Seattle Seahawks Week 11 Report Card: Grading Each Unit
This week the 3-6 Seattle Seahawks ventured to St. Louis for a matchup with the 2-7 Rams banged up a little following season-ending injuries to offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt, but riding the emotional high of an upset win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.
In the early going it looked like the Hawks could be poised for a letdown following a brilliant trick play by Sidney Rice to Mike Williams to start the game, only to have Tarvaris Jackson toss an interception on the very next play. Fortunately, the Hawks would recover from that mistake by employing the same winning formula as last week in combining solid defense and running the football to grind the Rams down for a 24-7 win.
Overall, the performances were pretty solid from top to bottom, but let's take a closer look by reviewing each unit.
Other than the first play of the game, Pete Carroll decided not to get too cute and simply managed to stick with what's working and set the tone of the game early on.
It wasn't pretty, but he made sure the Hawks stuffed the Rams on both sides of the ball by feeding them a heaping helping of Marshawn Lynch on offense to control the clock and sending plenty of pressure Sam Bradford's way, leading to five sacks, two fumbles and an interception.
Tarvaris Jackson once again looked uneven by nearly completing 60 percent of his passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, yet was also sacked four times and tossed two early interceptions.
Most weeks tossing two early picks would have probably cost the Hawks dearly; fortunately, though, the Rams only managed to get seven points.
From that point forward Jackson was effective enough to get the win. He made sure to stay out of trouble, deal with the Rams pass rush, find the open man—including a nice throw to Sidney Rice for the touchdown—and, most importantly, hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch.
This week Sidney Rice showed us why the Hawks signed him this offseason. Perhaps he only caught three passes for 35 yards, but every time he touched the football he made it count, including gorgeous 55-yard toss to Mike Williams to start the game.
The reappearance of Williams in the box score was also a pleasant surprise, but sadly short-lived given he only caught one more pass on the day. Meanwhile, Doug Baldwin looks to be a long-term keeper, sporting some nifty moves on one of his three catches that tied the Rams defense up in knots.
It would be tempting to bump the grade up for this crew a little higher, if not for Ben Obomanu failing to get physical with Quintin Mickell on Tarvaris Jackson's second interception.
Running Back: B
Yes, Marshawn Lynch did everything that was asked of him including score a touchdown while working behind a depleted line.
At the same time, 88 yards on 27 carries isn't quite "Beastly," only effective in moving the chains and eating the clock.
Perhaps unfairly, Justin Forsett got the fruits of Lynch's labor with a 22-yard touchdown run against the worn-down Rams to cap off the win.
The boys in backfield did enough by gaining 126 yards on the day, but this crew needs to be getting more yards per carry moving forward.
Offensive Line: B-
In fairness, the losses of Carpenter and Moffitt put this unit at a disadvantage from the start, following some really solid progress in recent weeks.
Tough call in handing out a grade here as you could give them up to a B if you're happy that the team rushed for 126 yards.
You can just as easily bump them down to a C for allowing four sacks and helping the run game average only 3.2 yards per carry.
Ultimately they got the win, on the road, down two men, so I'm splitting the difference with a B-.
Special Teams: B-
Nothing spectacular as Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan and Leon Washington did what they were asked to do. Yet, similar to the offense, this crew got off to a rough start with a blocked punt and a few dumb penalties, but overall managed to stay out of trouble.
Hauschka converted all of his kicks, although he was never really tested given his longest was 19 yards.
Ryan, meanwhile, despite getting blocked by Robert Quinn early on, averaged nearly 50 yards a punt on nine attempts and landed four of them inside the 20-yard line with one touchback.
In terms of the return game, Washington nearly ran the ball back for 100 yards between kickoffs and punts, with the highlight of the day being a nice 37-yard punt return that could have been more if not for Donnie Jones, the punter, forcing Washington out of bounds.
Nobody had a huge day, but the coverage was consistent in shutting down the Rams receivers well enough to help the D-line maintain pressure Bradford throughout the day.
The only major hiccup for this unit came on Richard Sherman's non-existent coverage on the touchdown to Brandon Lloyd.
Solid afternoon with no major highs or lows, but nice plays included David Hawthorne's fumble recovery, Leroy Hill picking up a sack and K.J. Wright's epic flop.
Defensive Line: A
Saving the best for last: the first line of defense.
Red Bryant and Chris Clemons made Sam Bradford miserable by stealing the show in tallying 3.5 sacks and an interception for a defense that looks more and more impressive with each passing week.
Once again they stuffed the run as the Rams only managed to gain 42 yards on the ground, which is even more impressive if you take away Steven Jackson's one really big gain for 19 yards.
Of course, every win requires the help of several key contributors, but this unit stands out in getting the game ball. The stiff arm Bryant gave Austin Pettis on his interception was simply a thing of beauty for a crew that might be developing a bit of a mean streak.
Let's hope the Seahawks can build on this win next Sunday when they head to the nation's capital to face the Redskins.