St. Louis Rams
It’s safe to say that the Seattle Seahawks are breathing a collective sign of relief after last night’s surprisingly close victory over the St. Louis Rams. In a game that some people expected to be a blow out, Seattle gave everyone a reason to stay tuned until the final snap. Russell Wilson was sacked seven times, Seattle only had 135 total yards, and the referees probably have sore arms from throwing penalty flags all night long. But on the bright side, the Seahawks walked away from the game with a win. Here’s five reasons why this ugly victory was not too bad looking in retrospect.
1. Earl Thomas And The Legion of Boom Were Studs.
Not that there was much doubt, but Earl Thomas and the backside of the Seahawks defense showed why they are elite. Earl Thomas was literally everywhere last night on his way to tallying ten tackles. He covered ever inch of the field and laid down some of the biggest hits of the night. An all to usual interception by Richard Sherman and big time coverage by Brandon Browner also left Kellen Clemens frustrated from start to finish.
2. The D-Line Looked Hungry.
Seattle’s defensive front has been much improved this year and they showed it again last night. Kellen Clemens seemed to be rushed on almost every play as the Seahawks threw an impressive variety of personnel and looks at him. In the end Seattle only had three sacks, but I’m sure Kellen Clemens was looking at that stat line in disbelief this morning.
3. A Goose Egg In The Turnover Department
After watching Russell Wilson fumble twice last week against the Cardinals, turnovers obviously appeared to be a point of emphasis in this game for the Seahawks. Seattle was perfect in the turnover department against the Rams. In a game that really was decided by only a couple plays, winning the turnover battle was crucial.
4. Close Games Build Character
It’s nice to watch Russell Wilson throw three touchdown passes and see Marshawn Lynch run for over a hundred yards in a blow out win but close games are where teams learn about who they are. The goal line stand the Seahawks pulled off last night was a good indication of what they’re capable of. There’s a good chance that some where down the road (possible in January or Febuary) Seattle will face a similar situation and it’s good to know they will be ready.
5. A Win Is A Win In The NFL.
I had numerous things I was prepared to mention had the Rams pulled off the upset last night. I would have talked about the inability of Seattle’s offensive line to do anything spectacular in the run game or passing game. I would have talked about how the Seahawks lost to a struggling team that was starting their backup quarterback. And I probably would have mentioned that the Seahawks need to be better if they want to live up to their lofty expectations for this season. However, somehow they managed to absorb everything that went wrong against the Rams and still come out victorious. On any given Sunday anybody can beat anybody in this league so a win is never a reason to be discouraged. Okay, maybe in this case I should have said any given Monday but you get the point.
The Seahawks defense came up with a last-second goal line stand to boost Seattle to a 7-1 record and a 14-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football.
Heavy-favorites coming into the contest, the Seahawks played sloppy from start to finish and survived just long enough to leave St. Louis with the win. The offense totaled just 135 yards and the defense allowed 339 yards to a team that was only a week removed from losing its star quarterback.
Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens, who started because of Sam Bradford’s torn ACL, threw for 158 yards and two interceptions, but also orchestrated a six-minute, 96-yard drive at the end of the fourth quarter that came three yards short of upsetting the Seahawks.
The Seattle defense, which was outplayed for most of the evening, came up with a tough fourth-down stop on their own 3-yard line with four seconds left in the game to preserve the win for the Seahawks.
Greg Zuerlein kicked the first points of the game to give the Rams an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter. The Seahawks offense, meanwhile, managed just 17 total yards in the quarter and punted the ball away on all three of their possessions.
In the second, Russell Wilson found Golden Tate for a 2-yard score to give the Seahawks a 7-3 lead.
The Seahawks took the lead into halftime despite being utterly outplayed for the entire half.
The Rams had 131 total yards in the first half, while Seattle had just 38, third fewest in the NFL in a first half this season. Wilson only had nine passing yards in the half.
