.— Mike Bar (@SeahawkScout) September 18, 2016
Simply put, Rams games suck.
Despite Seattle losing on Sunday in one of the most aggravating ways possible, there are positives to glean. Let’s take a gander, shall we?
Most of the focus on Michael’s performance will lean towards the game-ending fumble. This is unfortunate, as he had a truly impressive performance aside from the turnover. Rushing for 60 yards on 10 carries is no fluke. Michael has looked legit as a runner thus far in 2016.
His best run of the day took place in the 3rd quarter:
Mark Barron crashes past the left side of the offensive line, which Michael recognizes immediately as he receives the handoff. He cuts to the right and speeds through a crease between two collapsed defenders before juking Alec Ogletree and then Trumaine Johnson out of their shorts. Michael then falls forward, with T.J. McDonald draped all over him, for the 10 yard gain and a first down.
While Thomas Rawls will likely see more of a workload moving forward, Michael has earned carries in this offense, especially against a defense as stout up the middle as Los Angeles.
A preseason Hall of Famer, Clark came into this season bombarded with questions about whether or not he could build on a quasi-impressive rookie year. While he dominated backups with ease, could he face the real deal and live up to the hype?
Clark has delivered and then some so far this season. He leads the Seahawks with three sacks in only two games and has looked quite sturdy against the run. The talk leading up to the season suggested that Clark would be rushing from the outside more often and yet he does things like this that bring him back to the inside time and time again:
Seattle lines up in an interesting formation, with Avril at left end, Bennett inside him, and Clark at the other tackle position, all to the right of the center. With no in-line tight end, this guarantees one-on-one matchups with their linemen. Clark doesn’t even bother with the matchup, as he blows right past the center at the snap. Keenum barely has time to complete his drop back before Clark is on top of him.
We’ve known that Clark has talent worthy of a top 10 pick for a while, but if he is truly putting it together as well as it seems he is, this Seattle defensive line is even scarier than previously thought.
Earl Thomas and Lockett were two of the worst players on the field in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. I was not worried in the least, as it was apparent they would bounce back. Thomas looked like his normal self in Week 2. While he didn’t make any big plays, he didn’t miss any tackles and looked like the ET3 we know and love.
Lockett, on the other hand, exploded onto the scene and repeatedly violated the Rams’ backup corners. He ended up with four receptions for 99 yards, not including this great catch that was called back for offensive pass interference:
Wilson has more than an instant to set up and throw before lofting a ball down the left sideline. Lockett, has a step on the defensive back the whole way. The corner trips after brief hand-fighting and Lockett leaps over his falling carcass and hauls in the slightly underthrown pass.
A very ticky-tacky call in nature, I slot this play in as a success for Lockett. There wasn’t much else he could do and he made a great play on the ball.
The most impressive catch of the day came moments before the Rams put the game away:
Lined up outside on the left, Lockett gives the quickest stutter before running deep over the top of the corner. Wilson is given adequate protection to pump-fake and then fling the ball down field. With the defensive back draped all over him, the football dropping over Lockett’s opposite shoulder. He hauls in the incredible reception with ease before almost breaking away. The corner trips him up at the last second, preventing a long touchdown and preserving a win for the Rams.
While the drive and game didn’t end up how we all would’ve liked, Lockett keeps showing us that he is the real deal and that his connection with Wilson is no joke. Expect big things from No-E this year and moving forward.
–The offense has looked lifeless for the first two weeks, but that won’t last. There are too many weapons for this team to score 15 points over two games. The scheme will adjust and the points will come. Count on it.
–I will say it again: The Rams are a nightmare matchup for the Seahawks normally. Russell being injured made it that much worse. Calm down, people. They’re the Rams. They’re going to shit all over the rest of the NFC West too. It will all even out in the end.
–Speaking of the NFC West, the entire field is 1-1 after two games. So are Carolina and Green Bay. Pretty ideal circumstances.
–It looks like Russell is alright coming out of the game. While he was hindered, Wilson should only continue to get better and better as he adjusts to his increased residency in the pocket.
–How in the hell did Bradley Sowell not get called for at least twelve false starts? Whatever, I’ll take it.
–Germain Ifedi needs to get healthy now. Next week is probably doable without him, but playing the Jets with J’Marcus Webb is my greatest nightmare. Leonard Williams is already penciling himself in for three sacks.
–Jarran Reed is awesome. So, so awesome. There’s really no other way to put it. Steal.
–K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner look fantastic and deserve to be in the conversation with Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly for the best linebacker duo in the NFL.
–I feel pretty sorry for Cassius Marsh. His sack-turned-facemask penalty that extended the Rams’ final drive and took precious time off of the clock turned from such an emotional high to such a low in a matter of seconds. I am still encouraged by the growth I’m seeing from him as a pass rusher. He deserves to be on the field and it shows.
–DeShawn Shead was picked on by Case Keenum. While it’s not encouraging, he played well enough against the Dolphins that I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt moving forward. Kenny Britt is honestly a pretty decent receiver. He’s just stuck in a terrible offense.
–It’s pretty laughable that people are worrying about Thomas Rawls’ lack of production. Where was he supposed to run? He’s a punishing runner but you can’t expect him to make something out of a play where there are three Rams in the backfield immediately after the snap. When Ifedi gets healthy and there’s some semblance of blocking, he’ll get going. His skillset isn’t conducive when playing Los Angeles.
–It’s a long season. IT’S THE RAMS, people. This sort of thing always happens. Relax. Let’s go 1-0 this week against the 49ers. Go Hawks.