SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Seahawks-Rams preview: Matthew Stafford to get 1st taste of rivalry

Oct 7, 2021, 9:22 AM | Updated: 10:03 am

Seahawks Rams Matthew Stafford...

Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams comes off the field during the first half in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium on Sept. 26 in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Even before making the move to the NFC West, Matthew Stafford could get a sense for the intensity of when the Seahawks and Los Angeles get together.

His first taste of the Rams-Seahawks rivalry will come in a place he’s never won before.

Seahawks OC Shane Waldron scheming to attack former team

“I could feel it from afar when I wasn’t here,” Stafford said. “You just know that there are two teams that have a bunch of pride. They both play at a high level. Really well-coached teams with a bunch of recent success. So, I’m excited to be a part of it. It’s exciting to get my first taste of it.”

After seeing their unbeaten start to the season halted last Sunday, the Rams (3-1) face a quick turnaround for another division showdown against the Seahawks (2-2) on Thursday night.

For Stafford, it’s his first visit to Seattle since January 2017 when Detroit lost to the Seahawks 26-6 in the wild-card round of the playoffs. He’s 0-3 all-time in Seattle and 1-3 overall in his career against the Seahawks.

Stafford is off to a flying start with the Rams, racking up 1,222 yards and 11 TD passes with two interceptions and 9.1 yards per completion. But he is coming off his least impressive performance of the four in the Rams’ 37-20 loss to Arizona on Sunday.

“I think you can tell that the coaches are really trusting Matthew and giving him a lot of latitude to throw the ball a lot and spread the field,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s obvious that they are really excited about what he contributes.”

The Seahawks snapped a two-game losing slide by winning at San Francisco last Sunday, removing a bit of the urgency from this latest chapter against the Rams. It’s not a must win for Seattle, but with a favorable schedule in the coming weeks the Seahawks can go from teetering in the division to back in the NFC West race in a matter of five days.

There’s also the bitter memory of last January, when the Rams handed Seattle its first home playoff loss in 16 years.

“The playoff game, we didn’t play clean across the board,” Seattle QB Russell Wilson said. “My biggest thing is just finding a way to win the game. That’s always my thing. We had a chance there, they ended up scoring late and then the game got away from us. It’s all about this year, this opportunity and what we can do.”

PRESSURE COOKER

One of the early positives for Los Angeles has been its ability to protect Stafford and give him time to find options in the pass game. Stafford has been sacked only three times through four games. And pass rush is one of Seattle’s big concerns due to injuries. The Seahawks are hopeful Benson Mayowa (neck), Carlos Dunlap (toe) and Darrell Taylor (ankle) will all be able to play.

BEATABLE DEFENSE

The Seahawks haven’t scored more than 20 points in their last four meetings with the Rams, but they’re now facing a Los Angeles defense that has taken a step back after finishing tops in the NFL in points and yards allowed last year. The Rams are 27th in yards allowed (396.8) and 18th in points allowed (24.8) after Tampa Bay and Arizona racked up 911 combined yards and 61 combined points in the last two weekends at SoFi Stadium.

The Rams lost defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to the Chargers, but they also lost four starters and a few key backups without signing any external replacements. Seattle will undoubtedly be looking to go after nickel back David Long Jr. after the Cardinals targeted him repeatedly in their win last week.

AD AFTER RUSS

Aaron Donald is eager to resume his biannual chase of Russell Wilson as they enter their eighth season together in the NFC West. Donald’s 13 career sacks of Wilson are his most against any quarterback, but the three-time Defensive Player of the Year also affords Wilson more public respect than he gives any quarterback he faces regularly.

“He’s a playmaker,” Donald said. “He’s different. He can do a lot of different things. We always talk about (how) he plays street ball, but he just plays good football. He’s a hell of a football player. Since I’ve been in this league, my rookie year, he’s been the same player as far as the things he’s been able to do in making plays and getting out of trouble with his feet or his arm.”

OPPOSITE ENDS

When it comes to third-down offensive efficiency, the Rams and Seahawks are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Rams are second best in the NFL at converting third downs at 54.3% early in the season. They are one of four teams at 50% or higher.

Then there’s Seattle. The Seahawks are 29th in the league at 33.3%. Their struggles on third down were highlighted last week when the Seahawks went the first five drives of the game without converting, and finished 2 for 10.

Seahawks coverage from 710Sports.com

Rost: Two big questions Seahawks face vs Rams on Thursday night
Heaps: How Seahawks’ offense gets DK Metcalf the mismatch they want
Bumpus: What the Seahawks’ offense can take from Wilson, Collins’ big days
Heaps: Sidney Jones changed complexion of Hawks’ secondary
Clayton: Why it looks like the Seahawks found themselves vs. 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Cameron Van Til

Seahawks takeaways: What stands out after minicamp

Here are six takeaways following the Seattle Seahawks' mandatory minicamp, which marked the conclusion of their spring offseason program.

7 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Leonard Williams 2023 49ers...

Cameron Van Til

Moving around: How Seahawks’ D-line is fitting into new scheme

Leonard Williams and Jarran Reed shed light on the positional versatility of the defensive line in the Seattle Seahawks' new scheme.

11 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Riq Woolen OTAs 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Secondary shines during Seahawks’ minicamp

The defense turned Wednesday's second and final day of Seattle Seahawks minicamp into a turnover-fest with five interceptions.

16 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba OTAs 2024...

Cameron Van Til

After standout spring, JSN primed to be ‘massive piece’ of Seahawks’ offense

Seattle Seahawks second-year wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be primed for a breakout season after excelling in OTAs and minicamp.

1 day ago

Seattle Seahawks Tyrel Dodson OTAs 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Are LB injuries a concern for Seahawks? A look at where things stand

Seattle Seahawks projected starting linebackers Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson remained sidelined with injuries as the team opened minicamp.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Jake Bobo...

Brent Stecker

Jake Bobo: New Seahawks OC Grubb is moving all the WRs around

Wide receiver Jake Bobo says the Seattle Seahawks will be using some of their stars in ways fans aren't used to seeing under new OC Ryan Grubb.

2 days ago

Seahawks-Rams preview: Matthew Stafford to get 1st taste of rivalry