The difference in the game was two interceptions by the Seattle defense, one of which set up the touchdown.
In the third quarter, Zuerlein kicked his second field goal, this one from 28 yards out that narrowed the Seattle lead to 7-6. On the Seahawks’ next possession, Wilson found Tate for an 80-yard touchdown that made it a 14-6 affair.
Tate finished the game with five catches for 93 yards, 80 of which came on the touchdown.
In the fourth, Zuerlein kicked another field goal and the score was 14-9. He finished the day 3-for-4, his longest field goal coming from 33 yards away.
Wilson was under pressure for the entire night and was forced to adapt once again to a poor offensive line that was outplayed for the whole game. He was sacked seven times, hit 10 times, and went 10 for 18 for 139 yards and the two touchdowns.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for just 23 yards on eight carries. The Rams’ Zac Stacy rushed 26 times for 134 yards against a defense that had only allowed 91 yards per game coming into the contest.
The Seahawks will return home in Week 9 to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7), one of two winless teams left in the NFL.
Five of the Seahawks last eight games of the season will be played at CenturyLink Field, where they have won 11 consecutive games.
Monday Night Football is at 5:40 p.m. tonight as the Seahawks look to finish the first half of the season at 7-1 while the Rams look to prove they can win without quarterback Sam Bradford.
Will the Seahawks beat their second-straight NFC West opponent? Or will the Rams surprise the nation in a city focusing on the World Series?
Here is the broadcast information so you don’t miss any of the action:
Game: Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams
Kickoff: 5:40 p.m. PT, 7:40 p.m. local time
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
TV: Broadcast nationally on ESPN
Radio: 710 ESPN Radio & 97.3 FM
Online: NFL Game Rewind, which will be available as soon as the game
This is the opportunity for Seattle to make another statement to the West — “you’re not catching up”.
The hole has been dug, now Seattle needs to bury St. Louis in their proverbial grave and shovel dirt back on top of it. With home games remaining against both the Cardinals and Rams after this week, a win here puts Seattle too far away for either of those teams to catch up, only half way through the season.
It’s one of those games that seems all too easy, what with Bradford out and the Rams struggling defensively. But in the NFL you just cannot take a game like this for granted. It’s still Monday Night Football, it’s still a division rival (and boy do they hate Seattle) and the Rams still believe they can beat Seattle in St. Louis. The Hawks will get their best shot, even if it doesn’t look like much.
Last season’s game in the Lou was a defensive masterpiece by the Rams, so Seattle will have to come out and score early to break the will of that blue and gold defense. It’s pretty clear the Rams offense won’t be in high gear, but laziness won’t do against the speed that they put on the field. I don’t anticipate a lazy game from Seattle’s D, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Don’t mess around Hawks! Bury them! Bury them deep!
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford exited Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers with a torn ACL in his left knee and will be out for the rest of the season, according to ESPN.com.
The Rams also confirmed the injury on the team’s official Twitter account:
An MRI confirmed that #Rams QB Sam Bradford suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). He will miss the remainder of the 2013 season.
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) October 21, 2013
Bradford’s injury puts the Rams in an interesting situation at quarterback.
As of Monday, the only quarterback on their roster — or practice squad for that matter — is eight-year veteran Kellen Clemens.
Clemens took Bradford’s place in the fourth quarter on Sunday and went 2-for-4 for 19 yards.
Originally drafted out of Oregon by the New York Jets in 2006, Clemens has only played in 31 career games, 12 of which he started. In those games, he completed 51.8 percent of his passes (198-for-382) for 2,290 yards, seven touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In a press conference on Monday, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said the team has “a process in place” in acquiring another quarterback this season.
Regardless, Clemens will get the nod against the Seahawks when they visit the Rams on Oct. 28:
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) October 21, 2013
Even with Bradford at the helm, the Rams have only managed 228.1 passing yards per game, 18th in the league.
