BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Seahawks look improved vs run, but pass D bullied by Rams

Sep 10, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Sep 11, 2023, 9:09 am

Seattle Seahawks...

Matthew Stafford of the Rams attempts a pass against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 10, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks’ defense came into this season looking to shore up the run game. That makes total sense considering the Hawks had the third-worst run defense in football last year.

Recap: Seahawks lose | Instant Reaction | Big Plays | Injuries | Stats

Well, that was more than fine on Sunday, as they held the Los Angeles Rams to just 92 rushing yards on 40 carries, good for just a 2.3 yards per rush clip. Some of that is skewed by three short rushing touchdowns, but even with those taken out of the equation, Seattle’s run defense held up just fine after a few early struggles on Sunday.

It should be noted, though, that the Rams were the fifth-worst rushing team in the NFL last year. They were also eighth-worst in 2021 when they won the Super Bowl. But as noted, the Hawks were abysmal against the run last season, and it was a big reason why they lost a lot of games down the stretch, including in the playoffs.

“I thought we played pretty good versus the run today,” inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks told reporters after the game. “… I thought for the most part we played sound (against the run) … I’m proud of the way we defended the run. That was a big problem last year and that was a big emphasis coming into the offseason.”

Rost: What went wrong for Seahawks in shocking Week 1 loss?

Unfortunately for Seattle, pass defense woes that have plagued this team for years returned in an ugly, ugly way against LA in a 30-13 loss.

The Rams finished Sunday’s win over the Hawks with 426 yards of offense and 334 passing yards. It didn’t help that the Seahawks’ offense tallied just 48 yards over their final seven drives of the game.

The Seahawks’ defense, which was 14th against the pass and seventh in sacks last year, looked more like the 2019-21 iterations, where teams passed against them with ease.

Making matters look even worse for the Hawks? The Rams did all this without Cooper Kupp, their superstar receiver, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Rookie Puka Nacua – a one-time UW Huskies receiver and fifth-round pick – caught 10 passes for 119 yards. Tutu Atwell, taken one pick after the Hawks took receiver Dee Eskridge in the 2021 NFL Draft, also had 119 yards. Those two each had more receiving yards than every Seahawks receiver, running back and tight end combined

Passes over the middle came far too easy for the Rams, as did the ability to create explosive plays.

When asked about Brooks’ return to action from an ACL tear suffered late last season, Carroll noted what the Rams did on offense.

“We’ve got to see how he did coverage-wise because they did hit a lot of stuff inside,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “… We weren’t able to get in front of many balls.”

The pass defense, however, failed to hold up its end of the bargain.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Carroll said.

The Seahawks’ pass rush did next to nothing against Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, tallying just two quarterback hits on 41 dropbacks.

“We’ve got to get to the quarterback. That’s on us up front,” defensive tackle Jarran Reed said. ” … We’ve got to get home up front. We’ve got to win our one-on-ones.”

A big sticking point for Carroll and Reed was the lack of a pass rush.

“We needed to pressure them more and find ways to get the heat on them to cover them up and get off the darn field,” he said.

Getting off the field part is also key, as the Rams converted 11 of 17 times on third down. That contributed to a time of possession advantage for Los Angeles of 39:23 to 20:37 .

“When it matched up and came time, we weren’t able get off the field the way that we thought we could, so the game goes their way,” Carroll said. ” … We didn’t pressure them. We didn’t blitz a lot … but (Stafford) got rid of the football pretty well. It’s all aspects. We didn’t cover them as tight as we needed to to get them to hold the football and we didn’t rush them enough to disrupt him.”

The Seahawks were actually up 13-10 at halftime before the Rams outscored Seattle 23-0 in the third and fourth quarters.

“We didn’t finish it the way we needed to,” Carroll said. “… I have a big role in this. I have to make sure I’m helping our guys on defense … I’m disappointed we weren’t cleaner.”

Reed put the loss more on what the Seahawks’ defense did rather than what the Rams did.

“It wasn’t really difficult (what the Rams did on offense). We’ve just got to play our game,” he said.

Unfortunately for the Seahawks, it doesn’t exactly get easier next week as they play a Detroit Lions team next week that just beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs in Kansas City and had one of the better and more explosive offenses last season.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• Watch: Bobby Wagner gets huge ovation in Seahawks return
• Carroll: Geno Smith ‘as ready as he could be’ for Seahawks in 2023
• Mark Sanchez: ‘So much meat on the bone’ for Seahawks in 2023
• K.J. Wright’s Seattle Seahawks predictions for 2023 season
• What is Seattle Seahawks GM Schneider seeing from Jamal Adams?

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Seahawks look improved vs run, but pass D bullied by Rams