A new podcast & a new guest post from Curtis Allen

Here is our preview podcast for the Rams game. Please check it out and if possible, like the video on YouTube to help spread the word…

Meanwhile Curtis Allen has very kindly put together this extensive watch-notes piece ahead of the game in a new guest post…

This is the Game of the Year for the Seahawks

There is so much riding on this game:

– A chance to win the division for the first time since 2016.

– A chance to host a playoff game, rather than going on the road as a wild card. This could vault them out of the ‘one win and done’ cycle they’ve found themselves stuck in.

However, there is also much more to this game than just practical concerns. There are emotional and philosophical victories to be had:

– A real win over Sean McVay at a crucial time would be a huge confidence booster. Particularly since it is possible they will face the Rams again in the playoffs, and they’re not going anywhere in 2021.

– A division title signals progress. After an extremely confusing offseason and a turbulent regular season with some serious in-season adjustments to their roster and game strategy, a win, a division title and a deeper playoff run would be extremely validating. It’s possible that major personnel and coaching changes will be made this offseason. A win or loss in this game could set in motion all kinds of decisions.

So the stakes are high.

But the opponent is tough. Make no mistake; this win will have to be earned and the Seahawks have not had success against this team. It’s worth briefly running through what makes the Rams such a tough out for the Seahawks.

The Rams’ core strategy is molded by Sean McVay in a way that maximizes their output and allows them to play a very high quality of complementary football. They’re built to quickly get a lead offensively and then sustain that lead with a fantastic defensive line. And it’s been a smashing success when they are able to play to plan: The Rams are undefeated under McVay when they have the lead at halftime.

– The offense mixes the run, pass and keeping the QB clean as well as anyone in the NFL. Their strategic concepts on offense allow them to accumulate points early in the game before defenses can adjust.

– Getting a lead early allows the defense to be aggressive.

They play like Tarzan with a lead (73 QB rating allowed, 34 sacks, 10 interceptions). Comparatively, they are like Jane when they’re behind (96 QB rating allowed, 6 sacks, 1 interception).

– With a lead, both sides are allowed to dictate the game tempo. The offense only plays 30% of their snaps while trailing. The defense? Only 21% of their total snaps are played while trailing. So teams are forced to chase them and alter their game plan accordingly.

It’s not hard to see why the Seahawks have struggled so much with the Rams. They’ve never been the fastest starters and that plays right into the Rams’ strategy. They’ve been able to keep the Seahawks off-balance, always trying to adjust and figure out something that works, not being sure of when to take a risk and when to play conservatively and calling increasingly desperate plays that allow the defense to pin their ears back and get aggressive.

I put it this way in my Week 10 Watch Points about playing the Rams:

This game is like a horse race. If you don’t get out of the gate quickly, get out of the jostling herd and build up a head of steam, you’re going to get stuck in the crowd. Breaking free late to win is doable but it is going to be far more difficult because the Rams don’t easily relinquish a lead.

Do the Seahawks have the vision and wisdom to game plan to get the lead early and flip the script? Can they make the Rams chase them for a change?

It’s really a choice – do you want to try and beat them at their game? Or take control and make them play a game they’re far less effective at? The latter has a far greater chance of success. It won’t be easy but appears to be the most direct path to a win.

Thankfully, reinforcements are coming. The players that likely will be available for this game that weren’t in Week 10 are many and should impact the Seahawks’ performance:

– RBs Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Rashaad Penny

– C Ethan Pocic

– CB Shaquille Griffin

– DE Benson Mayowa

As you’ll see, all of those positions will play critical roles in this game and getting all that talent back for the rematch could tip the scales in the Seahawks’ favor.

Let’s dig into the Watch Points for this crucial game:

Win the turnover battle

The Seahawks lost the battle 3-1 in the Week 10 loss and 2-1 in the Week 14 loss last year. It is extremely difficult to succeed against a team playing complementary football if you cost yourself offensive momentum and give their offense extra chances. They’ll have to play disciplined, controlled football to win.

Russell Wilson has to get into a better headspace for this one. He clearly has not been himself the last few weeks and the offensive game plan hasn’t been giving him much of a chance to right himself.

Giving him a selection of plays that makes the game come to him will be very helpful to his success. Which is why the Hawks need to…

Gear down on offense early in the game and control the tempo and the clock

The deep pass has been a source of pride and a real strength for the Seahawks this year. But not against the Rams.