The Seahawks have allowed 190.6 passing yards per game, second-fewest in the NFL.
The last time the teams met was the regular season finale last season at CenturyLink Field, which the Seahawks won, 20-13.
The last time the Seahawks played at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis was Week 4 of last year, where they fell 19-13 for their second loss of the season.
Bradford was 16 of 30 for 221 yards and an interception.
The Seattle Seahawks took the league by storm in 2013, thanks to the always competitive Pete Carroll and an unlikely rookie sensation in quarterback Russell Wilson.
Backed by an elite rushing attack lead by Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks worked with their nasty defense to go 11-5 and make it to the second round of last year’s playoffs. With all of the same pieces intact, plus sound additions like cornerback Antoine Winfield and defensive end Michael Bennett, Seattle’s defense should be even scarier in 2013.
The team also improved on offense, adding the explosive Percy Harvin via trade, while also drafting former Texas A&M running back, Christine Michael. While Harvin is out (hip) until late November, his presence could still be felt late in the year as the Seahawks make another playoff push.
All we know for sure is this is still a very deep and balanced team on both sides of the ball and they’re fully expected to make another deep run in 2013 and fans in Seattle are excited. Currently, the average price of Seattle Seahawks tickets is $253. With that said, let’s take a look at how much it will cost for their NFC West games, at home and on the road.
- (9/15) vs. San Francisco 49ers | Avg: $473 | Get-in: $203
Clearly this is an expensive game, but few 49ers/Seahawks games will be more hyped than this one. It’s their first battle of the year and it’s in Seattle. It’s a toss-up, but it goes for 87% more than the home average for the Seahawks.
- (12/22) vs. Arizona Cardinals | Avg: $212 | Get-in: $75
This week 16 meeting with Arizona is Seattle’s cheapest home division game, which is ironic because it’s the one they’re most likely to win. Still, it’s actually a solid deal at 16% below their home game average for the season.
- (12/29) vs. St. Louis Rams | Avg: $222 | Get-in: $75
Seattle’s home/season finale against a competent division rival. Booyah. A lot could be on the line in this one, yet it’s still 12% under the Hawks’ home game average. It should be a tough battle, but the Seahawks are the better team and should prevail to enter the playoffs on a high note.
- (10/17) @ Arizona Cardinals | Avg: $119 | Get-in: $31
Seahawks fans get a discount in the first meeting with the Cardinals, but they’ll have to take it to the road to get it. This one should be a win on paper, yet it’s almost $100 cheaper than the battle in Seattle.
- (10/28) @ St. Louis Rams | Avg: $143 | Get-in: $29
Seahawks and Rams get another bargain here, as St. Louis is good enough to give the Seahawks a run for their money, yet this one is cheaper than their other showdown by about $80 on average.
- (12/8) @ San Francisco 49ers | Avg: $243 | Get-in: $79
This December meeting understandably isn’t going to be quite as intense as the first meeting in September, but it actually is the more important game. Even so, it’s over $200 cheaper than the first game these two wage war in.
The NFC West was considered one of, if not the best division in all of the National Football League before the 2013 draft and they took significant steps forward once the draft started as well. In this series we’ll look at some winners and losers throughout the division from the 2013 NFL Draft.
A decisive winner in this draft is one Mr. Sam Bradford, the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. He wins on a lot of levels and for a lot of reasons. After losing Steven Jackson and Brandon Gibson in free agency, the quarterback was starring down the barrel of a decisively less loaded gun going into last weekend but I bet he busted a move similar to any number number of touchdown dances he has been concocting after the 4th round pick of offensive guard Barrett Jones, the 6’4″, 306 pound hogmollie out of Alabama. He just couldn’t help himself, is what I’m thinking.
The Rams had already drafted the record setting, West Virginia combo of Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey the first two nights, which had to have put Bradford into a comfortable coma for the first time since the end of the season. Then he wakes up and the Rams staff secures his offensive line with a well known name from an elite college program. A line, by the way, that was already bolstered by the free agency acquisition of Chris Long at the left tackle spot.
