Week 5 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 37, St. Louis Rams 31
What you need to know
WR Joe Jurevicius and WR D.J. Hackett started in place of Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram. WR Peter Warrick also started the game (three receiver sets), but it was clear through the game that Jurevicius and Hackett were QB Matt Hasselbeck’s top targets. Late in the game Jurevicius separated himself as Hasselbeck’s go-to receiver posting a career best nine catches for 137 yards.
QB Matt Hasselbeck posted his first 300+ yard passing effort of the season and didn’t seem to mind that he was missing both his starting wide receivers. However, Hasselbeck did spread the ball around more to running backs far more in this game than he has so far this season. RB Shaun Alexander and FB Mack Strong each saw a season high in targets. Seattle did not run the ball more than would be normal considering the loss of Engram and Jackson. The pass run ratio in play calling for Seattle was 42:26.
The Seahawks ended a four game losing streak to the Rams dating back to 2003. The Seahawks had blown games late in the fourth quarter with regularity during the past two seasons and this one appeared to be evolving into more of the same. With four minutes left in the game a field goal by PK Jeff Wilkins pulled the Rams back to within six points. After a quick three and out the Seahawks were punting the ball back to the Rams, but a fumble by WR Shaun McDonald on the return bailed Seattle out.
RB Steven Jackson separated himself even more from backup RB Marshall Faulk. Faulk entered the game late on a few long third down situations, but had no touches in the game with only one passing target. Jackson was very tough to bring down in the open field and displayed the ability it takes to carry an offense. However, the Rams play calling continues to emphasize the pass much more than the run.
Even though QB Marc Bulger completed 65% of his passes in this game, he was never really on. He missed some open receivers early in the game and had a tough time keeping drives alive on third down. However, Bulger recovered and hit some hot streaks during the game.
After surrendering 81 points during their past two games the Rams defense has given new meaning to the term leaky. The Rams’ secondary wasn’t able to cover Seattle’s second-string receivers, and also allowed RB Shaun Alexander to pound them for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
What you ought to know
Hasselbeck was sharp and efficient completing 71% of his passes and leading Seattle on seven scoring drives. The Seahawks went three and out only twice during the game and Hasselbeck played a huge part in that. Hasselbeck stood tall in the pocket keeping his eyes downfield while under a fairly heavy pass rush. He was sacked four times in the game, but the Rams were able keep bodies all around him on most plays. Further, Hasselbeck did a nice job of moving around in the pocket and rolling away from pressure.
Alexander got off to a slow start in the game. His first five carries were for 1, 0, 3, 1(TD), and 1 yards, but Seattle stuck with him and continued to feed him the ball as well as getting him more involved in the passing game. His one yard touchdown early on was a sweep wide to the left, but Alexander made a great cut back to the middle when a hole opened up. Alexander’s five passing targets were a season high as they utilized some screen plays which Seattle has shied away from this season. After the first quarter Alexander punished the Rams with some very tough running breaking tackles leaving defenders in his wake. Almost half of Alexander’s rushing yardage came in the fourth quarter as Seattle ran with a bit more frequency trying to run out the clock.
|RB Mack Strong, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets)|
Strong saw his heaviest workload of the season with five passing targets and one carry. His 11 yard run just before half time led to a field goal by PK Josh Brown. All three of Strong’s receptions went for first downs, and one of his other two targets drew a holding penalty resulting in a first down.
Jurevicius had a career day filling the number one receiver role this week for Seattle. He got off to a solid start early in the game pulling in a 52 yard reception after QB Matt Hasselbeck rolled out away from the pass rush. Jurevicius recognized what was going on and broke his route down field giving Hasselbeck an outlet. His touchdown reception came on a crossing route. Jurevicius was matched up with a linebacker and simply outran him across the field. Late in the game when Seattle started to see the game possibly slipping away Hasselbeck and Jurevicius connected on three consecutive short out routes leading to a field goal by PK Josh Brown.
Hackett had the first two receptions in the game for Seattle. His five receptions were all on short outs and curls. However, Hackett was targeted on two long passes to the end zone. The first one during the first quarter was able to draw a pass interference flag and led to a one yard touchdown by RB Shaun Alexander.
After seeing one target on Seattle’s first drive Warrick went to the sidelines and wasn’t heard from again until the third quarter when he made his one reception. Warrick’s other target was on first down to begin the Seahawks’ last possession. Also of note, Warrick didn’t return punts in this game.
Out for this game due to cracked ribs.
Out for this game due to knee surgery.
Stevens scored his touchdown from 29 yards off of a blown St. Louis coverage. He came across the back of the linebackers all alone and literally walked into the end zone. His other two receptions were both in the second quarter.
Hannam saw all three of his targets on third down situations. He dropped his first one working a quick out on third and short that could have easily been a first down. Both his other receptions were on third down as well, but Hannam was the check down receiver in both situations when QB Matt Hasselbeck came off his first look.