Deep passing against this Rams defense has been a disaster for the Seahawks the last two games:

– The Seahawks were 4 for 20 on deep passes

– Two of those deep passes were intercepted

– Russell Wilson was sacked 11 times

Those are incredibly bad numbers and a big contributor to their lack of success.

We’re not saying they need to abandon the deep ball (remember rookie DK splashing onto the scene against these very Rams, getting a high five from Sidney Rice after catching a 40 yard bomb?) but they definitely need to pick their spots better.

Can they learn anything from teams that have had success against the Rams? How about San Francisco, for instance? How do the 49ers seem to match up so well with the Rams? How on earth did they manage to sweep the Rams this year, when the Seahawks struggle against them so much?

Part of the puzzle is the 49ers’ offensive construct.

How many deep passes did they throw in their games against LA? Six. Three of them were caught. San Fran rarely throws past the sticks, that’s just their personnel makeup and they play to it. So they match up very well with the Ram defense because they get the ball out quickly and don’t let their monster defensive line get any time to chase the quarterback down.

That strategy – combined with a solid ground game – greatly helped the Niners handily win the time of possession battle in both games. The first game they won by
nine minutes. The second game by a whopping 15 minutes – they possessed the ball a whole quarter longer than the Rams did. They kept the ball out of the Ram offense’s hands and controlled the clock and flow of the game. They successfully kept the Rams from fully utilizing their coaching and player talent.

The Seahawks have done the polar opposite of the Niners. They threw 20 deep passes to the Niners’ six and it tellingly had the opposite effect:

– 16 of the Seahawks’ 20 deep passes ended with a negative result: Two interceptions and 14 unsuccessful throws that stopped the clock. Further attempts at deep passes were met with 11 sacks.

Those are drive-killing numbers and they furthered the Rams’ game script at the expense of the Seahawks’. Obviously, some adjusting is in order.

The Seahawks must play with controlled aggression. Come out of the gate with a quick passing, run-establishing offense to eat the clock and score some points. There’ll be time for some deep passing when you’ve gotten some momentum built up and the game is better in hand. An insistence on long-developing plays early on will likely allow the pass rush time to get into Russell Wilson’s head. In Week 10 he was ducking blue jerseys that weren’t there and couldn’t find open receivers when under pressure. Fewer deep passes early gives everyone a greater chance at success.

Russell Wilson, you must get back on track.

Think quickly. Find your tight ends. Get your wide receivers the ball on short passes and let them get yards after the catch. Find your running backs in the flat. Take the scramble yards the Rams offer you. Don’t worry about gaudy stats and offseason awards. Manage the game and play with the confidence you’ve recently lacked against this team. Even if you don’t have it. Fake it till you make it, Russell. If you provide the level of play you’re capable of, you can take this team to the Super Bowl. It starts this week.

Defense — play creative, assignment-correct football and impact this offense

In Week 10 the defense sacked Jared Goff three times. All three sacks killed a Rams drive. One of them was a strip sack by Jamal Adams that the Seahawks recovered.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? They blitzed 21 times to get those three sacks. They only recorded eight pressures and forced only four bad throws by Goff. He recovered from the sacks nicely and had a pretty effective game otherwise.

It didn’t help that the Seahawks’ backfield wasn’t supporting the pass rush very well. They had several problems in coverage that left the defense vulnerable and kept the stress off of Jared Goff to play perfect football.

They must unify the defensive line, linebackers and coverage guys by being assignment correct and experience a higher success rate on their blitzes and must get more pressure with their front four in non-blitzing situations.

Going into Week 10 the Rams had been 0-5 when Goff was pressured 10 or more times the last two seasons. The average number of times Goff was blitzed by the defense in a Rams loss was double the times he’d been blitzed in a Rams win.

Defenses lately have been picking up on this – Goff is regularly getting blitzed by smart teams now. He and McVay are adjusting. His YTD passer rating when blitzed is nearly the same as it is in normal rush situations now. So just flooding the pocket with bodies and hoping the chaos will produce good results will not work as effectively as it has in the past. The Seahawks must get more creative and pick their spots better.

Snacks Harrison and Poona Ford will have chances to impact this game. Harrison’s first game in 2020 was against the Rams. It’s likely he has a better footing and sense of what the Seahawks want from him. If they can clog and disrupt the middle and keep their running backs from giving the offense that ‘just enough breathing room’ margin for them to operate, they’ll be able to put Goff in tougher situations and give the defense some chances to force some bad play from him.

