Well that was ugly. Everything was on the line for the Seattle Seahawks when they went up against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but they looked flat and unmotivated in every phase of the game in a 42-7 loss. Because the Atlanta Falcons own the tiebreaker against Seattle, their best chance of making the playoffs before Sunday was by winning the division. However, after their last outing, the Seahawks obviously do not even belong in the same conversation as the Rams.
The Rams dominated on defense, ran and passed the ball better, and they actually seemed to value special teams unlike the Seahawks who continuously missed tackles and refused to adjust their punt coverage. Put simply, this loss was downright embarrassing.
Throughout this year, quarterback Russell Wilson has made miraculous plays to give his team a chance to win, but in the most important game of the year against the Rams he looked like a rookie. He never climbed up in the pocket, and instead he kept dropping and spinning further back making life very difficult for his offense line who already had the challenge of stopping Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Obviously, the offensive line did not have a great game, but some of those sacks must be attributed to Wilson’s reluctance to get the ball out of his hands and his deep drop backs.
While Wilson was a huge disappointment, the rest of the team as a whole was a disappointment as well. This may be an overreaction, but I believe this game and parts of the contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars proved that there is a lack of talent in Seattle right now. Of course, the Seahawks have multiple big names on their roster and a lot of those names are injured, but one of the main strengths of this team used to be their depth.
Just a few years back the defensive line used to be able to shuffle through eight players that consistently played at a high level, but now if you take either defensive end Frank Clark or Michael Bennett, the pass rush suffers mightily. Not to mention, on the inside of this defensive line nobody is proving to be a reliable run stuffer which was on full display as Rams running back Todd Gurley had a career day.
Again, it is always tough losing guys like cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, and linebacker K.J. Wright, but the drop off to the next man up has just been too large to overcome, which unfortunately for the Seahawks is the sign of a troubling future.
I expect the Seahawks to finish the year at 9-7, with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week 16 and then a win against the Arizona Cardinals in the final week. For the first time in the Wilson era, the Seahawks will fail to make the playoffs, and in the next few years their contender status will continue to dwindle until they reload on talent.
The core in Seattle is aging, so the injury problem will not go away any time soon. Rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin has shown upside this year, but the Legion of Boom has continuously proven to be somewhat fragile, and thus the Seahawks will need to draft some youth into their secondary. The problem is other units like the defensive line, offensive line, and the running backs group need immediate help as well, but Seattle has a scare number of high draft picks.
The trades for left tackle Duane Brown and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson looked great at the time and addressed key needs, but these deals aged the Seahawks even more and cost them draft picks. Going forward if Seattle wants to return to the top of the NFL they must return to their old philosophy of acquiring draft picks, drafting the best player available, then developing talent.
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