Clayton: Don’t expect Seahawks’ offense to use same strategy vs Rams that beat Washington

Dec 21, 2020, 3:30 PM
Seahawks Chris Carson...
Chris Carson led a run-first Seahawks attack in Sunday's 20-15 win over Washington. (Getty)

The Seahawks have played a lot of strange games this year.

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They have had four games in which the opposing team’s quarterback was in position to win or tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks made the timely stops to win each of them.

Sunday’s 20-15 win over Washington was the latest, and while it was strange, it’s not a game that deserves criticism. The criticism needed to be there for the 17-12 loss to the New York Giants in Week 13. That time, they didn’t play well.

So much of the criticism for Sunday’s game is on the offense. Russell Wilson dropped back to pass 27 times and only threw for 121 yards. The Seahawks had 26 running plays. It looked like a game from Wilson’s rookie year when the Seahawks were so run-oriented. The Seahawks didn’t let Russ cook, but this was the right offense to run against Washington.

The Washington defense is built much like San Francisco’s. The 49ers stress putting first-round draft choices along the defensive line, but the Seahawks have done well against it. The Washington Football Team also has five first-round defensive linemen, and to not commit turnovers and win the game, Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needed to find a way to neutralize the Washington line. That’s exactly what Seattle did, and it was smart.

Wilson got rid of the ball quickly. He didn’t get sacked. He was hit only three times.

What critics seem to be missing is that’s also what the Seahawks’ offense did last week against the New York Jets. The only difference is the Jets are terrible on defense.

The Seahawks’ strategy was to get running plays to the edge of the Washington defense. Washington was vulnerable to those plays, missing their two starting outside linebackers and losing another one during the game. A week ago, Wilson threw only 27 passes, was sacked once and hit only three times by the Jets. That’s two weeks in which his body didn’t get beat up like it does in most games. It should make Wilson fresher for the important Week 16 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

I would imagine Seattle’s offensive strategy will be different against the Rams. They probably will do more running between the tackles than to the outside. The Rams have good speed in their back seven. What will be interesting is to see how DK Metcalf will do against Jalen Ramsey, who dominated Seattle’s star wide receiver in their last meeting (two receptions for 28 yards).

The Seahawks’ defense took some criticism for being on the field so much in the second half. Washington had drives of 81, 64 and 31 yards in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to cut a 17-point lead to five.

Still, there were so many positive things that went right with the defense. The Seahawks only allowed 84 rushing yards. D.J. Reed has played so well at cornerback that he might keep the starting job on the other side of Shaquill Griffin even though Tre Flowers and Quinton Dunbar could be back this week. Griffin continues to play well. Jamal Adams how has 9.5 sacks in 10 games.

The amazing thing is what is going on with the pass rush. After just nine sacks in their first six games, the Seahawks have 31 in the past eight. Carlos Dunlap has been a beast and is getting healthier. Fellow defensive end Benson Mayowa played well Sunday. The Seahawks had four sacks and seven hits on the quarterback Sunday, and their 40 sacks this year are tied with New Orleans for the sixth-most sacks in the league. Amazing.

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Clayton: Don’t expect Seahawks’ offense to use same strategy vs Rams that beat Washington