Special Teams — continue to be a championship unit

Week 10 against the Rams, this unit was fantastic:

– Michael Dickson averaged 49 yards per punt and had a 57-yard blast

– Jason Myers was 3/3 on field goals including a 61-yard bomb as time expired in the first half

– DJ Reed had a 49-yard kick return to inject some juice into the offense

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!


  1. Matt

    I’m never going to hear the end of this, but what about the idea of trading DK Metcalf?

    -Pete clearly does not want a focal point on offense that is a WR.
    -DK could fetch you probably a 1st and a 2nd, in all honesty.

    I love DK. He’s my favorite player on this team. But if they are going to continually not target him for entire halves of football, why not deal him for significant draft capital and back fill him with a more complimentary WR? Spend a little chunk of money on a 2nd tier WR FA, draft a guy in R3…and just go back to what Pete wants – complimentary football built around the run game.

    I’m absolutely not saying DK doesn’t help this team. He does. But I just don’t know why you want a Ferrari collecting dust in your garage when you could sell that Ferrari and acquire a car you are actually going to properly utilize.

    Yes, I know it’s a crazy thought and wouldn’t happen. But, I can’t help but think with PC at the helm – we are never going to adequately utilize DK. Again, this goes back to no targets for half of a football game.

    Ultimately, this is about DK fetching significant draft capital that allows this team to get back to what PC wants to do. And FTR, I don’t think Pete’s brand of football wins in 2020 – so it’s not that I want us to go that route but I think it’s an interesting proposition based on Pete’s stubbornness.

    • Rob Staton

      They can’t trade DK. He’s a star. He’s one of the few players they can actually build around.

      Even in Pete ball there’s a place for DK.

      • Roger Davis

        “Even in Pete ball there’s a place for DK.” – Unless of course Ramsey is covering him in which case we can’t even allow DK to prove himself against the best.

      • Mike

        If dk got traded the fans would riot, tear down the seahawk facility and Russell would demand a trade.

        • Matt

          If this postseason goes as expected and Pete goes back to his old ways – I wouldn’t be surprised to see RW demanding a trade in the 2022 offseason.

          • Mike

            Yeah or does an Aaron rodgers like move and gets a new coach into seattle

            • Matt

              I don’t think he will have that leverage. And more importantly, I don’t think RW has the personality to do that. I think demanding a trade is a stretch, but he will have turned 33 and I could see him getting impatient.

      • Volume12

        For what? To take a 50/50 crapshoot on a prospect when you found arguably the best young receiver in the game already? DK’s exactly what Pete has wanted in a receiver since he got to the PNW.

        • Matt

          You completely missed the point.

          1. DK is a huge asset.

          2. We don’t fully utilize that asset or outright avoid it for 30 mins/game.

          3. So trade asset to acquire more assets to build a roster that is in line with how the coach wants to use it.

          Pete may want a DK-like receiver, but he doesn’t want to use him how a DK-like receiver should be used in the modern NFL. More importantly, we are lacking draft capital – hence the idea.

          And I would personally hate to see it; but I’m tired of watching PC bang his head against the wall with how he coaches this team. He coaches a team he wishes he had, not the one he has. So, take that great asset and try to acquire the personnel he wants to coach/scheme to. Find a couple decent #2 WRs. Pass the ball 25 times a game. And hang on for dear life hoping your defense holds a one score lead or your offense overcomes it. That’s Pete ball.

          • Kenny Sloth

            You completely missed the point. No. Just no.

            • Matt

              Thanks for the addition to the discourse.

              It won’t happen and I don’t want it to happen. I’m simply posing a question as PC is going to be here for the long haul, the fact we have no draft capital, and that PC wants to play a certain style.

              • Jordan E

                T. Lockett should be traded if your looking to trade a WR. DK is still a league leader in yards… hes getting used. Lockett on the other hand has disappeared and his contract is expiring. Why trade DK for the production plus extremely cheap rookie contract?

                • Paul Cook

                  Vol 12 had it right. DK is just the kind of receiver that PC covets.

  2. James Kupihea

    Thanks for the read, happy holidays!

  3. Brian Chase

    Seahawks 30 Rams 17

  4. Bankhawk

    Rob, that was masterful! What a great read, and graced with such clarity of vision as well. It’d sure be great if the D could make a few plays that would have Goff hearing footsteps right out of the gate. Also, would like to see our O deliver a bloody nose using our currently healthy RB room and some YAC after Russ delivers on a few of those faster developing pass plays you mentioned.
    I’m still stinging over the lack of transparency in the
    ‘Josh Gordon Affair’, but your article was as balm to my wound. I went straight to the podcast and ‘liked’, though I’ll have to wait to get home from work to listen.
    Once again, hope your holiday with the family is everything you’d like it to be.

