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October 19, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Impressions from Seahawks’ defeat Sunday to Rams

Here are three impressions of Seattle’s 28-26 loss to St. Louis Sunday from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.


1, The Seahawks tried to get back to their roots but with mixed results. Running back Robert Turbin said the Seahawks’ game plan featured a lot of plays involving the fullback in an effort to return to the smash mouth style that has become their calling card under Pete Carroll. But judging how the Seahawks did in that department is tricky. They rushed for 171 yards and averaged nearly six yards per carry, but Russell Wilson’s scrambling and mobility accounted for 106 of those yards. Marshawn Lynch got the ball 18 times but averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. True, the Seahawks were without fullback Derrick Coleman, whose broken bone in his foot during warmups forced Turbin into emergency duty at fullback. But the Seahawks still need to get more out of Lynch, who just didn’t have much room to work with other than one 13-yard carry. Lynch has now gone six straight games without 100 rushing yards; he also did that last year in the final six games of the season.

2, The pass rush is still an issue. The Seahawks have talked all year about improving their pass rush, but it just hasn’t clicked. Rams quarterback Austin Davis had plenty of time to throw, and the Seahawks didn’t record a sack. The pass rush was one of Seattle’s biggest strengths last season, and it led to a number of turnovers. The Seahawks have just five turnovers through six games and didn’t record any against the Rams. They also have just two interceptions after leading the NFL last season with 28 picks, five more than the next closest team. The Seahawks need to start getting more pressure if their defense is to resemble the unit that led them to the Super Bowl.

3, The Seahawks just aren’t as deep. It’s true that the Seahawks retained most of their key pieces from last year’s Super Bowl team. But they also lost a lot of core backups in the offseason. The second-team defensive line hasn’t been as good as last year’s unit was, and the depth at cornerback, a strength a year ago, has been an issue this season. It’s impossible in the salary-capped NFL to keep teams intact. The Seahawks were the deepest team in the NFL last year and had many backups or role players who could have been starters on a number of teams. But that just isn’t the case, and they don’t have the depth to makeup for key injuries like they did a year ago.

And Condotta

1. So the burning question — were the Seahawks distracted today by the Percy Harvin trade? Here’s my hot take on that — I don’t know.  I wish I did. I wish I could really read into people’s souls like that. But no one can. And even then, every player is different an reacts differently. It’s easy to look at the 21-3 hole and say they were distracted early. But they also held the Rams three-and-out on the first possession and then had a nice drive for a field goal to take a lead before it began to fall apart. I think this is just a different team with some pressing issues that are coming to the fore. I think you could also argue that if Harvin were really a huge distraction, then they wouldn’t have rallied the way they did. When the Rams lined up to punt with 2:55 left, I think everyone in the building thought the Seahawks were going to win the game. I don’t think the Harvin trade had anything to do with what happened next.

2. The lack of turnovers is getting worrisome. A Seattle team that had 39 turnovers last season remains stuck at five this year after not getting any against the Rams. The pass rush certainly is part of it. Quarterbacks aren’t being hit as much and fumbling or hurrying throws as they did last year.  QBs also appear to have more places to go this year to avoid Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas due to injuries and personnel changes elsewhere in the back seven. And maybe teams are also simply playing the Seahawks smarter this season — winning a Super Bowl tends to lead to lots of off-season film work by opponents. Regardless, Seattle has to figure out a way to get more turnovers and the easy points that come with them.

3. The special teams have taken a dip. So that’s easy to say after a game like this, I know. But it’s also a way to piggyback on Jayson’s point about the depth. Seattle’s depth last year was one reason the special teams were so good. But with some shakier depth, the special teams are also just not quite as dynamic. Golden Tate brought something to the punt return game that hasn’t been replaced yet. And Harvin’s kick return ability may be the one aspect of his game Seattle will miss the most. But Seattle also may miss guys like Heath Farwell and Chris Maragos in other areas. And the loss of a guy like Derrick Coleman today had Kevin Norwood playing a key role on special teams — maybe Coleman makes that tackle on the long kickoff return. Just one of the things piling up for the Seahawks right now.


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