It came down to the wire, but ultimately the Rams did enough to hold off the Seahawks late Marshawn Lynch led charge.
Another game, another stellar Seahawks defensive effort. Except this time there was no last second miracle.
Let's take a look at the post game final grades and player analysis.
Final Grade: B-
Russell Wilson (17-25, 160 Yards 3 Ints) wasn't spectacular, but he did all was he was asked to do. One has to wonder why he is being restricted. The first quarter showed what kind of quarterback he can be when he plays to his strengths, but after that initial success the play calls avoided putting him on the move, and forced him into prototypical role. Russell Wilson is not that kind of quarterback, Matt Flynn is.
QTR 4: C+
Russell Wilson was under consistent pressure for the entire quarter. Footwork was a little better, but he still couldn't connect down field when it counted. Rams pinched the A-gap and forced him to bail out right into waiting Rams defenders. Last interception was killer but Wilson can't be held responsible for Anthony McCoy's unfortunate slip and fall.
QTR 3: B-
Rams get pressure and ball is tipped coming out of Russell Wilson’s hands..Interception. That’s two for the day. Can’t win divisional games this way. However Wilson is still making solid plays out of nothing. Scramble throw to Marshawn Lynch for 16 yards great example of just that.
QTR 2: B
Russell Wilson (8-11, 85 yards, INT) is starting to see a ton of A gap pressure. Still able to escape but gains have been minimal. Wilson made great play reacting to pressure and throws to Doug Baldwin who drops it right into the hands of defender. Teammates need to help Wilson out.
QTR 1: B+
Russell Wilson is finally on the move! Wilson is showing incredible athletic ability in two great escapes in the pocket ending with excellent results. Sidney Rice made himself available to Wilson on both scrambles. Wilson has also looked sharp on quick drops and the bullet pass to Zach Miller for a first down. Good to see. Wilson looks like he’s in total control of offense.
Key to the game:
Russell Wilson must keep the offense on track, and he can if he can improve his play from inside the pocket. His field vision has become a factor, but not in the way you might think. His feet are to blame here.
As Wilson has felt pressure, his pocket discipline has suffered, leading to several pocket escapes in the hopes of clearing the garbage in his sight line and firing a pass downfield. While this has not become chronic, it's close.
This is common with rookie quarterbacks, but the Seahawks need him to overcome this quickly. The Seahawks receiving corps do not run many elaborate route concepts and need Wilson to step up and see the field and get them the ball.
Final Grade: B-
Players of note:
Marshawn Lynch (A+) ( 20 carries, 118 yards, 1 TD)
Lynch was an absolute monster again for the Seahawks ripping off punishing run, after punishing run. It continues to amaze me how many times he is hit behind the line of scrimmage yet is able to turn it into a gain of three or four yards. He is by far the MVP of the Seahawks offense, and it's not close.
LG James Carpenter (B+)
It was great to see Carpenter back on the field for the Seahawks. ACL injuries can be tricky for big men to recover from and it appears he's back to 100%. His switch from right tackle to the left guard position was a natural one that helped Seattle's run game tremendously today. His strength at the point of attack was impressive and explosive, and even his pass protection looked much improved from his ugly outings at right tackle last year.
WR Doug Baldwin (F):
I'm not sure if he's still hampered by the preseason hamstring injury or not, but I do not recognize this version of player. Last year he was automatic in crunch time situations, but this year he has regressed to the point he is not a contributor. In fact, the only impact he had on the game today was the drop-interception that killed Seattle momentum early in the game. I'm sure the Seahawks are waiting for the real Baldwin to emerge.
QTR 4: B-
Seahawks tried to rally in the fourth and moved the ball well on the ground. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin chewed up chunks of yards and gave the offense an opportunity to win the game at the end. Russell Wilson's pass to TE Anthony McCoy was intercepted after McCoy slips on route. Game over.
QTR 3: B
Seahawks are beginning to stiffen their spine racking up 119 yards to the Rams 9. Robert Turbin and Marshawn Lynch have been huge part of clock eating offense. Momentum seems to be turning back to Seattle's favor.
