As I See It: Seahawks-Rams, Week 1
What happened in Seattle and what does it mean to me? Seaside Joe 1653
The theme of Week 1 is always “overreaction” and fans of every team will have opportunities down the line to look back to today and see that not everything was as it appeared to be upon first action. Whether your team wins or loses, whether they look good or bad, whether an individual was phenomenal or frustrating, a sample size of one game is just a sample size of one game.
Last season in Week 3, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Indianapolis Colts, to a head coach who was replaced by a center only a couple of months later. Games in the middle of a season can be masked by what happened before, but teams and players don’t get that luxury in Week 1, so whatever happened today feels like it’s the entire reality of the season.
In a way that is true, but only for the next seven days.
The Seattle Seahawks lost to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday and the 30-13 score is indicative of how the game felt it was going during the entirety of the second half. When the Seahawks took a 13-7 lead in the second quarter, it was disappointing that the offense had already settled for two field goals, but I assumed that the ‘good plays’ would just keep piling up for Seattle as the game went on because it seemed like they had so many advantages going into the day.
Experience, high draft picks, free agent money spent, coaching continuity, homefield advantage, and not having to rely so heavily on rookies and first-time starters, many of whom were playing in front of millions of fans for the first time.
Perhaps being wide-eyed and naive to the pressure turned out to be L.A.’s greatest advantage. Or maybe it was just one of countless advantages because the Rams scored the last 23 points of the game and it was never a contest once they took the lead and Matthew Stafford started converting all the third down plays the Geno Smith turned down.
Here’s the first game of the season…As I see it.
The Seahawks were at a play calling disadvantage
As I see it, Shane Waldron got taken to Xs and Os school by his mentor.
Seattle has Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but either they weren’t open or Geno didn’t see them. Off of 26 attempts, Geno completed 16 for only 112 yards, which is easily worse than any of his 18 starts last season. His season-low for yards in 2022 was 183 against the Jets in Week 17, his season low in Y/A was 5.4 against the Chiefs in Week 16.
As a matter of fact, Geno hasn’t had nine yards per attempt in any of his most recent seven starts, despite being over that number in six of his previous nine.
We can blame Geno and not get an argument out of me, but where’s Waldron at times like this? He’s facing his old boss, Sean McVay, but getting out-classed and out-called with receivers who didn’t come into the season with nearly as much cache as Seattle’s trio: Tutu Atwell had almost double his career-best game (he had 119 yards) and fifth round rookie Puka Nacua also had 119 yards in his NFL debut.
Those two weren’t even perfect, but they had enough wide open opportunities to take advantage against the Seahawks soft defense and they both had more receiving yards individually than Geno had passing yards.
There are players worth calling out for that, sure. I just can’t wrap my head around having that many weapons and not making it far easier on Geno to complete wide open passes, resulting in the Seahawks going 2-of-9 on third down. No play was worse than Geno chucking a bomb in the fourth quarter to a draped DK Metcalf on third-and-4, I just wonder why anything was called up that could allow Geno to even consider something so…unconsiderable.
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Seahawks pass hush
As I see it, the Seahawks unit that should be most ashamed is the defensive line. WITH THE CAVEAT THAT IT IS ONLY ONE GAME, it’s still hard to believe that a player who got a $17 million per year contract (more than Ed Oliver, Grady Jarrett, and Cameron Heyward) didn’t have his name mentioned even once.
I’m talking about Dre’Mont Jones. Yes, you and I and we forgot about Dre’Mont Jones.
Facing a Rams offensive line that played together for the first time sometime in practice last week, featuring almost excusively players who had not been Week 1 starters before, Seattle’s defensive line and edge rushers finished with zero sacks and what I can only assume at this point is like a pressure or two. Stafford had all day to throw, which was a dream come true for a player who doesn’t have any interest in being mobile. (Although Stafford still had the same three carries for 11 yards that Zach Charbonnet had on Sunday.)
Dre’Mont Jones isn’t the only player who didn’t do anything of note, he’s just one of the highest-paid. Uchenna Nwosu had a couple of nice tackles for a loss, but I’m at a loss trying to think of a single time when Stafford even almost got sacked by anyone. (Nwosu also left the game with a knee injury at one point.) Those two players count over $20 million against the salary cap this season.
Darrell Taylor had one tackle, Boye Mafe had five tackles and was in on some run stops, Derick Hall had two assists, Mike Morris had three tackles, Jarran Reed had three tackles, Mario Edwards didn’t show up on the stat sheet.
You couldn’t draw up a seemingly better matchup than getting to face a brand new offensive line protecting an immobile quarterback, so what’s going to happen next week against a Lions offense that features an elite line and a quarterback who never takes sacks?
Seahawks need their rookie corner back
As I see it, Devon Witherspoon couldn’t be worse than Tre Brown and Mike Jackson. It’s too soon after the game to totally condemn Seattle’s cornerbacks, but not too soon to say that during the game they had missed tackles and missed assignments that make the Seahawks secondary look far more like a weakness than a strength. The competition between Brown and Jackson is now feeling far more like a quarterback competition: “When you have two, you actually have none.”
At least we know that the Seahawks spent a top-five pick on a player who is supposed to solidify one of the cornerback positions.
As we saw with Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s debut performance (three catches for 13 yards), just because you’re a first round pick, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a force in your NFL debut. But I can’t wait much longer to see Witherspoon replace either of those cornerbacks, he probably would have made a difference if he had been healthy this fall and available on Sunday. Not that the Seahawks would have won, but Witherspoon’s strengths fit into what Seattle is lacking on defense. They needed an enforcer, a tackler, and maybe someone willing to cover Puka Nacua.
Deus Ex Tackling Machina
As I see it, Bobby Wagner had 19 tackles. It’s not something that I get fired up about because Bobby Wagner shouldn’t have had 19 tackle opportunities—the Seahawks gave up over 420 yards and didn’t get off the field—but that’s cool that he did it. Jordyn Brooks had 12 tackles.
Wagner said after the game that he’s not worried about losing 30-13 and playing horrible defense because the Seahawks will “adjust”.
There are only 17 games and the 49ers, Rams just started 1-0 by playing much better than Seattle did on Sunday. We don’t overreact, but the Seahawks better “adjust” quickly.
Other stat notes:
The Rams had 78 total plays to Seattle’s 46
The Rams averaged 5.5 Yards/Play to Seattle’s 3.9.
Michael Dickson averaged 59 yards per punt
The Seahawks lost the time of possession by 40 minutes:20 minutes
Ken Walker had 12 carries for 64 yards and four catches for three yards; Will Charbonnet be more involved in the passing game next week?
Tyler Lockett had two catches for 10 yards, DK Metcalf had three catches for 47 yards, all in the first half
Julian Love had the only official pass deflection to go with nine tackles
What stats or plays stood out to you?
As I see it, as anyone sees it, the Seahawks had a terrible day on the injury report too: Tyler Lockett (concussion), Charles Cross (toe), Abe Lucas (knee), Nwosu were all hurt and left the game at certain points. Pete said after the game that Lucas doesn’t have a “knee injury” just a knee that is sore from training camp which…what’s the difference, Pete? What’s the difference between an injury and an ailment that prevents someone from playing?