    • Rob Staton

      This was written by Curtis Allen (cha) so I can’t take any credit!

  5. Mark Dickinson

    It is winter time and this is the time to get Physical. Having Carson , Hyde, and a x factor Penny coming back. I believe Seattle has set them self up to take this Rams team. It going to be an ugly Seattle night of dark clouds and winter rain. Best moment in my life was I the outside LB and a reverse happened. I won tackling him 6yds behind the line but both of us walked off soaking wet. That was a really tough game which i got a star for.
    It’s time to put on the big boy pants and go out and put the Rams away. Then we need to look at killing Green Bay in the NFC Championship. It doesn’t get more Physical than that.

  6. BLiptai

    To clarify; it was Curtis (Cha) who wrote this excellent breakdown.

  7. Pran

    Seahawks have not won against one good team this season… they have been a beneficiary of a very easy schedule.

    If they have to win this game, offense cant play like last 8-9 weeks and defense need to keep improving…i would give a 30% shot to win… how in the hell did Jets win against Rams, it will be a shame if Pete and Russ loses right after that.

    • BruceN

      “ Seahawks have not won against one good team this season…”

      The 9-5 Dolphins would disagree. Cardinals are not chopped liver either.

      • Pran

        Hawks played them early in the season with Fitz as QB and they were still upcoming… Cards are up and down and they split the series. all middle of the pack decent teams…

  8. Troy

    Great break down Curtis, I think you hit on a lot of the key issues the hawks have faced against the Rams. For the last few years the hawks have been a slow starting team while the Rams have been the opposite, and the results have been what they’ve been.

    The recent Washington game gives me hope that offensively we can get a good game plan against the Rams. They knew Washington dline was dangerous and they succeeded in game planning around it.

    Same exact thing here, but they just can’t be quite so conservative. Establish Carson, establish Wilson with quick throws, but I think the real thing they need to do to open it up is have Wilson keep some options to really keep the defense honest.

    If Wilson can crack just 2 or 3 runs for first downs, I think that puts him on a roll and let’s him have a great game.

  9. L80

    The Seahawks defense was pretty banged up in the first game. This time they are in way better shape, especially with the play of Reed at CB. Plus the D-Line is playing way better.

    My biggest concern is the soft middle that the Rams always exploit. Seems like Higbee can just do whatever he wants. That needs to be shored up.

  10. Henry Taylor

    The idea of the Cowboys trading up for a QB and letting Dak walk makes a lot of sense and could happen, Jets need more than just a QB and none of them are the absolute must drafts that Lawrence is.

    But it also scares the crap out of me, because I’d bet the house he ends up in San Francisco, imagine what Shanahan would do with a QB like Dak?

    • TheOtherJordan

      The Cowboys are going to offer Dak a significant extension. If he walks it will be because some other team offered more which likely means well north of 30 million per year. Dak is good, not great. And like most Cowboy players, the hype is greater than the reality.

      I’d be fine if the 49ers paid a good, not great QB in the neighborhood of 35 million per year. It will significantly hinder their salary cap. For the record, I think the Cowboys resign him in the 35 million a year range. And Dallas will be what they’ve been for three decades of Jerry Jones management which is the most average, talked about franchise in professional sports history. You always know it’s November when Troy Aikman is explaining to Joe Buck on the Fox prime time game why the 6-6 Cowboys are better than their record or are really turning the corner and going to be really good next year.

  11. Tree

    Awesome breakdown. McVay gets so much love from the media and many fans would like to dump a hall of fame coach like Pete just for the chance to get the next version of him. I would love to see the coaching staff step up along the lines of the article. I think having good running backs, a better run defense than we have had in years up there middle as well as on the edge, along with the speed and physicality of Adams and Brooks will be the recipe for a win.

  12. Big Mike

    First of all, outstanding breakdown piece cha. Think you’re spot on with your analysis.
    Secondly, I admire your optimism Rob and Robbie. Hope springs eternal for sports fans. Once in a while it is rewarded as we saw in ’13. It can also be a cruel mistress as we saw in ’14.

    All that said, I simply do not see Seattle winning this game. As we all know, Carroll is 1-5 vs. McVay and the one win should’ve been a loss if the usually reliable (back then) Legatron doesn’t miss a 44 yarder. Until Pete proves to me that he can employ a solid plan to beat the McVay Rams I simply don’t see it. As cha mentioned in the piece above, that was certainly not the case the last game so perhaps with a healthy stable of RBs it’ll be different this time. One can hope. None the less:
    Rams 24
    Hawks 20
    Prove me wrong and allow me to enjoy a heapin’ helpin’ of crow Seahawks.

