Fann: Seahawks’ meeting vs injury-plagued Rams needs to be ‘get-right’ game

Dec 1, 2022, 3:34 PM
Raiders RB Zamir White runs with the ball while being chased by the Seahawks' Boye Mafe on Nov. 27, 2022. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)
(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

We’re used to Rams-Seahawks matchups being high-profile showdowns that regularly feature playoff implications. Los Angeles has dominated of late, winning five of the last six matchups and eight of the last 10, including a playoff win in the Wild Card Round at Lumen Field in 2020.

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But the defending Super Bowl Champions are massive underdogs in Week 13 at home against Seattle due to a wave of roster-riddling injuries to its biggest stars. Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Allen Robinson, Joseph Noteboom and A’Shawn Robinson will all miss Sunday’s game.

That makes this a huge opportunity for the Seahawks to enjoy a get-right game, particularly on defense. Seattle’s two-game losing streak has been marred by defensive mishaps. Those deficiencies have been most pronounced in the trenches.

The Seahawks have allowed 444 rushing yards over their last two games. Rachaad White torched Seattle for 105 yards on 22 carries in Germany in Week 10 and then Josh Jacobs racked up 229 yards on 33 carries against the Seahawks in Week 12.

The pass rush hasn’t been any better with just one sack and five quarterback hits over those same two games.

Both of those issues should be remedied on Sunday in Los Angeles.

The Rams rank 31st in rush yards per attempt and 23rd in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric. And to be clear, things were bad prior to injuries ravaging the roster. Now, vibes have hit a new low with the Rams turning to backups at crucial spots.

That leaves zero excuses for Seattle in a game it must get back on track now on the outside of the NFC playoff picture looking in at 6-5.

It starts with the leaders of the defense. Uchenna Nwosu, a player who has been a revelation as a free agent signing for the most part, has gone quiet of late. Nwosu has just two total pressures over his last two games. He’s the leader of Seattle’s pass rush and should be able to be a tone-setter in this one against a backup left tackle.

From there, this should be a chance to get Boye Mafe and Darrell Taylor additional reps in what should be a more lopsided score. Any sort of confidence-building pressures and potential sacks would be a welcome sight for the pair of second-round pass rushers.

A limited pass game led by third-string QB Bryce Perkins with Van Jefferson as his top target should allow the Seahawks to re-establish a resistance against the run. That responsibility will fall, first and foremost, on Seattle’s collection of interior defensive linemen, namely Al Woods, Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson and Shelby Harris. Linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton also share responsibility in that regard.

It’s not time to panic yet in Seattle as it pertains to the team’s chances at earning a playoff spot.

Sure, the Seahawks would miss the postseason if the regular season ended today, but there are still six games left, two of which against these Rams. Furthermore, the Commanders and Giants, two teams currently claiming wild card spots, each have brutal schedules down the stretch and play each other twice. The Seahawks should be just fine.

But that starts with taking care of business in southern California on Sunday where anything less than a dominant showing will be met by heavy and warranted skepticism about where the 2022 season is headed.

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