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December 31, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Three things we learned: Seahawks 20, Rams 13

Three things we learned

1. Seattle’s 50-point-per-game offense was a mirage.
Well, maybe not a mirage per se. It actually happened, but that was in large part because of the 13 takeaways Seattle’s defense produced. Sunday was a reality check. Seattle’s offense is more methodical than explosive and efficiency is the best it can hope for. Points can still be a challenge for this team as they were against St. Louis.

2. The Seahawks will go as far as Russell Wilson takes them.
Seattle’s 90-yard, game-winning touchdown drive was a testament to Wilson’s playmaking from his ability to escape from St. Louis’ pass rush to his threat as a runner on the option keeper. The Seahawks began that drive with one imperative, coach Pete Carroll said: Give Wilson a chance to do his thing. The fact that Seattle faced only one third down on the drive and moved it 90 yards without the benefit of a penalty against the defense.

3. The overhaul of Seattle’s offensive overhaul is almost complete.
The Seahawks’ offensive line is composed of run-blocking roadgraders, which is almost the exact opposite of how it was constructed by the end of Mike Holmgren’s run as Seahawks coach. That group was better at pass blocking than getting a push up front in the run game. Now, Seattle is composed of bruisers on the ground who’ve got some work to do with protection. The fact that Seattle has scored first in 13 of its 16 games has lessened the ability of opponents to blitz, but Washington’s Jim Haslett is known for his propensity to rush the passer. Can Seattle handle Washington’s willingness to throw multiple defenders at Wilson?

Three things we’re still trying to figure out

1. Should Seattle have cut Russell Wilson loose sooner?
It’s a big question when you consider that none of Seattle’s five losses were by more than seven points, and one more victory would have given the Seahawks not only the NFC West championship but a first-round bye in the playoffs. The discussion won’t change Seattle’s situation going forward, but it’s something that will be debated because the Seahawks were so close to being in great position to start he playoff run.

2. Anyone seen Seattle’s pass rush?
Because it didn’t make anything more than a cameo appearance Sunday against St. Louis. Seattle’s third-down defense has been one of this team’s most enduring difficulties, and that is closely tied to its lack of a pass rush. The Seahawks didn’t have a sack Sunday, which made it remarkable the Rams were 2-for-11 on third down.

3. Have we underestimated Seattle’s defense?
The Seahawks allowed 245 points this season, the fewest in any year in franchise history. Yet the defense might be the biggest concern heading into the playoffs whether it’s a run defense that has proven porous at times over the past two months or a continuing inability to get off the field on third down. Seattle has not allowed any of its previous five opponents to score more than 20 points. Hard to remember when a team that allowed the fewest points in the league as been so consistently overlooked.


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