Week 2 Preview: Seahawks Could Spoil Rams Home Opener
For a second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Rams will play their first home game against the Seattle Seahawks.
But unlike the last few years, the Rams will be facing the Seahawks in a different home stadium. The new crib, however, will not be the only change to the team this season.
After looking relatively solid throughout the preseason, the expectations for the Rams have lowered significantly. They were shutout by the San Francisco 49ers 28-0 and failed to register more than 200 yards of offense against their division foe. The outlook for this Week Two matchup looks pretty grim.
The good news, however, the Rams have played the Seahawks tough under Jeff Fisher. Even when the Rams came to Seattle after a 2-5 slide late in their season, Fisher's team still managed to hold the Seahawks to 17 points and 59 rushing yards. Russell Wilson still threw for 289 yards, but the Rams sacked him four times recovered two fumbles.
While there will be a lot of positive energy surrounding first home game in Los Angeles in more than 20 years, it might not be enough.
Wilson struggled a bit during the Week One game against Miami, but the Seahawks still managed to do a lot offensively. They gained 352 yards offensively, and Wilson did a solid job scrambling on a sprained ankle.
Wilson passed for 258 yards on 27 completions and was sacked three times for 18 yards. Not exactly his best day, but it was good enough for a late score and a Seahawks win.
The Rams should be able to find success against the Seahawks offensive line, which is starting new players at four of the five positions. The threat of Marshawn Lynch is also gone, which should give the Rams that much more of a jump on Wilson.
The Rams will have to pressure Wilson, but also contain him at the same time. The defense was burned time after time Monday when Gabbert was able to escape the pocket.
With he exception of playing the Rams, Wilson has been great since entering the league in 2012. He is just 4-4 against the Rams while holding a 42-14 record against everybody else.
The Rams have sacked Wilson more than four times-a-game and should be able to get to him, should Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and William Hayes show up to play their best football.
In order for this game to go the Rams' way, they will need Todd Gurley to have a better game than Monday. In order for that to happen, the Rams offensive line will need to have their best game. Last week, the line struggled mightily as San Francisco sent their front seven on almost every play. The defenders penetrated the line routinely, and Gurley was swallowed up and limited to 47 yards (Gurley's longest run was 10 yards).
That's a tall order for the Rams o-line. The Seahawks limited the Dolphins to 64 yards on 20 carries.
The offense also needs the passing game to show signs of life. Los Angeles didn't have a deep threat last week, and kept almost all of their passing plays close to the offensive line. A lot of screen passes and 5-yard routes showed no threat to the 49ers. The few times the Rams did throw the ball deep, Kenny Britt was able to catch the ball in open space thanks to the 49ers' zone-defense.
Should the Seahawks load the box and force the Rams to throw, they should take full advantage. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are the biggest receivers on the team, and will not be the center of the defense's attention. With eyes towards Gurley, Rams should have their eyes towards downfield.
The 49ers out-gained the Rams 320 yards to 185 yards. The Rams converted 10 first downs, while the 49ers converted 28. The Rams were 3-of-15 on third downs and completed only 17 of 35 passes. This was all while averaging 3.1 yards per play.
Another key factor the Rams need but struggle with executing: discipline. The Rams committed 10 penalties for 102 yards in a game they could not afford to give up yards in.
Brett Crossley is a Los Angeles Rams writer for Pro Football Spot. For comments, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a follow on twitter at @brettcrossley44