QTR 2: C+ ( 8 first downs)
Zach Miller (3 catches, 32 yards) getting involved in offense as a passing threat. Left guard James Carpenter back in after injury scare and has direct impact in a Marshawn Lynch 8 yard gain.
Golden Tate shows great technique with great block on edge and Marshawn Lynch gets another big gain.
Russell Wilson starting to see a ton of A gap pressure though and it’s starting to affect his play. Doug Baldwin’s big drop leads to interception and seemingly kills offensive mojo for Seattle. Really disappointing play from offensive unit after initial scoring drive.
QTR 1: B+
Great push from the offensive line early. LG James Carpenter looked great until unfortunate knee injury. Seahawks putting the ball in hands of playmakers. Offensive line completely dominated the Rams with a punishing and easy opening TD drive. (8 plays, 80 yards 4:15)
Key to the Game:
1. Stay on schedule: The Seahawks offense must move the ball consistently on first and second down so Russell Wilson is not forced into obvious passing downs. Variety is the key here. Too often in previous weeks, the Seahawks offense has struggled with vanilla play-calling leading to several three-and-out drives.
Bottom Line: The offense doesn't have to be special to win, it just needs to execute and sustain a majority of drives. This will allow the Seahawks' stellar defense to rest and dominate when their time to play arrives.
Goal: 50/50 run-pass ratio. 60 percent on third down. 17 points
Final Grade: B
The Seahawks are asking way to much from their powerful defense this year and today was no difference. If the Seahawks want to contend at the end of the year they must achieve more balanced output of performance.
Players of Note:
CB Richard Sherman (C): The Rams did something today that I haven't seen yet. They targeted Sherman all day long. Sherman was on the receiving end of almost every big passing play and despite his interception had a rough day at the office.
DT Brandon Mebane (A+) (5 tackles, 2 for loss): Mebane dominated in the trenches all day long and pestered Sam Bradford and the Rams running game on every snap. I haven't seen Mebane that disruptive for a sustained amount of time in a while.
MLB Bobby Wagner (A) (7 Tackles, 3 for loss): Wagner is looking like he is getting very comfortable in this defensive scheme. Today he led the team in tackles by superior diagnosis of Ram's play structure and burst to the ball. This is the type of job he was drafted to do.
QTR 4: A-
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had a heck of a fourth quarter, creating serious penetration on almost every play. However, the defense is got shredded a few times downfield with the pass. Seahawks secondary had some trouble handling vertical pass route concepts.
Pass troubles aside, the defense had a huge stop on a late game third down play that gave the Seahawks offense one last chance to win the game.
QTR 3: A
After the struggles in the first half the Seahawks defense limited the Rams to 9 total yards..Nine.
QTR 2: C+
Defense: (Allowed 9 first downs)
Cornerback Richard Sherman seems to be playing a little angry and it is resulting in improved-but still hot and cold-play (1 INT). Seahawks Inside pressure is starting to get to Sam Bradford and it is affecting some throws (tip pass almost intercepted). DT Alan Branch is also a having huge impact inside. Despite all of these positives though, the Rams are still moving the ball.
Bottom line: Seahawks are not making the plays they need to make to win this game.
QTR 1: C+
K.J. Wright starting strong with opening tackle. DT Brandon Mebane absolutely stones Jackson for a loss..Rams worried about speed on edge as LT Wayne Hunter jumps on long 3rd down play. Cornerback Richard Sherman burnt on long 3rd down play and again at the end of the quarter. Rams seem to be targeting Sherman a lot early..
Steven Jackson gaining chunks of yards off of wide Seahawks DE set.
KJ Wright and Alan Branch sniff out screens beautifully.
Key to the game:
By now, you probably can guess what I'm going to say here and you're right! The Seahawks need to get pressure with their front four on a consistent basis.
The Rams are a quick passing team and most likely watched the second half of the Monday Night Football game when the Packers adjusted to the rush and went to a short passing attack.
