Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At St. Louis Rams
- QuarterbackThe Seahawks are playing the kind of football that could allow them to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season, and Russell Wilson is one of the biggest reasons why they are so effective. The second-year quarterback has a strong enough arm, excellent leadership and unvarnished confidence. He also has the toughness to make big plays on the ground if his receivers are covered.The Rams have big issues with Sam Bradford out for the season with his torn ACL. The Rams know they are in big trouble with current backup Kellen Clemens, and that’s why they brought in several quarterbacks this week to work out. Clemens understands the offense and should not panic, but he does not appear to be talented enough to win games.
- OffenseThe Seahawks offensive could hit a new gear this week if wide receiver Percy Harvin returns from his hip labrum injury. Harvin has explosive speed and quickness and will take the focus off of running back Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle ground game is tough and debilitating to opposing defenses. Golden Tate is a solid receiver who will also benefit from Harvin’s return.The Rams are going to be in tough against Seattle’s aggressive defense. Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson are going to get hammered as they attempt to run the ball between the tackles. Tavon Austin is an explosive receiver who can stretch the defense, but Bradford’s injury will hurt his production. Tight end Jared Cook gets open and will hold on to the ball.
- DefenseThe Seahawks rank second in the league in defense and they are aggressive, hard-hitting, fast and hungry to succeed. Defensive end Michael Bennett has a team-high 4.5 sacks and is usually a threat to get to the passer. Cornerback Richard Sherman is a stellar cover man who has 10 passes defensed and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown.The Rams have been quite vulnerable against the run this season. They rank 29th against the run, and the Seahawks have the battering ram running back in Lynch to take advantage of that deficiency. Don’t blame middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who has a team-high 55 tackles. Defensive end Robert Quinn has a team-high 7.0 sacks and is quite underrated.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks are dominant in their coverage teams. They are allowing just 1.3 yards per punt return, and that often sets the tone for the defense. Steven Hauschka is having an excellent season, having made 16-of-17 FG attempts.The Rams are also doing a sensational job on their coverage teams. Placekicker Greg Zuerlein has made 11-of-11 field goal attempts, but he has not had an attempt of longer than 50 yards even though he has one of the strongest legs in the league. Johnny Hekker is averaging 44.9 yards per punt.
The Seahawks may be the best team in the NFL and they are not going to give the Rams any breaks because they suffered a terrible break with the Bradford injury. Seattle needs to show they can play a dominant game on the road. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor