The Rams’ trade for Jalen Ramsey is getting all the attention.
Rightly so. Ramsey is a top-of-the-NFL talent at a hugely important position, cornerback. He commanded two first-round draft choices for Los Angeles to get him from Jacksonville.
That’s a matter for next month for the Seahawks, when they play a return game in Los Angeles.
It’s the Rams’ other trade Tuesday that likely has Seattle altering its plan some for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens (4-2) at CenturyLink Field.
Marcus Peters, a 2016 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl cornerback from the University of Washington, went from Los Angeles to Baltimore on Tuesday, clearing Ramsey’s path to L.A. The Ravens sent Los Angeles second-year linebacker Kenny Young and reportedly a fifth-round draft choice in 2020.
It will be the second time in three games Seattle has played Peters. He started for the Rams in their 30-29 loss at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 3.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh had a clear answer when he was asked Wednesday morning on a conference call with Seattle media members if Peters will play Sunday after just three practices with Baltimore.
“Yes,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens didn’t trade for Peters to have him watch games.
He is a high-risk, high-reward cover man. He has 24 career interceptions for the Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, who traded the 2015 NFL defensive rookie of the year to L.A. before the 2018 season. He has two interceptions and four passes defensed in six games this season.
The Seahawks have played him three times—all in the last 12 months. And Russell Wilson has had far more success against him than most NFL quarterbacks. In fact, the success has been startling.
A review of game tape and play-by-plays from those three games show Wilson has completed nine of 12 passes thrown in Peters’ direction for 168 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a passer rating of 156.3. A perfect rating is 158.3.
Seattle has scored 31, 31 and 30 points in those three games.
Peters has knocked down one pass in those games. He had a penalty for defensive holding that negated an interception of Wilson last November in Los Angeles.
The most recent game between Peters and Wilson with play caller Brian Schottenheimer was 13 days ago. The Seahawks’ offensive coordinator used Peters’ experience against Seattle plus the cornerback’s risk-taking against him for a touchdown.
In the second quarter of that Oct. 3 game, Tyler Lockett ran his pet, big-play pattern of the last two seasons. While Wilson rolled right, Lockett ran from the right deep to the left on across the field, to the backside of the play’s flow. Lockett had beaten Peters with that route for a touchdown last October in a game at CenturyLink Field. When Schottenheimer sent Lockett on it again early in the Oct. 3 game, Peters jumped the route. Hard.
So in the second quarter Scottenheimer had Lockett abruptly stop the route to the left and go back to the right, for a change. Peters was on the opposite side of the field, covering rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf. Peters saw Lockett’s favorite route begin and jumped it again into the middle of the field. But Lockett by then had turned back to the right sideline, opposite where he usually goes on that pattern. Peters was expecting safety help behind him from Eric Weddle. But Weddle bit hard for Wilson’s fake handoff at the start of the play. Weddle was too close to the line of scrimmage for the deep post Metcalf ran behind the fooled Peters and Weddle into the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown. Seattle led 14-6.
“True perfection there,” Wilson said.
“Weddle was kind of cheating to DK’s side, but he stepped down on the play-pass action,” Schottenheimer said. “He kind of got sucked up.
“And you can see Marcus Peters looking for a safety like, ‘Hey, where’d you go?’”
Lockett didn’t want to fully disclose the method behind that play. But when asked after that game if it was a new variation to his pet route, Lockett smiled.
“You can trust your instincts on that,” he said.
In their first meeting with the Rams in 2018, in October in Seattle, Wilson and Schottenheimer were 4 for 4 for 87 yards and three touchdowns targeting Peters. In addition to the score on Lockett’s favorite crossing route, David Moore ran across the back of the end zone past Peters after an extended scramble by Wilson for a score. Later in that game, Peters went for Moore’s fake slant short and got easily beaten by a double-move go pattern for a 30-yard touchdown.
In the second Seahawks-Rams game last season, in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, Seattle completed 3 of 4 passes at Peters. Three of those targets came in the final, frantic drive Wilson led in vain trying to take the lead at the end of the Seahawks’ 36-31 loss.
The Seahawks thought they wouldn’t see Peters again until November in Los Angeles in a Rams rematch. But Tuesday’s trade means Wilson and Schottenheimer will now likely prepare new variations and looks Peters hasn’t seen yet.
Like that new Lockett deke for the Metcalf touchdown they did against Peters two weeks ago.