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Where was Ryan Neal against the Rams?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Of all of the questionable coaching decisions made by Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. this year as they guide the Seattle Seahawks through a turbulent early part of the season, giving Ryan Neal just six snaps Thursday night was almost too moronic to believe.

Against the San Francisco 49ers, Neal was brilliant, controlling the middle of the field for almost all of his 26 snaps (34% of Seahawks defensive snaps for the game). Yet, instead of putting him in coverage against Cooper Kupp, who has consistently eviscerated our defense, Norton went with the always-shoddy Jordyn Brooks. For absolutely no clear reason at all.

Instead of having Ryan Neal in coverage on Rams TE Tyler Higbee, after he was so successful against Niners TE George Kittle last week, we had to watch Jamal Adams get embarrassed on what was probably the lamest coverage I’ve ever seen on a corner route.

Why are we even trying with Adams in coverage at this point? Why not just stick Neal back there? It’s clear he’s simply better at coverage than Prez is (and much better than Jordyn Brooks is, obviously).

I was holding on to hope that the Seahawks might have had a good reason for holding Neal out. Maybe he was nursing his hamstring, which caused him problems at times last year. Maybe he just wasn’t feeling himself. Then I saw this justification from Pete.

If playing Ryan Neal wasn’t part of the game plan, I don’t know what football the Seahawks coaches have been watching, but it certainly isn’t any of what we’ve seen. This is an area that the Rams have always exploited against us, and although we can’t know if Neal would have provided a remedy for that, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt to give him a shot, especially considering who we had in coverage to start with.

This honestly feels worse than the Vikings game for me. I thought the defense had made progress against San Francisco, but it feels like the coaching staff is somehow taking even more steps backwards. Allowing 450 yards in four straight games ties an NFL record, and no other team who has ever done so has won more than 6 games in the season where the streak took place. I’m really starting to wonder if there’s any logic to this defense at all.