Not to be forgotten is the additional pickup of tight end Jared Cook via free agency and the return of receivers Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Chris Givens. The Rams offense is a different monster and will be a completely new challenge for defensive coordinators around the league and especially in the conference. Here’s a link to a good article on the new Rams’ identity by Ramblin’ Fan.
One of the best things about this time of year, and my role here at 12thMR, is getting invited to participate in mock drafts with draft experts from around the country. This week, I took part in a 2 round mock for FPFootball.
There were 8 people involved, one picking for every team in a division. I, of course, was picking for the teams in the NFC West.
Picking for teams other than the Seahawks in a draft like this was an interesting challenge. I tried to prepare and make sure I knew what each team needed and the types of players they prefer, but I doubt the fans of those teams will like the decisions I made.
I can say that I took picking for our division rivals seriously. A lot of these picks are ones that I hope they don’t make when the real draft finally gets here in April.
Take a look. And be sure to click the above link to see how the entire 2 round draft unfolded. Let me know in the comments how bad I did.
Strategy: Fix the offense, especially the offensive line.
Drafted Players: QB Geno Smith, OT Terron Armstead
The original plan was to select OT Eric Fisher at #7, but he came off the board before then. That also meant that when Geno Smith dropped to the Cardinals it became a no brainer. They need a franchise QB, and he’s likely the only one in this draft class.
Besides, the Cardinals were able to draft Terron Armstead in round 2. He’s a bit of a project compared to the first round tackles, but he has a high ceiling and will be better than the embarrassingly bad tackles who played the position for Arizona last season.
Strategy: Get Sam Brandford some weapons
Drafted Players: WR Tayvon Austin, S Jonathan Cyprien, TE Zach Ertz
Austin provides the Rams with instant upgrade for the offense. He’s not a classic route runner type wide receiver, but he’s still a dynamic athlete that will help Bradford. Ertz was the best player available in round 2 and made too much sense not to select. I know the Rams signed Cook in free agency, but he’s almost exclusively a receiver and offers nothing in terms of in-line blocking. Ertz adds an element that is missing in the offense, as well and just being an overall talent upgrade for the roster.
Jonathan Cyprien is a pick that will likely get some “what the heck?” comments. After Austin was taken, Cyprien gave me a chance to change the script by taking who I thought was the best player available. Safety isn’t a huge need for the Rams, but getting Cyprien gives them a young safety to pair with their young CBs and D-line as they build that defense for the future.
Strategy: Seahawks only have 1 pick in the first 2 rounds. Make it count by getting a playmaker.
Drafted Players: Khaseem Greene, OLB – Rutgers
Greene was a player I didn’t think would be available at #56. He’s an outstanding OLB who, like the other starting LBs in Seattle, is versatile enough to play multiple LB spots. Good against both the run and in coverage, Greene would give Seattle one of the best 4-3 linebacking groups in the entire NFL. I was more interested in getting a starting 3-tech DT, but none were on the board that I was comfortable taking at this spot.
Strategy: Fix the secondary, especially safety.
Drafted Players: S Matt Elam, CB Desmond Trufant, WR Quinton Patton
Elam was the best safety on the board, and will start right away. Trufant further upgrades their secondary, which is the closest thing to a weakness you’ll find in the 49ers defense.
Patton at the end of round 2 was good value, and provided them with another option at WR, where they need additional talent around their young QB. Thought about taking TE Travis Kelce here to replace the recently departed Delanie Walker, but Patton was above him on my draft board and also filled a need.
My countdown continues with the 2004-2005 season. In case you were wondering, that picture to the right is no mistake. Jerry Rice did in fact play in one season for the Seattle Seahawks. In 2004 Rice requested a mid-season trade from the Raiders and ended up on a Seahawks squad that was looking for a veteren presence in their recieving corps. While he did not have a huge impact, it was fun to have him in Seattle for a season.
