For what seems like forever the former St Louis Rams have finished the season 8-8 or below, floating around in some mediocrity despite some truly great players, they never seem to be able to make that leap as a team. That is with the exception of putting in some cracking performances against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams are everything that the Seahawks hate to play against. Similar to the Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers it is always a great fixture – close, chippy and full of drama.
Throughout this successful period the Seahawks are having under Pete Carroll, they have always sacrificed having blue chip offensive linemen in favour of focusing on paying talent in the secondary, and rely on a well put together zone blocking scheme to assist the run heavy philosophy. This is turn plays right into the hands of the Rams strength which is the defensive line. You can guarantee that in each fixture Robert Quinn will get several sacks on Russell Wilson and Seahawks play is restricted.
The Rams offense is not their strength but they will think up ways through good coaching on special teams to outfox their opponents. Two plays spring immediately to mind. In October of 2014 The Rams sealed victory with a fake punt on 4th down. Leading by 2 points with 2.55 on the clock and in their own red zone, punter Johnny Hekker received the ball for a punt and shocked the Seahawks with a pass for first down to Benny Cunningham for 18 yards.
It was in the same game that the Rams put themselves into a 21-3 lead with a not so ordinary punt return touchdown. Jon Ryan was taught a lesson in communication that day as he sent a punt to the left hand side of the field and was forced to watch as almost the entire Rams side ran to the right, dragging the Seahawks players with them and leaving a thrilled Steadman Bailey alone to receive the ball and run it the length of the field for 6.
In December 2013 the story was slightly different when it was the Rams gifting victory to the Seahawks. mid way through the 3rd quarter Kendall Langford was flagged for a penalty which angered him somewhat – while remonstrating with the referees he, seemingly inadvertently, knocked another referee in the face and was ejected from the game. On his way off the field the player slammed down his helmet leading to a 3rd penalty which meant Seahawks had 1st and goal on the Rams 2, which Lynch duly ran in for a touchdown.
Will this season be similar? well in short yes, they are going to be 2 of the best games of the year, as good or bad as either team plays during regular season, neither will leave anything on the field against their fierce rivals. The Rams still possess that defensive line, and the Seahawks, though looking slightly better in pass protection are still making a lot of the same mistakes – after 3 preseason games they have committed 30 penalties for 266 yards.
The Rams and Seahawks play at the Coliseum in week 2 with the return fixture in Seattle during week 15.