The Rams' only chance to upset the Seahawks on Monday Night Football is through defensive dominance. Unless, of course, Brett Favre hops off that lawn mower and starts slinging passes around the Edward Jones Dome. The more probable scenario for a Rams victory is a dominant performance by defensive end Robert Quinn.
Quinn has been the Rams' best defensive player this year. If St. Louis has any chance at stopping Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, Quinn will have to make his presence felt. Actually, with Kellen Clemens at the helm, he may have to repeat his spectacular Week 1 performance against the Cardinals.
Three sacks and two forced fumbles is a lot to ask from one player, but Quinn is up to the task. Rams Reporter for ESPN.com, Nick Wagoner had this to say, "Robert Quinn has emerged as the team’s best player, a consistent force rushing the passer and a much-improved run defender."
It bodes well for Quinn and fellow pass rusher Chris Long that Seattle will be without two of their starting tackles.
"By just about any metric used, Seattle’s pass protection has been at best an issue and at worst a problem, especially the past month when the team has been without starting right tackle Breno Giacomini and left tackle Russell Okung," wrote Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
One of the metrics Condotta mentions from Pro Football Focus is that Russell Wilson has been pressured on 46.6 percent of his pass attempts, highest in the NFL. Wilson does excel at escaping pressure and finding receivers down field.
But he doesn't escape every time.
Last week Wilson was sacked three times by the Cardinals defense. He added eight carries. A bulk of which were likely to escape a pass rush. Those numbers don't exactly jump off the page and the Seahawks cruised to a 34-22 victory. The number that does jump off the page?
Wilson had three fumbles, losing two of them.
That's good news for Quinn, who has been one of the best at jarring the ball loose. In fact, Quinn's four forced fumbles are tied for most in the NFL. In addition, his seven sacks have him set for a pace to reach 16.
Quinn's productivity has been at the top of the charts this year, literally.
Highest pass rushing productivity score of 4-3 DEs belongs to Robert Quinn (15.2). 2nd is Michael Bennett & 3rd Charles Johnson— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 23, 2013
If Quinn and Seattle's battered O-line aren't haunting Russell Wilson, then perhaps the Edward Jones Dome is. In Wilson's only visit to St. Louis he played the worst game of his career according to Stephen Cohen, Seattlepi.com. Wilson's three interceptions keyed the Rams' 19-13 victory last season.
With Seattle's battered O-line, Wilson's fumble problems and the Rams' home field advantage, Robert Quinn should have a monumental impact. That may come in the form of sacks, forced fumbles, QB pressures causing interceptions, blocked kicks or punts and defensive touchdowns.
And the Rams probably need all of the above.