ReFo: Seahawks @ Rams, Week 7
This NFC West battle saw both teams come into the came after tough losses, but it was the defending Champion Seattle Seahawks who looked to be feeling the effects of the loss more early on, with the St. Louis Rams jumping out to a 21-6 lead at half time, thanks to a clever trick play on a punt return that gave Steadman Bailey an easy score.
The Seahawks would comeback in the second half, but a calm performance by the Rams, and a smart game by quarterback Austin Davis, saw them manage to keep the Seahawks at arms length throughout. It looked like the Seahawks were going to get one more shot to win the game, but a gutsy call saw the Rams run a fake punt deep in their own territory, picking up enough yards to allow them to run the clock out, despite a close call when Tre Mason fumbled late in the game.
Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note
Doug Baldwin, WR: +1.5
Breakdown: On a weekend where the big story was the Seahawks trading away wide receiver Percy Harvin, it helped that Baldwin was able to step up in a big way. Seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown give a fairly good indication of how well he played, but it was important to see him step up this week and he did just that.
Signature Stat: After dropping three passes in the first four games, Baldwin displayed excellent hands and caught every catchable ball thrown him way again for the second week in a row.
Richard Sherman, CB: +3.6
Breakdown: It’s rare that teams target Sherman at this point, with 22 passes thrown into his coverage through six weeks, but the Rams seemed even more conscious to avoid him, with Davis throwing into his coverage just twice. Those two throws resulted in a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, with the Seahawks’ corner adding some solid work against the run.
Signature Play: Q4, 2.59 remaining. With the Rams facing 3rd-and-3 from their own 18-yard line, Sherman moved to cover Tavon Austin in the slot. Covering him tightly, he stuck an arm in the way to force fourth down, which would have seen the Seahawks get the ball back were it not for the expertly timed fake punt.
Justin Britt, RT: -3.7
Breakdown: While on name basis the key matchup between the offensive line looked to be between left tackle Jake Long and Robert Quinn, the bigger story here was the struggles of right tackle Britt. We’ve seen some ups and downs from the rookie second round draft pick, and this was definitely a down game. Beaten for a sack and four hurries, the Seahawks need better protection for Russell Wilson than that.
Signature Play: Q2, 8.04 remaining. Beaten clean off the snap by defensive end Eugene Sims to the inside, Britt gave up a sack here with little resistance.
St. Louis Rams – Performances of Note
Aaron Donald, DT: +4.9
Breakdown: We were impressed by Donald all the way back at the Senior Bowl, and he hasn’t disappointed since arriving in St. Louis. Showing a quick burst off the snap, he was too much to handle for the Seahawks interior offensive line, registering a sack, a hit and three hurries as a pass rusher, and adding four tackles resulting in a defensive stop against the run.
Signature Stat: With those four tackles coming on just 14 plays against the run, Donald had a Run Stop Percentage of 28.6%.
Johnny Hekker, P: +4.0
Breakdown: Punters rarely get the credit they deserve but, in a game where plenty are talking about his pass that effectively sealed the game for the Rams, it’s worth pointing out that the Rams’ punter had an excellent day in his traditional role too. Averaging 51 yards a punt, he saw two of the three land inside the 20-yard line, making life tough for the Seahawks returners.
Signature Play: Q4, 15.00 remaining. You could take your pick with all of his punts impressing, but this was the best of the bunch. Inside the 10-yard line, outside the numbers, good hang-time. That’s how it’s done.
Alec Ogletree, LB: -4.0
Breakdown: There weren’t many players who you would categorize as struggling for the Rams, but the second-year linebacker was definitely one of them. Pushed around too easily against the run and at times looking lost in coverage, he came away with his lowest-graded game of the year so far.
Signature Play: Q4, 12.15 remaining. With Wilson scrambling to his left, Ogletree was in perfect position to prevent him from getting outside and taking off down the sideline. He couldn’t maintain that, though, losing outside contain and watching as Wilson burst past him.
Aaron Donald walks away with this week’s Game Ball after making light work of the Rams’ interior offensive line. Definitely a player who looks to have a bright future ahead of him.