September 19, 2016

Rams 9, Seahawks 3

The weird alchemy that has allowed the deeply mediocre Jeff Fisher Rams to beat the mighty Seahawks most of the time apparently continues to hold sway after a profoundly frustrating 9-3 defeat in Seattle's return to the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Against the Seahawks, the Fisher Rams are 5-4, against the rest of the football universe they are an abysmal 23-33-1. It's not a stretch to argue those wins against Seattle are what has kept Fisher employed by Stan Kroenke - Fisher is a garbage coach whose teams have only posted two winning seasons in the past decade (and the last one was in 2008). A win or two a season against a divisional rival/perennial contender like the Seahawks is juuuuuuuuust enough to take to your owner and say "See! We beat Seattle! And we went 8-8. Good times are just around the corner."

When these teams meet again on Thursday Night Football in December, the Seahawks will blind millions of viewers with their "Action Green" abominations uniforms, and probably roll in with something like a 9-4 record. Los Angeles will probably be 6-7 or worse... And that game will probably be decided in the 4th quarter because at some point Jeff Fisher clearly leased part of his soul to Lucifer in exchange for victories over a team with better talent, better coaching, and better ownership.

Anyway, let's talk about that game, if we must.

So much of this is familiar, isn't it? The early season offensive struggles. The howls about the state of the offensive line and the quality of Bevell's playcalling. The proclamations of imminent doom. My refutations of said proclamations. ZZZzzzzzzz...

The short version? It actually will be OK. We're 1-1, but so are all our main rivals for the NFC's #1 seed (Arizona, Green Bay, and Carolina. Apologies if I don't take a hobbled Minnesota side and dubiously 2-0 Giants squad seriously yet). The Seahawks have three winnable games (Santa Clara, at the Jets, Atlanta) and a badly-needed bye before a huge late October SNF dust-up with the Cardinals.

The defense? Yes, they've only allowed one touchdown and 19 total points in two games. The run defense is stout and the pass rush seems fiercer than at this point a year ago. There's little indication that they'll be any worse than a top-5 unit this season. However, they are still vulnerable to big plays from opposing tight ends, and they haven't yet forced a turnover this season. As well as they've played, we need them to reach another level to keep winning games while the offense struggles.

The offensive line is going through its (sadly) regularly scheduled struggles. The biggest concern isn't the running game (though that has been fairly anemic), but the long-term health of Russell Wilson. We've already seen him sprain his ankle, thus limiting his mobility and hampering his accuracy. We've already seen multiple quarterbacks around the league go down for varying lengths of time. At this point, we are playing with matches in a kerosene-soaked branch of Dunder-Mifflin, just crossing our fingers and hoping we can get to the bye week without the WolfBadger getting seriously injured.

Thomas Rawls left the game yesterday with a leg contusion (Wow - That sounds way worse than it actually is, doesn't it?), but even before then Christine Michael was running more effectively and with more authority - Only to somewhat spoil his promising performance by coughing up a game winning-drive-killing fumble late in the 4th quarter. Encouragingly, Jimmy Graham was worked more fully into the offensive game plan and Tyler Lockett returned from a knee injury to make a spectacular catch that put us in a position to steal the win (before CMike's fumble).

As usual, the gloom and doom pervading the fan base is unwarranted. We've seen this before, and it's nothing that hasn't kept this group from making deep playoff runs in the past. But we are one Russell Wilson injury away from a lost season, and that's the specter that is haunting my brain today. Hopefully against Santa Clara the offensive line can get enough push to establish the running game and keep RW3's exposure to wanton violence at a minimum.

What do you think, sirs?

1 comment:

it's all in D Hans said...

True that. I thought the Rams defense played well because of Russel's lack of mobility. Even when he ran, he wasn't as fast as usual. We were in position to win on that last drive, the fumble killed that. Am very worried about DangeRuss staying healthy through this all, but am liking his team leadership and perseverance through his personal struggle.

As for the Rams (as much as I hate them and the 49ers), Fisher gets them to play tough against division opponents. Barring that MNF opening game, mind you. I remember when the 49ers were the darling of the media a couple of years back, and Fisher and his Rams went 1-0-1 against them. I will be happy to split wins with the Rams this year. And with the Cardinals. As long as we sweep the 9ers!