ST. LOUIS – In the week leading up to the game, Russell Wilson and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith worked on eliminating fumbles when Wilson gets hit.
“If it’s not there,” Wilson said, “sometimes you just have to surrender.”
It was perhaps the perfect point of emphasis in preparation for Seattle’s 14-9 win at St. Louis on Monday.
Wilson was harassed by St. Louis’ defensive front all night but never fumbled. The Rams sacked Wilson seven times and came after him every chance they could. On one series, in fact, he was sacked on two consecutive plays by the same player.
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“We had a million problems in protection again,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They rushed like crazy. We did a ton of different stuff to try to offset it, and nothing really helped us.”
The offensive line has been Seattle’s most glaring concern since starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini were sidelined with injuries early in the season. That meant Paul McQuistan, who is better suited to play guard, and Michael Bowie, a rookie taken in the seventh round, would be called upon to corral some of the NFL’s best pass rushers. (Okung and Giacomini aren’t expected back for a few weeks).
Seattle’s offensive line has been shaky all season — Carroll called the number of hits Wilson has taken this season a big concern earlier in the week — and it was especially so against the Rams.
It led to a grisly offensive performance from Seattle: The Seahawks had just 135 total yards, averaged 2.9 yards per carry and converted on only 18 percent of their third downs. Seattle managed just seven first downs. St. Louis, by comparison, had 23.
“We’ve got to protect Russell better,” said tight end Zach Miller. “That was a big part of it. Really no time to throw.”
Wilson completed 10 of 18 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, although even those numbers are slightly misleading. Wilson completed an 80-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Golden Tate down the sideline. Other than that, the passing game never got going.
The Seahawks struggled similarly against Houston earlier this season, when the Texans’ pass rush never let Wilson have time to throw. A good defensive front has been the best way to slow Seattle’s offense so far, and that was true against the Rams.
“We couldn’t get the time we needed to throw the ball,” Miller said.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org