By John Boyle
More big plays have Seahawks up by 14
Sorry for the lack of updates. Dealing with some internet issues here. Anyway, lots more after the game, but as you’ve no doubt seen or heard, Seattle is now up 20-6 thanks to a Bruce Irvin interception return for a touchdown, then a touchdown saving forced fumble by Earl Thomas. Barring a crazy finish here, the Seahawks will own home field advantage in the playoffs for a second straight year.
Hill picks Hill to set up touchdown
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill just made the play of the game, and maybe the season considering what is at stake, diving to intercept Shaun Hill on what the quarterback intended to be a throwaway in to the ground. The Rams were in range of attempting a long go-ahead field goal, and instead gave the ball away. After five plays got Seattle into the red zone, the biggest being a 31-yard catch by Kevin Norwood on blown coverage, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 9-yard run to make it 13-6. Hauschka ties it More encouraging signs for Steven Hauschka as he drills a 45-yarder, making it 6-6 in the third quarter. Russell Wilson is heating up in the second half as well, completing 7 of 8 passes in the third quarter for 84 yards, with the only incompletion being a drop by Luke Willson. Seahawks get field goal on opening drive of second half Seattle’s offense finally put points on the scoreboard, getting a 42-yard field goal out of its opening drive. The big play to set up the score was a spectacular leaping catch on the sideline by rookie receiver Paul Richardson, which gained 32 yards. Perhaps most encouraging for Seattle on that drive—aside from the points themselves—is that Steven Hauschka comfortably made the 42-yard field goal, a good confidence boost after missing three field goals in Arizona last week. Rams lead 6-0 at halftime As things stand right now, with Arizona leading in San Francisco, the Seahawks are staring at the No. 5 seed and a road trip if they don’t turn things around in the next two quarters. The Good news for the Seahawks is that they’re down by just six points despite about as bad of an offensive half as they could have had. That was the first time since Oct. 23, 2011 that the Seahawks were shut out in a first half (the Charlie Whitehurst start at Cleveland, an eventual 6-3 loss for Seattle). The Seahawks actually out-gained the Rams 189-66 in the half, but are losing thanks to two turnovers. Robert Turbin led the Seahawks with 29 rushing yards on 7 carries, while Marshawn Lynch had 29 yards on 7 carries. Russell Wilson was 8 for 13 for 117 yards and an interception, good for a passer rating of 58.8, a number that would have been even worse if not for that 38-yarder to Doug Baldwin at the end of the half against prevent defense. Two turnovers lead to a Rams field goal The Seahawks’ most promising drive of the day ended on an interception when Russell Wilson overthrew Paul Richardson under pressure, resulting in just his seventh interception this season. The defense got a quick stop, but the Seahawks then gave the ball away again, this time with Marshawn Lynch fumbling after a 12-yard reception. Again Seattle’s defense came up with a stop, but the change in field position from those two turnovers left the Rams in field-goal range without gaining a yard, so it’s now 6-0 with 4:18 left in the half. Seahawks go for it on 4th, come up short Maybe it was Pete Carroll just feeling aggressive, or maybe it was a lack of confidence in kicker Steven Hauschka after he missed three field goals last week, but rather than attempt a 53-yard field goal on their last drive, the Seahawks went for it on 4th-and-5, and while Russell Wilson did connect with Luke Willson, the tight end came up a yard short. One interesting special teams note after the Rams following possession, which was a three-and-out: the Seahawks are using their regular defense rather than their usual punt return team when St. Louis punts, with the one exception being punt returner Bryan Walters replacing Earl Thomas. The Seahawks won’t likely get a good return doing that—Walters has fair caught both returns so far—but they’re a lot less likely to get burned by a trick play with their defense on the field. Rams take 3-0 lead after dumb penalty The Seahawks just conceded points to the Rams in part because of a special teams mistake. Sound familiar? This time it wasn’t that the Seahawks got burned by a trick play, however, it was instead a silly penalty that did them in, with Ricardo Lockette running into punt returner Tavon Austin well after Austin had fair caught a punt. That penalty gave the Rams the ball at midfield, and quarterback Shaun Hill was able to put enough of a drive together to get St. Louis into field goal range. Don’t panic quite yet, however. This is the third time in four games that the Seahawks’ opponent has scored first, and those games all turned out OK for Seattle. Punt, punt Not much offense so far, which was somewhat expected. The Rams went three-and-out to open the game, a drive that opened with a vicious hit from Kam Chancellor on rams TE Cory Harkey. The Rams eventually punted on fourth-and-one—hardly a given for them—but the Seahawks couldn’t do much of anything with the ensuing possession, going three and out themselves. Russell Wilson was sacked once on that possession and hit hard on another incomplete pass when rookie Aaron Donald flattened left guard James Carpenter. It’s early, but if the Seahawks can’t protect Wilson better against the Rams, who have sacked him 22 times in five games, it’s going to be a tough day for Seattle’s offense. Two notes on that opening series: Marshawn Lynch was on the field to start the game after missing the first quarter last week with stomach issues, and also, with Jermaine Kearse sidelined, rookie Kevin Norwood started in a three-receiver set along with Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson. Norwood had been inactive for the previous two games.