Hopefully, 2004 will one day be bounced out of the top 10, but until it is, this is what we have. 2004 was a bitter sweet year for the Seahawks. They won the NFC West for the second time under Mike Holmgren, earning the title on the last game of the season with a dramatic 4th quarter two-point conversion stop against Atlanta.
As fate would have it, Seattle earned the 4th seed in the playoffs with a 9-7 record. St. Louis squeaked in to the playoffs with an 8-8 record good enough for a 5th seed match against the Seahawks. The Minnesota Vikings also finished with an 8-8 record, but St. Louis won the tie breaker with a superior conference record. Earlier in the season, Seattle had lost twice to St. Louis. What looked like a final chance to finish off an inferior yet pesky opponent turned sour from the start. The Rams jumped out to an early lead setting the stage for a Seattle comeback.
The Seahawks did manage to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but gave up a tying field goal, and game winning touchdown to the Marc Bulger-led rams in the 4th quarter. Sadly, not even the 12th Man could give the Seahawks that little boost they needed to finish off the Rams.
Despite the overall disappointment of this season, and the subpar season point differential of -2, this team beat out the ’99 squad because it did not suffer the second half collapse, and it was the first of four straight NFC West titles for the Seahawks. That, and it was the only one of the three remaining candidates that didn’t include Brian Bosworth on the roster.
By The Numbers:
Regular Season Record: 9-7 (AFC West Champion)
Playoff record: 0-1 (4 seed)
Points for: 371
Points against: 373
Turn overs forced: 35
Turn overs allowed: 27
Noteable opponetns and games:
Week 5: St. Louis Rams –The Rams team that included Marc Bulger, Issac Bruce, Torrey Holt, Marshall Faulk, and Steven Jackson simply had Seattle’s number. They won 33-27 in OT week 5, 23-12 in week 10, and 27-20 in the Wild Card Round. Shaun Alexander averaged over 132 yards per game against the Rams that season, but the Seahawks couldn’t find the end zone enough to match Marc Bulger’s passing attack.
Week 6: Tom Brady – New England QB The Seahawks lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions 20-30. Tom Brady completed passes to 8 different receivers and UW’s Correy Dillon ran for 105 yards.
Week 7: Emmit Smith – Arizona RB Emmit Smith recorded his final 100-yard rushing game with 106 yards against the Seahawks in a 25-17 Cardinals victory including the final touchdown of the game.
Week 11: Wes Welker – Miami Special Teams In 2004, Welker played for three different teams and didn’t catch a pass. In the game against Seattle, Welker returned 4 kicks and 3 punts for a total of 124 yards. The Seahawks won the game 24-17.
Week 12: Drew Bledsoe Buffalo – QB and ex-WSU Cougar Bledsoe threw for 275 yards, a TD and 3 INT’s. Willis McGahee ran for 116 yards and 4 TD’s on route to a 38-9 romp by the Bills.
Week 13: Shootout against the Cowboys The Seahawks lost a high octane Monday Night Football game 43-39 against the Dallas cowboys. Julius Jones of the Cowboys ran for 198 and 3 TDs yards. Jerry Rice of the Seahawks caught 8 passes for 145 yards and 1 TD, proving that he was still a solid contributer even in his later years as a player.
Week 14: Randy Moss – Minnesota WR The Seahawks survived a 4-catch, 104-yard, 1 TD performance by Randy Moss en route to a 27-23 victory. Behind Matt Hasselbeck’s 334 yards, and two second half field goals by Josh Brown the Seahawks secured the win.
Week 17: Michael Vick – Atlanta QB This was the season that Michael Vick took the Falcons to the NFC Championship game. Allthough Vick rested for most of the game, he would then go on to lead the Falcons to a win against the St. Louis Rams in the NFC divisional round. It was perhaps the only time that a large number of Seahawks fans have ever rooted for Michael Vick.
