A victory on a division opponent's home turf is always a good thing in the NFL. The Seahawks narrowly avoided a huge upset at the hands of Kellen Clemens and the St. Louis Rams. While that win did take the Seahawks to 7-1, it also exposed an unhappy running back, inability to stop the run, a weak receiving corps as well as lousy run- and pass-blocking.
In fact, it was his lowest yards total since a Week 2 loss to the Steelers in 2011.
Lynch was noticeably frustrated after the Seahawks' first score. Needing to punch it in from the 1-yard line, Seattle opted for two Russell Wilson runs and a pass to Golden Tate for the score. Perhaps Wilson and Lynch aren't on the same page.
Carroll says on 710 he talked to Marshawn Lynch on the plane last night and Wilson made the wrong read twice on the goal line. #Seahawks— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) October 29, 2013
"Lynch could be seen gesturing in apparent frustration as he came off the field," according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
Pete Carroll appeared to be supportive of his running back's frustration. "He’s a competitor and he wants the ball," Carroll said of Lynch via Terry Blount, ESPN.com. "He didn’t have a chance tonight because we didn’t get him the football enough. He was frustrated and I was, too."
Lynch will likely get more carries and continue to be the rushing force behind Seattle's offense. This concern will rise if Lynch's touches are limited going forward. There's a pretty simple fix here:
Feed the Beast.
Surprisingly, the beast that got fed last night was the Rams' Zac Stacy. Stacy had 134 of the Rams' 200 rushing yards. He joins Arian Foster as the only RB to run for over 100 yards against Seattle. Foster and the Texans are ranked No. 10 in terms of rushing yards per game, while the Rams are No. 24 after Monday night.
With Clemens behind center and an average offensive line there's no reason the Rams should have been able to run for 200 yards. Although the Rams lost, they did expose Seattle's pedestrian rush defense. That may change the game plans of teams like the 49ers going forward.
If the Seahawks want the crucial home-field advantage throughout the postseason, they will have to find consistency defending the run.
They will also have to find consistency in the passing game. Without Golden Tate's 80-yard score, Seattle had just 59 passing yards. The Rams were able to stuff the run and pressure Wilson, which meant corners were left on an island most of the game. Seahawks WRs, however, were unable to create separation.
It's hard to say what Seattle can expect in Harvin's return. They have been cautious with his recovery, so he should be able to produce right off the bat. Either way, Harvin is certainly ready to get on the field.
“I’m going to take my time with it, but when it’s time to explode I will.” Harvin said via Mike Florio, NBCSports.com.
That time might be next week.
Percy Harvin on track to play Week 9 vs. Buccaneers http://t.co/3moQUEGT2t— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) October 27, 2013
Harvin's return won't solve much for the Seahawks if Wilson doesn't have time to throw the ball. With Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini both out, Seattle gave up seven sacks last night. Unfortunately, Okung's earliest return date is Week 11 according to Terry Blount, ESPN.com, but more likely Week 13 according to Mike Florio, NBCSports.com. Also, an addition to the team sounds unlikely.
“We’re halfway through the season, these are the guys we’re going with, and we’ve got to fix it," Carroll said via Doug Farrar, SI.com.
Pass-blocking was the Seahawks' clear-cut weakness on Monday night, but run-blocking was also a glaring hole.
Seattle is usually able to use the running game to open up the aerial attack.
"Everything revolves around the power running game for the Seattle offense, so it's miraculous that the team won when it had only 44 yards rushing on 15 carries," Terry Blount wrote on ESPN.com.
And that's with fullback Michael Robinson back in the lineup.
Lynch and Wilson are the heart and soul of the offense. Each complements the other and both have big-play ability. Both are consistent, clutch and take care of the ball.
But neither can thrive with a porous O-line.
Seattle may have escaped St. Louis with a win, but they certainly exposed their biggest weaknesses. Teams like New Orleans and San Francisco have surely taken notice.
Seattle possesses one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. Relinquishing the opportunity to play at CenturyLink Field throughout the postseason could cost the Seahawks a Super Bowl. Failing to address an extremely weak O-line?
That could cost Seattle a quarterback.