by Steezy A. Smith @steezyasmith, FTFN Seahawks writer
Despite the abysmal showing in last week’s defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills that left Seattle (6-2) reeling with two losses in their last three games, the Seahawks tend to bounce back rather nicely after a loss, which should make LA (5-3) quiver a little bit. You might as well BOOK an LA loss, especially if the Seahawks perform any of my keys down below!
While Seattle has exhibited improved offensive line play contrary to years past this season, they had arguably their worst performance of the season in last week’s loss at Buffalo. Jordan Simmons, fill-in for Mike Iupati, struggled immensely with four pressures. In addition, starting center Ethan Pocic, whose behind Seattle’s improved offensive line play this season, will miss his first game of the season due to a concussion. The Rams boast one of the best pass rushes in the league, indicative of their 25 sacks on the season, which ranks fifth in the National Football League. Even scarier, they boast the freak of nature that is two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald. Tied for the league-lead in sacks with 9 (coming from the defensive tackle position, remember that), Donald has made a LIVING in the Seattle backfield for years now and that is more likely than not going to continue in Sunday’s matchup. However, to neutralize him and the rest of that ferocious pass rush in Los Angeles, Seattle must incorporate a variety of quick routes that gets the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands in a few seconds to avoid getting pressured. Not only does Seattle have the requisite personnel to run that game-plan to perfection, they have the second coming of Megatron in DK Metcalf. As we have witnessed all season long, Metcalf’s speed is second to none, and with the ball in his hands in space, he can score from literally anywhere on the field, as long as the guys know how to run-block in front of him (looking at you David Moore). Again, don’t forget about the presences of Tyler Lockett and David Moore, two receivers who can also do some damage with the ball in space and in their hands. For Seattle to neutralize LA’s pass rush and cover up the deficiencies on the offensive line, the first and most ideal step would be to adapt a game-plan that focuses on a quick passing game.
At the time of this writing, the statuses of running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are still a mystery. While both have not practiced all week, both are listed as questionable. Head Coach Pete Carroll has expressed more confidence in Carson playing than Hyde, so if any of them are going to play, it is Carson. Respected for his toughness playing through injuries, I’d bet on Carson playing. He’s been a game-time decision the last two weeks, but I expect him to play. Although the Rams are tied for fifth in the league in fewest amount of rushing yards allowed, the Seahawks MUST take pressure off of Russell Wilson, as the running game hasn’t been very efficient or even existent, for that matter, in the last couple of weeks. Already burdening such a heavy load, a lion’s share of Russ’ turnovers have been a result of him pressing. Simply doing too much. Whether or not Carson and/or Hyde play, we need to run the football a LOT more to add some balance to the offense, as every team gets exposed playing one-dimensional. Not only that, running the football will open up play-action, which Russ and co. know a wholeeeeeeee lot about.
It’s really that simple. Don’t turn the ball over more than the other team (if at all) and force a few turnovers yourself. Despite not forcing any turnovers against Buffalo last week, Seattle is still top 3 in the league in takeaways, tied for third with 14. Apply some pressure on Jared Goff and you’ll start to wonder whether he actually resembles anything that of the likes of an NFL-caliber quarterback. Usually, that version of Goff results in a turnover fest, ideal for the ball-hawking ‘Hawks.
Let me know in the comment section below YOUR 3 KEYS to a Seahawks victory on Sunday, am I way off in my assessment? Don’t forget to get at me on Instagram @SteezyASmith, on YouTube @SteezyASmith, on Facebook at the same handle, and be sure to show some love to my fellow Seahawk content creators as well at @NorbCam & @DjSquabo. Go Hawks and I look forward to connecting with you guys all again!