Offensive Standout: Shaun Alexander – 1,866 total yards, 20 total TD’s
Defensive Standout: Ken Lucas – 63 solo tackles, 8 assists, 6 INT, 1 pic 6, 1 forced fumbles.
Team Stat of the year: +8 turn over differential
Notable Draft Picks: Sean Locklear OT
That Year’s Super Bowl: XXIX New England Patriots 20 Philadelphia Eagles 17
With the Seahawks playing last night, and the game’s result leaving not wanting to discuss that game just yet, I thought I’d preview some of this weekend’s key games and provide come quick predictions on how I expect the games to unfold.
As I do with my Seahawks predictions, I’m going to base my predictions on the ratings from Pro Football Focus, I’m just going to go into less detail.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are much improved, and a perfect 3-0 at home. Their 15.0 rating in total defense and 7.2 in total offense are nothing to be scared of. Still, both are about league average, meaning neither is a true weakness either.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay’s 36.1 rating on offense is higher than I expected since they haven’t been as sharp as expected offensively as we’d expected. But that is stil an impressive rating, and they finally “got right” last week. The 22.5 rating on defense isn’t elite by any means, but it is much improved from last year when they were fairly dreadful on defense.
looking at just the ratings, you’d be led to believe that this should be a blowout in favor of the Packers. I simply don’t buy that. The Pack has been inconsistent this year, especially on offense. Add in that the Rams have been surprisingly good at home, and you get a fairly close game. I still think the Packers win, but I expect it to be close.
Packers 23 – Rams 20
After a whirlwind of a weekend in the NFL, the dust has finally settled. And while teams are developing game plans for this week’s opponent, I’d like to shed some light on a quiet, yet growing line of thought regarding, not only the Seattle Seahawks, but the entire NFC West.
Entering into the 2012 NFL season, it was widely believed that the class of the NFC as a whole, and most certainly for the NFC West, was the San Francisco 49ers. And with a 13-3 record in 2011, who’s to argue that? Returning all 11 of its defensive starters, while adding depth on the offensive line, as well as speed to its receiving corps, one would be remised to not entertain the thought that the 49ers were a shoe-in for a return to the NFC’s elite, and a deep playoff run. And while that’s all very well and good, entering Week 4 of the 2012 season has most experts scratching their head as to the resurgence of this once afterthought of a division.
Week 1 started off with a rare inter-division matchup, as the ‘Hawks travelled down to Glendale and lost out in a defensive battle, 20-16. Many looked at this as a disappointing effort on the Seahawks part- as most gave Arizona, and its Quarterback carousel, little respect. However, sitting at 3-0, and in most publications Top 10, this team is the epitome of what has become a defensively dominant, offensively efficient division. Many look to the Baltimore Ravens of old as a blueprint for this style of football, and since they won a Super Bowl utilizing it, why not? Kevin Kolb seems to be on the road to redemption, while the Arizona run game sorts itself out, the defense has kept this team undefeated, even beating New England AT HOME. A statement win that helped spark the conversation regarding the new NFC West. The NFC “Worst”, no longer my friends.
The Seattle Seahawks are 4th in Total Defense (yards per game), Arizona is 10th, the 49ers 11th, and even St. Louis is 19th. The Seahawks also lead the NFL in Scoring Defense, at 13 Points Per Game. The Cardinals are 2nd at 13.3, and the 49ers 11th at 21.7. 3 out of the 4 teams in this division boast top 15 defenses. The Rams, while sitting at 1-2 have been in all of their games, playing right alongside the Lions at home, beating the Redskins, and losing to a tough Chicago team at home. One play goes their way at the end of that Lions game, and you’ve got a one 3-0, and three 2-1 teams. I don’t know about you, but that’s something to be proud of. Talk about transforming an image that just a few years ago was reliant on West Coast Offenses, and “Greatest Shows on Turf”. Most called this division “soft”. And while these philosophies took the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams to Super Bowls, the general feeling I gather from the collective NFL is that this new physically dominant, brute force identity is definitely more roundly respected, if not borderline feared.
