After Week 1, the Seahawks look like the third-best team in the NFC West. The good news is they face the fourth-best team this week.
The Rams melted down Monday night in San Francisco, which means either the 49ers are much better than we thought they would be or the Rams are much worse.
Of course, the Seahawks had their own issues – almost all on offense — in their nail-biting win over Miami, and they will need to fix those if they are going to beat the Rams in the first game in Los Angeles since 1994. (It will be Seattle’s first game vs. the Rams in L.A. since 1988.)
While Seattle’s stout defense and resilient quarterback were the positives in the 12-10 win over Miami, the offensive line struggled as expected against the Dolphins’ star-studded defensive line.
“Offensively, we had some issues,” Pete Carroll said, citing the lack of explosive plays, a subpar running game, bad third downs (5 of 16), penalties (8-69) and poor protection. “We have a lot of stuff to clean up.”
With Russell Wilson expected to be much less mobile due to his sprained ankle, the offensive line needs to shore it up against the Rams’ tough front seven. The unit had some major struggles against Ndamukong Suh & Co. Seattle clearly steered away from the run early, starting off with five passes and throwing it 43 times overall – a career high for Wilson. They ran it 32 times for just 112 yards.
“We just didn’t find the kind of rhythm we normally find,” Carroll said. “We ran it a lot — 32 times is a lot of runs, you know; that’s a good commitment to the running game. But it wasn’t as productive as we count on.”
Along with not getting much push in the run game, the line also committed three penalties and helped give up three sacks and nine QB hits. It has to do better this week vs. the Rams.
The Hawks are not likely to get back Germain Ifedi (high ankle sprain) this week, which means J’Marcus Webb will remain at right guard. He seemed lost at times vs. Miami – even inadvertently blocking Doug Baldwin on one running play – but Carroll said, “He’ll improve.”
“It was a challenge for him because of the guy he’s playing against (Suh). That guy is as tough as you can get, and he held up. But he’ll improve quite a bit technique-wise. Some of the technical parts of it, he’ll just feel better a week later, and that’s what we’re counting on.”
They have to hope Bradley Sowell gets better, too, because he had tons of problems – including two holding penalties and a missed block that allowed the Dolphins to block a field goal try.
With Ifedi out, Sowell will remain the left tackle by default because Webb has to stay at right guard. But expect a little line roulette once Ifedi returns – the tackles could be on the move throughout the season. And don’t be surprised if we eventually see the athletic George Fant playing on the left side.
The Seahawks always struggle on offense early in the season, which explains why Carroll is not worried.
“We’re going to stay with what we’re doing and do the things that we do and expect to get better,” he said. “We’re going to make that happen.”