RENTON – Although it took longer than anticipated, the Seattle Seahawks finally are running the ball with some authority 10 weeks into the season.
Through seven games, Seattle averaged just 78 yards a contest on the ground, second-worst in the league.
But the Seahawks have put together impressive back-to-back rushing performances against two of the best run defenses in the league, Dallas and Baltimore.
Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable said all it took was a little patience.
With five offensive linemen starting together for the first time and no offseason program to build continuity, some growing pains were expected.
But Cable expected improvement in the second half of the season, and getting running back Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the running game going became a point of emphasis leading up to the Dallas game two weeks ago.
“It’s not any one of them – it’s all of them,” Cable said. “Marshawn did a great job of reading, and then guys were blocking and fitting helmets the right way and working better as a unit. So it was just kind of a collective deal.”
The Seahawks likely will continue to pound the ball on the ground with Lynch when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams on Sunday.
St. Louis allows a league-worst 150.6 rushing yards per game. Three running backs have rushed for more than 100 yards against the Rams, including Dallas rookie DeMarco Murray, who had 253 yards – the ninth-most all-time – in a 34-7 Cowboys win over St. Louis a month ago.
The Seahawks are coming off back-to-back weeks of running the ball effectively, rushing for a season-high 162 yards two weeks ago at Dallas then having a 119-yard effort against Baltimore.
Lynch had back-to-back 100-yard performances for the first time as a Seahawk, gaining 135 yards against Dallas and 109 against the Ravens.
“Coach Cable has kind of been on him a little bit about the reads in the run game, and he’s been disciplined lately, and it’s showing,” Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll echoed Cable’s statement that Lynch and the offensive line are finally on the same page and seeing the same things in the defense.
“It’s just time,” Carroll said. “And with the time comes the confidence that they know what they’re doing. It’s so hard to be aggressive when you’re uncertain. They’re aggressive right now. They were coming off the football. They were finishing blocks.
“They were getting downfield. They were moving the pile away from the line of scrimmage. We moved the ball down in the red zone. We knocked it in on the goal line – we banged it right home. Those were all good indications that they’re more confident, so they’re playing faster and they’re more aggressive because of that, and that all spells improvement for us.”
Now that Seattle has been successful running the ball, they need to run it more. The Seahawks still run the ball only 39 percent of the time, and the team’s 217 attempts is 28th in the league.
“I think it builds a mentality that you want your team to have,” Cable said about establishing a consistent running game. “Because when you get late into the season, if you can get into position to become a playoff team or go after your division, you have to be able to do some of those things to win late in the year.”
MOFFITT PLACED ON IR
The Seahawks placed rookie guard John Moffitt on the season-ending injured reserve list Tuesday.
With a vacant roster spot, Seattle added offensive lineman Paul Fanaika. The former Arizona State University player went to training camp with Seattle and began the year on the practice squad, but the Seahawks cut him last week to add receiver Patrick Williams.
Carroll indicated earlier that Lemuel Jeanpierre and Paul McQuistan would get the first crack at replacing Moffitt, but Fanaika also played some right guard during the exhibition season.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
Seattle (3-6) at St. Louis (2-7), 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13, 97.3-FM, 710-AM SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT
ST. LOUIS RAMS (2-7)
1:05 p.m., Sunday, Edward Jones Dome, CH. 13, 710-AM, 97.3-FM
Against the Seahawks: These teams meet for the 26th time during the regular season. The Seahawks lead the series, 15-10, and are 6-4 at the Edward Jones Dome. Seattle has won 13 of the past 17 meetings. The teams split last season, with Seattle losing in St. Louis, 20-3, and the Seahawks taking the regular-season finale, 16-6, to win the NFC West Division title.
Stats and stuff: Quarterback Sam Bradford is in a sophomore slump after playing well as a rookie. Bradford has thrown for 1,587 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a 55.3 completion percentage and a 72.6 passer rating in seven games played. Bradford missed two games with a high ankle sprain. Veteran running back Steven Jackson is ninth in the league in rushing with 707 yards, and he has run for four touchdowns. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis leads St. Louis in tackles with 71, and defensive end Chris Long leads the team in sacks with eight. Former Seattle cornerback Nate Ness was added from the Rams’ practice squad to their active roster. Brandon Gibson, a former standout at Rogers High of Puyallup and Washington State University, is second for St. Louis in receptions with 24. He has 295 yards receiving and one touchdown. Former Seahawk Josh Brown is the Rams’ kicker. He is 13-for-16 on field-goal attempts this season.
Quotable: “It’s been a battle, this injury thing. Everybody’s going through ’em. I don’t know which teams have had more or less. I just know what we’re battling with, and it’s been a struggle, but I credit the people that are going in. I credit the coaches for hanging in there. This is not easy. It’s hard to get continuity and execution and smoothness when the parts are interchanging.” – Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo on the rash of injuries that his team has suffered this season.
Sept. 11 Eagles 31, Rams 13
Sept. 19 Giants 28, Rams 16
Sept. 25 Ravens 37, Rams 7
Oct. 2 Redskins 17, Rams 10
Oct. 9 Bye
Oct. 16 Packers 24, Rams 3
Oct. 23 Cowboys 34, Rams 7
Oct. 30 Rams 31, Saints 21
Nov. 6 Cardinals 19, Rams 13
Nov. 13 Rams 13, Browns 12
Nov. 27 Arizona
Dec. 4 at San Francisco
Dec. 12 at Seattle
Dec. 18 Cincinnati
Dec. 24 at Pittsburgh
Jan. 1 San Francisco
Eric D. Williams, staff writer