The NFL Power Pendulum is a-swingin’ 12th Man. The NFL is no longer shouting from their posts that we’re part of the NFC Worst. Rather, they’re whispering the idea that this could be the NFC BEST. It’s still early in the season, but if the returns are any indication, they might be right.
Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs
The latest news out of Arizona following their 27-17 defeat in their second preseason game is that John Skelton is now the favored quarterback. This should be considered an upset since the Cardinals gave up top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 pick to get Kevin Kolb before the 2011 season where he was largely considered the starting QB of the future for the organization. It also doesn’t speak that much for Skelton’s abilities, since it is largely due to Kolb’s complete ineffectualness.
There were a lot of missed opportunities and connections on offense for Arizona which might spell trouble. They have stud-receiver Larry Fitzgerald but without a quarterback to throw to him, it could mitigate his threat to opposing secondaries. The Cards also made a move at right tackle by moving D’Anthony Batiste to the starting lineup.
Arizona’s next game is Friday, August 17th at 7:00pm versus Oakland. I’ll have better insights on Arizona after this week’s game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tennessee Titans
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here since there are plenty of articles on this site already covering the game from various perspectives. Some macro-level analysis is that the defense is ferocious. (I realize I’ve been using odd adjectives lately in describing Seattle’s defense, but I promise it’s not hyperbole.) Seattle has the type of defense that will keep the Hawks in the game no matter what the score is. They are ball-hawking much more and just looking to lay hits on receivers. It will be a lot of fun to watch. Seattle beat the Titans 27-17.
Both Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn played well. Both had one pick. At this point, my guess is that Flynn will start, but if Wilson can continue to improve, he could be Seattle’s future starter and make Flynn’s resigning anything but certain. Rookie running back Robert Turbin showed potential but still had trouble finding some gaps. The offensive line also needs to cohere much more. It looked like five really good players playing separately instead of one awesome unit which will hopefully happen after a few more games.
The Seahawks also had no penalties on either side of the ball in the first half. Alex Barron broke the streak in the third quarter with a false start penalty. This is not acceptable at home and considering he has a history of drawing penalties it probably hurt his standing in making the team.
Seattle’s next game is Saturday, August 18th at 6:00pm at Denver.
St. Louis Rams @ Indianapolis Colts
Admittedly, all I saw of this game were the highlights which basically meant a lot of Andrew Luck. The Rams got shellacked by a score of 38-3. That being said, the Rams are a very young team and have a lot of experience to gain. They have a new coaching staff and will most likely be a lot better during the season, especially later, than they are right now. There isn’t a lot of insight to be garnered from the game, good or bad. Sam Bradford is the starting quarterback and the Rams’ receivers will at least start the season healthy. There was also little to gain by give Steven Jackson a lot of touches since he has nothing to gain and a lot to lose.
The Rams play next on Saturday, August 18th at 5:00 pm vs. Kansas City.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Niners beat the Vikings 17-6 but are providing good evidence to anybody that believes in a bell curve or mean-regression theory. The Niners have just signed two more tight ends following Delanie Walker hurting his knee. The news on Aldon Smith is all but positive and it could be a while before we the Niners see him on the field which is hurting them at linebacker. Quarterback Scott Tolzien has made himself part of the conversation for backup and is competing with Colin Kaepernick. Brandon Jacobs went 4-for-4 on carries and first downs and looks to be a solid companion to Frank Gore during the season.
The 49ers hope to build on last season but will face a much tougher schedule and division. They have brought in players that bolster their smash-mouth style but will almost certainly be affected by injuries more than they were last season. The linebackers are already facing several, and this will make imposing death-by-fieldgoal on opponents that much harder. I’m not convinced Moss will be a factor since Alex Smith does not have a very strong deep throw. The will need to figure out a way to score more touchdowns in 2012 if they hope to win the division.