Brown was a perfect three for three kicking field goals (34, 44, and 28 yards). However, his 28 yard kick midway through the fourth quarter ricocheted off the left upright before bouncing through.
The Seahawks did a solid job of stopping RB Steven Jackson on straight running plays, but Seattle was burned by draw plays and delays. When the Seahawks initially read pass the running lanes opened up quickly. Rookie LB Lofa Tatupu (nine tackles) continues to give the Seahawks a needed presence in the middle of their defense. Tatupu also added an interception late in the game. Tatupu does a nice job of flowing to the ball and reading offenses well. However, his lack of size was apparent when he met RB Steven Jackson one on one at the line of scrimmage. Jackson gained five yards on the play and Tatupu was on the ground behind him.
The Seahawks lost two starters when CB Andre Dyson left the game with a pulled hamstring and SS Michael Boulware was carted off the field and taken to the hospital with a possible spinal injury. X-rays came back negative and the early word is positive for Boulware. The Seahawks were able to get pressure on QB Marc Bulger with only their front four on a more consistent basis than they have so far this season. The Seahawks mixed up their rush quite a bit on obvious passing downs sometimes only sending three after the quarterback.
Bulger began the game completing only five of thirteen attempts in the first quarter. He was terribly inaccurate missing open receivers all over the field, and a few of the balls he did complete were thanks to nice catches by his receivers. However, Bulger did settle down and connected on all seven of his attempts during the second quarter while throwing both of his touchdowns. On several plays in the game Bulger took a hit from a defender because he held the ball too long. To his credit he’s keeping his eyes down field and looking to make a play, but he’s also taking unnecessary shots when there’s nothing available. His interception was thrown deep down the middle. There wasn’t much pressure in his face. He was just short on the throw.
Jackson was very tough to bring down when he got in the open field and had a head of steam charging forward. The Rams effectively got Jackson involved in their passing game with several screens and dump offs. Jackson caught three balls during the drive that was capped by his own four yard touchdown run. When he met players one on one in the hole, Jackson was able to plow ahead for positive yardage.
Faulk had no carries in the game. His only target was late in the game on a second and eighteen play during the Rams’ last possession.
Holt wasn’t targeted on the first three Rams’ possessions, but eventually Bulger started to look his way at the end of the first quarter with two successive targets. One of those went for 16 yards leading to the Curtis touchdown. Holt made an amazing one handed grab on a deep out during the second quarter. The play could have gone for more yards if Bulger was on target. Holt beat CB Marcus Trufant one on one at the line of scrimmage on an easy pitch and catch down the left sideline for a touchdown. Holt showed throughout the game that he is one of the more technically sound receivers in the NFL using precise route running to get open. Through the rest of the game Bulger started to lock on to Holt, possibly too much. Holt was targeted on Bulger’s interception during the third quarter.
Holt did leave the game briefly with a knee ailment but quickly returned. He caught his TD a couple of plays after returning. Afterwards, he was still having his knee checked out on the sidelines and will likely have some tests Monday. But he didn’t seem limited while playing.
McDonald was targeted on almost exclusively on short underneath routes, quick outs, and receiver screens. The Rams seemed intent on getting the ball in McDonald’s hands in space to allow him to make a play with his legs. Late in crunch time when the Rams had to move the ball in desperation McDonald saw three targets while WR Kevin Curtis disappeared.
Curtis was QB Marc Bulger’s favorite target early in the game, but Bulger and Curtis couldn’t hook up. Curtis was only able to catch one of his first five targets. However, Curtis opened the second quarter by pulling in a 25 yard touchdown pass. Curtis was also targeted in the end zone during the third quarter, but didn’t see a ball come his way during the fourth.
Robinson has rarely been used in the passing game, but with starting TE Brandon Manumaleuna sidelined Robinson got a chance to get involved. His only target picked up 28 yards down the middle of the field and got the Rams’ offense rolling leading to the Curtis touchdown.
Wilkins nailed his only field goal attempt in the game from 40 yards. However, the Rams lined up for what would have been a 53 yard attempt, but the snap went directly to Wilkins who pooch punted the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
The Rams did a nice job early in the game of keeping RB Shaun Alexander in check, but as the game wore on Alexander began to break longer runs and grind out some tough yards. FS Mike Furrey led the Rams in tackles in the game, but Alexander abused Furrey in the open field on the 18 yard touchdown run. The Rams appeared to be particularly soft between the tackles.
DE Leonard Little was in and out of the game with back spasms. Little was even taken to the locker room early before half time for treatment. However, he still entered the game on obvious passing situations as Seattle struggled to keep him out of the backfield. The St. Louis secondary had some organizational issues. On both touchdown passes they allowed the receiver was running free through the secondary on crossing routes.