Well, we've said this for the past few weeks, but this game in particular, I think the way the Seahawks respond to two straight losses is of great importance to the remainder of their season. I think in their minds, the Pittsburgh loss was a legitimate defeat precipitated by the time change and other factors. I think the New Orleans game, they are saying, Well, we kind of got screwed by our new long snapper, and before we knew it the game was out of control and we never got a chance to execute our game plan. But this game, against a legitimately bad team, is a win they absolutely have to have. Right now I think there is the feeling that this thing can get turned around and pointed in the right direction. But if they lose two straight to winless teams, especially a beat-up winless team like St. Louis, at home, then furrowed foreheads will abound.
The Rams are 27th in the league against the rush, and Shaun Alexander has it in his head that he is going back to running the way he used to run, so they really need to get the run game going here. They can put last week off as we got down so quickly that we needed to pass early. But this week there should be no excuses. They should successfully establish the run early and let it set up everything else the rest of the day. If nothing else, they need a big run game to feel good going into the bye week. Imagine if they get shut out again and they have two full weeks to second-guess what is going wrong.
The Special Teams needs to have, if not a big day, then a solid day where it doesn't put the offense and defense in a bind. Kind of like Trent Dilfer in Baltimore; don't make mistakes and let the other units win the game. That is where this special teams is right now. Anything positive is gravy. And Boone Stutz better do his job or Mike Holmgren may throw him off the roof of Qwest.
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The pass rush needs to get re-established. Especially against a broken-ribbed Marc Bulger. I am convinced that the secondary is being hung out because the D line is getting no pressure. When there is pressure, the defensive backs are doing a decent job. When there is none, they are getting burned, and it is particularly frustrating on third and long situations that are being converted. Patrick Kerney needs to earn his money, Brandon Mebane needs to prove himself as a rookie and Darryl Tapp needs to show that getting rid of Bryce Fisher was the right decision.
The Seahawks need to convert in the red zone. Their play-calling when they get close to the end zone has been suspect, like they are trying to outthink the opponent rather than doing what they do best. It seems to take them out of a comfort zone.
The receivers need to complete all their routes, which will inherently give Matt Hasselbeck more confidence. Hasselbeck has looked uncomfortable or uncertain of himself the past few weeks, and I have to think that has something to do with receivers coming in and out because of injuries. Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu may not be as polished as DJ Hackett and Deion Branch, but they have to do their jobs on every play to make up for less talent.
The Seahawks need to get and keep the fans in the game. A lot of fans are ready to jump Alexander right away, but if they can get off to a good early start, and keep everybody involved in the game, it could go a long way toward disrupting what St. Louis is trying to do. Getting everybody angry at Alexander early and then being ineffective for two quarters is not the way to make the 12th Man be a part of the game.