The Niners play next at Houston on Saturday, August 18th at 5:00pm.
Our NFL preview is rapid drawing to a close with just 2 more teams left to go. Today we visit the one team in the NFC west that isn’t very west at all; that being the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams are coming off a very disappointing season in 2011. In 2010 it took a week 17 loss to the Seahawks to keep them from winning the division and making the playoffs. There was high hopes for the Rams in 2011, but instead they hit rock bottom going just 2-14.
Helping me out today is Justin Stine from Ramblin Fan.
Biggest Team Need Heading Into Offseason: When talking about the Rams, it might be easier to focus on what they don’t need. QB is set with Sam Bradford, and the Rams are set at MLB and at DE. Other than that, the Rams could use help across the board. OLB is probably the biggest area of need at this point, but it’s far from the only one.
Key Free Agents Retained: Danny Amendola
Key Player Additions: Cortland Finnegan, Scott Wells, Kendall LangfordKey Players Leaving: Justin King, Jacob Bell, Brandon Lloyd
Quick Thoughts on Draft: The Rams pulled off one of the biggest draft trades in recent history, and it helped them land a nice group of picks that helped fill holes. Michael Brockers is going to help immensely on the defensive line, and Janoris Jenkins will be the steal of the draft if he stays out of trouble. Adding Brian Quick and Chris Givens will help the receiving corps, and Isaiah Pead is a much-needed backup for Steven Jackson
Quick Thoughts on 2012 schedule: For a team that won only two games last season, the Rams have a pretty difficult schedule in 2012. Week 1 at Detroit is daunting, as are games against Green Bay and New England back to back in Weeks 7 and 8. Games against Buffalo, Washington and Miami look at least winnable, but there aren’t many smooth stretches.
Most Interesting Roster Battle: I will be watching the battles at CB and WR very closely. The Rams added Finnegan and two draft picks at corner, and Bradley Fletcher shoud be healthy. The Quick and Givens additions at receiver should make things interesting for guys like Greg Salas, Danario Alexander and Austin Pettis.
Biggest Strength Heading Into 2012: Sam Bradford should be poised for a big season, and Steven Jackson is a rock. Chris Long, Robert Quinn and others at DE are a solid group, and James Laurinaitis is as good as it gets in the middle.
Biggest Weakness Heading Into 2012: The Rams addressed several needs this offseason, but they have been unable to do much at OLB. It will be interesting to see how they address the issue before the season starts.
Biggest Question Still To Be Answered: I’m a firm believer in Sam Bradford as a franchise QB, but after last season I think it’s fair to list him as the biggest question. If he gets back to being the Sam Bradford most people think he can be, this team should be greatly improved. If not, the Rams may have to look elsewhere for the future.
2012 Prediction: The Rams will be better, but they might be at least a year or two from competing for the playoffs. I’ll say 6-10 this season, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they won anywhere from 3 on the low end to 9 or 10 if everything fell perfectly.
The Rams had one of the best drafts ever this past April. They moved down just a few spots and got 2 additional first round picks as well as a 2nd rounder for doing so. That one trade alone will provide this rebuilding team a backbone of talent for which to grown around. The problem is that it’ll take a couple seasons before the Rams can make all those high picks, and see the full benefit of that trade, and they’re going to have to wait until then before they’re ready to compete.
Michael Brockers and improved CB play, to go along with good DEs already in place, should create a much improved pass defense. The Rams also had one of the league’s worst run defenses last season, and it’s tough to see how any improvement will be made there.
On offense, the receivers should be better, though much younger so there will likely be some growing pains. I like that they got Pead to back up Jackson at RB, and eventually take over for the future hall of famer. My worries here is that the offensive line is a still a major weakness. Keeping Bradford upright and healthy could be a problem again this season.
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