NFL Week 15 Preview: Rams at Seahawks
The Los Angeles Rams visit the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Los Angeles Rams offense vs. Seattle Seahawks defense
- RB Todd Gurley vs. Seahawks run defense – Over the Rams’ last three games, Gurley has averaged a first down or a touchdown on 27.5 percent of his 51 rush attempts (league average is 18.9 percent). He also recorded a first down or touchdown on 61.5 percent of his 16 targets in the passing game (league average is 34.5) during that span. He ranks second and first among running backs in the two categories, respectively. In the same stretch of games, he has also forced a league-leading 20 missed tackles, and his 31.3 forced missed tackle rate ranks second. The elusiveness Gurley has been contributing is something he was unable to do against the Seahawks in their Week 5 meeting, where he forced his lowest total of missed tackles on the season with one, earning his lowest grade of the season at 38.5. In their last three games, the Seahawks are ranked sixth in lowest missed tackle rate, averaging a missed tackle on 10.7 percent of their tackle attempts. The Seahawks have gone 3-1 in games where running backs aren’t able to force more than one missed tackle against them, while going 5-5 in games where running backs force 3 or more missed tackles.
- WR Cooper Kupp vs. CB Justin Coleman – Over the last three weeks of the season, Kupp has run exactly half of his routes from the slot (45). In that same span, he has been targeted six times, catching all six and averaging the third-most yards per route run in the slot with 2.69 yards. In their first matchup against the Seahawks, Kupp was targeted three times against Coleman, catching only one of those for 19 yards and dropping the potential game-winner on a last-minute drive. Since that meeting, Coleman is allowing a passer rating of 104.2 (20th among 47 slot cornerbacks) while also allowing the 14th lowest yards allowed per coverage snap at 0.82.
- T Andrew Whitworth vs. Edge Frank Clark – Coming into their first matchup back in Week 5, Whitworth had given up only one quarterback pressure and had the second-highest pass-blocking efficiency among tackles with a 99.2. In that game, Whitworth allowed his most quarterback pressures in a single game since Week 15 of the 2015 season with four and dropped to sixth in pass blocking efficiency at 97.5. Clark was responsible for forcing three of those pressures and has produced the 19th-most pressures among edge defenders since that game with 31. In that Week 5 matchup, quarterback Jared Goff was under pressure on 36.0 of dropbacks and recorded the 26th-lowest passer rating while under pressure at 45.3.
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks offense vs. Los Angeles Rams defense
- WR Doug Baldwin vs. CB Nickell Robey-Coleman – Since their first meeting in Week 5, Baldwin and Robey-Coleman have been one of the best in the slot at their respective positions. Baldwin is tied for sixth in targets while lined up in the slot, eighth in receptions, third in yards, and is tied for second in touchdowns. His opponent in Robey-Coleman is allowing the 11th-lowest passer rating into his coverage while in slot coverage with a mark of 66.6 and is also allowing the 17th-fewest average yards per coverage snap at 0.88. This week’s matchup could extend beyond the slot with the Rams losing outside cornerback Kayvon Webster for the season. Baldwin has caught 21 of his 66 receptions for 243 yards and one touchdown while lined up as an outside receiver. Meanwhile, Robey-Coleman has allowed only seven catches while lined up as an outside cornerback, giving up 111 yards, notching one interception and posting a passer rating of 47.0.
- RB Mike Davis vs. Rams run defense – Since being activated in Week 11, Davis has had three breakaway runs (15-plus yards) and has the 10th-highest forced missed tackle rate (24.4 percent) among running backs with at least 90 snaps played. Seven of those missed tackles have come in the run game over the last two weeks, with three in Week 13 and four in Week 14. Davis is the only running back currently on the roster that has been able to force three or more missed tackles in back-to-back games since Chris Carson did it in Weeks 1 and 2 and could become the first to do it in three straight games. The Rams have tied for 10th most missed tackles over the last four weeks and are missing tackles on 13.0 percent of their tackle attempts (tied for the 12th-highest mark). In those four games, the Rams have gone 0-2 when opposing running backs are able to force four or more missed tackles and 2-0 when they don’t.
- T Duane Brown vs. Edge Robert Quinn– Since being traded to the Seahawks, left tackle Duane Brown has not allowed more than two pressures in a single game and is tied for 10th in pass-blocking efficiency among tackles with a mark of 97.1. After shutting down one of the best pass-rushes in the NFL against the Jaguars in Week 14, he will face an edge defender in Robert Quinn that is tied for the league lead in sacks since Week 12 (five) and tied for 14th in total pressures (13). An interesting storyline to follow is that Brown has allowed only two sacks in his last 26 games played, while Quinn has recorded 12 sacks against the Seahawks in 11 games against them.