  13. Sea Mode

    Great write-up, cha. That stat about them when leading at halftime is impressive. I know we have/had a similar one going for even longer, so you just know either someone takes the initiative and jumps out in front or something’s got to give.

    • cha

      Thanks Sea Mode.

      The fact is the Rams particularly this year are scary good in the second half. It lends even more incentive to get off to a good start.

      Year to date:

      First Half TDs allowed this year: 19
      Second Half Tds Allowed: 7

      First half INT: 3
      Second half INt: 10

      First half QB rating allowed: 96.4
      Second half: 63.7

  14. pdway

    some really interesting stuff in there. until you pointed it out – i hadn’t realized how much the rams recipe for success relied on the build the early lead and hold onto it w defense gameplan. it’s true, they always seem to be sharp out of the gate. Goff is a capable QB, and can make all the throws, but he’s not a playmaker, so you can see why he’s much better at executing a gameplan early, than he is at mounting a comeback.

    I do expect our D to be better – I think the CB pairing of Reed/Griffin is the best we’ve got – and I also think that Adams is healthier and more settled than he was in the 1st rams mtg.

    On offense, I agree w a previous poster – it’s the time of the season to run the ball, and esp so in this match-up. Would really like to see a successful day from Carson/Hyde et al — and your point about the long passes applies equally to any 3rd and long – we’ve never been good at protecting the QB on long passing downs, and this is especially true against a good D-line like the Rams have. I’d bet that if we get 100+ yards rushing combined from Carson/Hyde, we win this game.

    One last unrelated note — you and others have noted- ‘use the tight ends’ – and I agree that it’s generally a good idea, but I will also throw out this opinion – our TE’s stink. Every week I feel like I watch a team that has more athletic TE’s that ours, Olsen and Dissly are slow, Hollister is OK, but you don’t get much more from him than you do from a big WR. Maybe Parkinson can turn into something, but I’m tired of our team being under-talented at the position.

  15. Dingbatman

    Thank you Cha! And Thank you Rob for hosting! I was resigned to no new content over the holiday while Rob takes a well deserved little break. What a great surprise! Thank you and Merry Christmas to all the SDB folk!

  16. Volume12

    Good stuff cha. Awesome piece

  17. Tony

    Excellent piece cha.

    Also they gotta get dk involved. They ignored him all game against ramsey. Then they threw deep to penny hart while guarded by ramsey nonetheless. Dk needs targets.

    Also feed carson please.

    • Kurt ZUMDIECK


      Why dont we set-up DK for the long ball? Run him short hooks and slants which draws Ramsey in a couple steps, then you go deep on him when he bites?

      Mostly I hate Schotty’s old-school route trees, especially when you watch KC. Even ‘Bama runs a more sophisticated pass offense now….. Make him a head coach please, Please!

      Watch us get out coached again, that’s really the only point I disagree with Cha. McVay is a better game coach. Mark my word he will have a better game plan than we will.

      • Big Mike

        That’s what I’m afraid of too Kurt, McVay and Co. outcoaching Pete and Co. yet again.

  18. BoiseSeahawk

    1. Shut down the quick slant option for Goff to either Cupp or Woods and we will have 3+ sacks.
    2. Rough up TEs, especially Tyler Higbee, he is a beast for them.
    3. Curious to see how much a threat Cam Akers is at this point in the season.

    • Big Mike

      Akers is out.

  19. Rob Staton

    What hat is Bellore wearing here?


  20. cha

    Seahawks PR
    have placed G Phil Haynes on injured reserve this afternoon.
    1:02 PM · Dec 24, 2020

    • Matt

      Phil Haynes to the Seahawks is Me to getting into shape. “Maybe next year is the year?”

  21. Sean

    What makes the Rams so effective at getting the lead early? I can see how they are built to keep the lead once they have it, but would like to better understand why they are particularly effective at scoring early…Thanks for your insight.

    • cha

      They come out with a really well-developed, effective game plan. They use a lot of concepts and misdirection to get defenders to vacate spots they can use to gain yards. There’s a little bit more and a Chris Simms video link that’s worth watching in my last watch points post from Week 10:


      Goff’s strength is being able to execute that plan. When he’s asked to improvise or lead a comeback, he’s less effective.

© 2024 Seahawks Draft Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