The Seahawks certainly don’t have the running game they once did.
We’re still waiting to see if they’re as deep up front as they once were.
But one thing that Seattle isn’t lacking is stubbornness. This team has that trait hardwired into the defense that showed why it remains the bedrock for the franchise. That’s just one of the things we learned in Sunday’s victory over the Rams:
Three things we learned
1. Seattle’s defense is at its best when its back is against the wall.
Seattle’s defense bent on Sunday in Los Angeles. It bent over backwards in fact, but it did not break, which is the only reason the Seahawks won that game. The Rams had the ball inside the Seattle 20 four different times. Those four red-zone possessions resulted in a total of three points as the Seahawks forced two turnovers and the Rams also missed a field goal. Throw in the fact that Los Angeles’ final possession reached the Seattle 20 and there were five times the Rams were within shouting distance of the end zone, but failed to get there. Before you chalk that up to good fortune, you should know that’s about par for the course this season. Seattle has allowed a touchdown on 23 percent of its opponents’ red-zone possessions, the lowest rate in the league. Whether that’s sustainable is another question entirely, but so far, Seattle’s defense has been at its best when it has mattered the most.
2. Jimmy Graham is a real-life red-zone threat.
Seriously. It’s not just some theoretical exercise. But it actually happened on Sunday. We all saw it. With our own eyes. Graham was isolated against a shorter player — in this case 6-foot safety James Johnson — on a play from the Los Angeles 4. Graham ran at Johnson before cutting out toward the sideline as Russell Wilson lofted a throw toward the corner, which gave Graham room to shield the defender with his 6-7 frame and make the catch. It looked so easy that you wondered why it has been so freaking hard for the Seahawks to utilize their tight end like that. “We’ve worked on it a lot,” coach Pete Carroll said, “and just for whatever reason, there’s only been a couple of them with the time that we’ve been here. So hopefully we can do that some more.”
3. The run game remains a running joke.
The Seahawks didn’t have a player rush for more than 20 yards in the game. They didn’t have a rushing play of more than 9 yards. In fact, they only had one explosive play according to Seattle’s own criteria and that was a 21-yard pass to J.D. McKissic. Five games has showed us that without any semblance of consistency on the ground, Seattle’s offense is going to run hot and cold depending entirely upon the rhythm of a quarterback who is often under siege. Seattle gained 144 of its 241 yards of total offense in the second quarter on Sunday when Russell Wilson was hot, completing nine of 11 passes on Seattle’s only touchdown drive. And unable to run the ball, the Seahawks were unable to close out the game, failing to gain so much as a single first down in the fourth quarter.