This, and some egregious holding, helped the Packers offense get back on track.
If the Seahawks can get consistent pressure, Rams fans may be heading for the exits early.
Final Grade: C+
There wasn't much going on in the special teams game that jumps out at you other than three things.
1. The failed on-side kick attempt.
2. The Ram's fake field goal attempt TD.
3. Leon Washington's 69 yard kick off return.
Overall, not a day to remember but also not a horrible day. One has to wonder if the Seahawks coaching staff had any idea the Rams had that fake field goal attempt in their playbook.
QTR 4: C
No action to report in the fourth quarter.
QTR 3: A-
On side kick fail to start half. However huge 69 yard return by Leon Washington gets Seattle back in scoring range.
QTR 2: C
Huge 62 yard punt by Jon Ryan. Washington with punt return catch that should have been called a fair catch. Gamble could have resulted in fumble.
Big Blunder: Seahawks get fooled on fake field goal attempt. and Rams go ahead in game. This.Can't.Happen.
QTR 1: C
Special Teams: Solid, but nothing gradable in first quarter. Two touchbacks, a FG defense and a punt resulting in a touchback is all there has been.
Keys to the game:
What goes unnoticed in all the Russell Wilson, Chris Clemons and Marshawn Lynch talk is just how good the Seahawks special teams unit is.
Kickoff returner Leon Washington (32.5 yards per kick return) and punter Jon Ryan (50.6 yards per punt) will be huge factors in any Seahawks success in St Louis.
Critical field position gained by this unit is a must.
Final Grade: C+
The biggest take away from today's loss was the fact Seattle is scared to death to put Russell Wilson in situations that aren't based off of running game success. It's a good thing that the offense has running back Marshawn Lynch to churn out the yards because if not the Seahawks would have no shot in these games with this type of play calling.
I gave kudos to Darrell Bevell on the opening drive when he put Wilson on the move and allowed him to use his legs to find receivers. Wilson looked amazing in that role. But then it just stopped. After that drive the vast majority of pass drops were traditional and his movement was only due to pressure induced scrambles. I consider this a failure of the offensive coaching staff.
On a positive note, the defense was stout again. The only touchdown scored by the Rams was on special teams trickery and Rams running back Steven Jackson (18 carries, 55 yards) was once again held under 100 yards. The defensive game plan was solid and even put the ball back in the hands of the offense with a chance to win at the end.
QTR 4: C+
In the fourth quarter It looked like Pete Carroll and Jeff Fisher engaged in an anything you can do I can do better battle today. Adjustments and counter adjustments. It was fun to watch, but it seems as though Fisher has had the upper hand.
QTR 3: B
Still scratching my head at on-side kick decision but luckily the offense and defensive sides of the ball have bailed them out. Additionally, great job by the Seahawks offensive coaches to get the running game going again. Big reason for the Seahawks play in third quarter.
QTR 2: C
Pete Carroll needs to adjust quickly in the third quarter. All of the momentum gained in the first quarter is completely gone, and the Rams are starting to pull away despite what the scoreboard says. The Rams have had very little trouble handling the Seahawks in the most important down: 3rd down.
Goat of the Half: Cornerback Richard Sherman.
QTR 1: B
Tom Cable and Darrell Bevell have decided to use Russell Wilson like they should.. On the move and he’s torching the Rams. Rams are too busy thinking, not reacting. On defensive side, the Seahawks D-line was torched on a big run due to over aggressive DE play that left huge C-gap hole. Must restore discipline.
Key to the game:
Assistant Head Coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell must take the training wheels off the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks offense. The predictability factor has been painful at times to watch, and running back Marshawn Lynch will not last the year if a change isn't made.
The Seahawks need a multiple approach this week and must put the ball in the hands of the play makers early and often. Tight end Zack Miller is grossly underused in the passing game and could be the go-to guy Russell Wilson needs.
With Russell Wilson's early pocket troubles, it may be beneficial to put him on the move outside a few times and allow a chemistry with Miller to develop.