Sidney Rice Injury: Why Seahawks Have No Chance Without Dynamic WR

Cian Fahey@CianafFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2011

SEATTLE - AUGUST 20:  Wide receiver Sidney Rice #18 of the Seattle Seahawks runs a pass route against cornerback Chris Cook #31 of the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on August 20, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Vikings won 20-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks' revamped offense from the offseason has yet to get going after the first week of the season.

Tarvaris Jackson managed to throw two touchdowns and one interception and put up 197 yards against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. He was sacked five times, however, and had three fumbles.

Being unable to establish a reliable running attack in Week 1 really hurt the Seahawks offense, as Jackson couldn't carry the load. He wasn't helped by the fact that he was missing his two biggest targets due to injury.

John Carlson is gone long term while Pete Carroll desperately hopes that Sidney Rice will return this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If the Seahawks couldn't establish the running game against the 49ers, they have little chance of doing so against the Steelers. The Steelers may have been repeatedly gashed by Ray Rice during their Opening Day trip to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, but that doesn't happen very often.

The Steelers had a historically good defense last season, and Rice is the only rusher in the past 50 games to ever eclipse 100 yards against it.

It has happened twice during that time, but Rice was the only player on both occasions.

Against the Steelers, you have to use the pass to set up the run, because allowing them to key in on the running game will shut down your offense with ease. If they do not even have to worry about the run, guys like James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley can pin their ears back while Troy Polamalu's eyes will always be in the backfield.

If Sidney Rice is available, he provides a deep threat that can stretch the field and keep the defense honest. Rice has the physicality and jump-ball ability to beat man coverage and force the Steelers to keep a safety deep rather than have him in run support.

Rice adds a new dimension to the offense by giving Jackson a target who doesn't need very accurate passes to have success. That way, the Seahawks will have a viable threat on the outside to use in play action to aid both the running and passing game.

If the Seattle Seahawks employ Tarvaris Jackson this week the same way they did in Week 1, then he may not see the field again this season.