Rams vs. Seahawks: Takeaways from Seattle's 27-9 Win over St. Louis
The Seahawks now get a much-needed week off to get ready for the playoffs.
Just to be clear. If Saints win, they come to SEA. If Saints lose and Niners win, SF comes to SEA. If both SF and NO lose, GB comes to Sea— mitch levy (@kjrmitch) December 30, 2013
Here are takeaways from Sunday's division-clinching win:
All stats are taken from NFL.com.
The Seahawks Are the No. 1 Seed in the NFC
The Seahawks finished the season 13-3, which was the best record in the NFC. The NFC West champions now get a first-round bye and will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
This is just the second time the Seahawks have been the top seed in the NFC. The other time was in 2005, when they advanced to the Super Bowl.
NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 30, 2013
Seattle's Defense Is Championship-Caliber
The Seattle defense finished the year in impressive fashion. It held the Rams to just 158 total yards, putting an exclamation point on an incredible season.
The @Seahawks set new franchise season records for point differential (+186) and points allowed per game (14.4).— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) December 30, 2013
Seattle finished the season ranked first in the NFL in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, yards per passing attempt against and interceptions.
The Run Blocking Finally 'Clicked'
After six straight games in which Seattle's running game seemed to be stuck in neutral, the Seahawks were finally able to get it back in gear in the second half against the Rams. After a very slow start, running back Marshawn Lynch finished the game with 23 carries for 97 yards.
Lynch's success in the second half was due to solid run blocking by the offensive line. This game was the first time that Lynch consistently had running lanes to work with since the game in Atlanta back in early November.
If the Seahawks can string together three games with the type of run blocking they showed in the second half on Sunday, they'll have a good chance to be celebrating in New York next month.
Golden Tate Had a Career Game
On a day that wide receiver Jermaine Kearse didn't play and Doug Baldwin was mostly invisible, Golden Tate was most of Seattle's passing offense. He had eight of the team's 15 receptions. He also had 129 of the team's 172 receiving yards. Both of those numbers were career highs for Tate.
Golden Tate 8 catches for 129 yards and TD. That's a new career-high for catches and yards in a game for Tate. #Seahawks— Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) December 30, 2013
Third Downs Are Still a Problem
Despite having more overall success on offense this week, the Seahawks still struggled to convert on third downs. Seattle converted just 4 of 13 third downs, leading to far too many short drives. This was especially true early in the game. If the Seahawks are going to continue their march to the Super Bowl, this is a problem they are going to have to get fixed.
Seattle picks up their first third down conversion with 1:52 left in the first half.— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) December 29, 2013
The Rush Defense Is Now a Strength
When these two teams played back in Week 6, the Seahawks surrendered 200 rushing yards to the Rams. The rushing defense was exposed to be a weakness, and opposing teams in subsequent weeks took advantage of it. The rushing defense has slowly improved since then, as the Seahawks have turned that weakness into a strength.
This week, the Rams finished with 18 carries for just 13 yards on the ground. It was a dominant performance, and not something anyone would have expected after the first time these teams played.
#Seahawks coach Carroll: "I thought the running (defense) was as good as you could play it." Gave up just 13 yards.— Chris Cluff (@CHawksExaminer) December 30, 2013
This Team Is Banged Up
The win on Sunday earned the Seahawks a first-round bye in the playoffs, and they need it. Seattle picked up a large number of minor injuries this week, adding to an already well-populated injury report.
Richard Sherman, Brandon Mebane, Bobby Wagner and Jeremy Lane all picked up minor injuries. Tight end Luke Willson suffered what appeared to be a major ankle injury and is likely done for the year.
The Seahawks need to use this hard-earned week off to get rested and healthy.