ReFo: Rams @ Seahawks, Week 17
In the final week of the season, the Seahawks clinched the NFC West and a second straight year with home field advantage in the playoffs, pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat the visiting Rams 20-6. The game was dominated by the defenses through three quarters and fittingly turned on an interception on the first play of the fourth. Marshawn Lynch found the end zone a few plays later and a pick-six on the next drive put the Seahawks up two touchdowns.
Now the Seahawks get a week off to watch the wild card round and await their opponent, one of Arizona, Carolina, or Detroit. Conversely, the Rams head into another offseason disappointed and looking to find stability at quarterback after an injury to Sam Bradford derailed their season.
St. Louis Rams – Performances of Note
Aaron Donald, DL: +4.7
Breakdown: Started well, handling James Carpenter on consecutive plays during Seattle’s first offensive drive (1Q 13:27 and 12:50), and from there it was much of the same as Donald had a fantastic finish to his rookie season, and made life difficult for Seattle’s interior line. Collected two defensive stops and four QB disruptions, including a sack-fumble late in the second quarter.
Signature Play: 1Q, 12:50. Donald showed off his power, getting into the body of Seattle’s left guard and pancaking him on his way to the quarterback.
Shaun Hill, QB: -1.0
Breakdown: Rarely ventured more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage or outside the numbers, with just six of his 35 aimed attempts going to intermediate or deep distances. Nevertheless, he avoided turnovers and kept the Rams competitive through three quarters until an inexplicable interception on the first play of the fourth. Trying to ground the ball on a well-covered screen, Hill instead threw it right to Jordan Hill, though it was also an impressive play by the defensive lineman to haul it in.
Signature Stat: Hill fared much better when blitzed than against a standard rush, completing 81.8% of his passes for a 9.6 YPA and 106 QB rating on those plays.
Janoris Jenkins, CB: -3.5
Breakdown: After a string of positive games late in the season and four straight games without missing a tackle, Jenkins had a rough final game, allowing a catch on every pass into his coverage, while missing a massive five tackles, putting him ahead of all other corners for the season.
Signature Play: 3Q, 13:02. Maintained relatively good position, but couldn’t contest the catch as Paul Richardson went up for it and hauled in a 32 yard reception.
Seattle Seahawks– Performances of Note
Bruce Irvin, LB: +4.0
Breakdown: Irvin was in the right place at the right time at 10:03 of the fourth quarter, when Bobby Wagner broke up a pass to Lance Kendricks, resulting in an easy interception and run to the end zone to put the Seahawks up two touchdowns. Otherwise played well defending the run and rushing the passer; collected three tackles for short gain, though each was unblocked. Also got around Greg Robinson late in the game to pick up a sack-fumble.
Signature Play: 4Q, 2:31. Benefiting from a deep drop from Hill, Irvin turned the corner on the rookie left tackle to get the QB as he was throwing.
Earl Thomas, S: +2.5
Breakdown: Though just three of his 11 tackles counted as defensive stops, Thomas made a number of impressive plays closing from deep to prevent YAC, including on St Louis’ first drive (1Q 14:15), bringing down Kenny Britt short of the sticks to force a punt. Also made a pivotal play late in the fourth to prevent a touchdown, forcing a fumble and touchback as Benny Cunningham was reaching for the end zone.
Signature Play: 4Q, 6:05. Cunningham made it easy holding the ball out with one hand, but still a ridiculous and aware play by Thomas to chop his arm to force the fumble.
J.R. Sweezy, RG: -4.7
Breakdown: Following a +3.5 game in Week 16, Sweezy finished an inconsistent season poorly against the Rams, getting repeatedly beaten by Kendall Langford in the run game. Sweezy repeatedly allowed the defensive tackle to shed outside and either squeeze the running lane or bring down the rusher.
Signature Play: 2Q, 13:42. Provided little resistance, as Langford easily shoved him aside to get in the backfield and drop Marshawn Lynch for a loss.
PFF Game Ball
Difficult to single out any one player on Seattle’s defense, but this one goes to Bruce Irvin for a pair of big plays in the fourth.
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