Frank Doyle sees trouble ahead for the St Louis Rams at Seattle tonight.
Let’s be honest. It’s going to be a massacre.
St Louis has beaten the Rams just once in its past thirteen attempts. That was October 3rd of last year, when Steven Jackson passed Marshall Faulk, making him No 2 on the Rams’ all-time list and the Rams’ defense held the Seahawks to a single field goal.
Last year. Must feel as long ago as Columbus discovering America for Steve Spagnuolo now. Seattle has owned St Louis in the twelve other game played since 2005 and the Seahawks are a thirteen point sports betting favorite to make that thirteen tonight.
For the Rams, 2011 has been about seeing if they, the Bucs or odds-on favorites the Eagles have been the biggest disappointments of the year.
TJ Yates’ amazing performance for Houston last week is a small beacon of hope for the Rams’ Tom Brandstater. If Yates, a fifth round pick from North Carolina, can come from nowhere to play like John Elway in a comeback win for Houston at Cincinnati yesterday, why can’t Brandstater, a sixth round pick from Fresno State, do just the same tonight at Seattle if Sam Bradford can’t start?
These are the sort of straws they’re clutching at now in St Louis. If Brandstater completes ten passes he’ll do well. The guy’s never taken a snap in the NFL. Why is that? Chances are there’s a really good reason, and the entire country will get to see what that good reason is come Monday night. And let’s be honest, if Sam Bradford starts, can he save the day? It’s not like he has done any other time this year.
Seattle, by contrast, is feeling good. Seattle is still in with a mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs. It’s a slim chance, but you can believe the Seahawks know it, and will do their best to maximize it for as long as they can.
Pete Carroll has done a fantastic job in Seattle in his two years there. Seattle backed into the playoffs last year, but then justified its place by beating New Orleans. Carroll was wrong to think either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst could make it as starting quarterbacks in the NFL but, you know, Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round and Ryan Leaf was drafted first overall. Sometimes it’s hard to spot talent.
What Carroll has done is get Seattle’s fundamentals right. Seattle doesn’t concede many points on defense and its rushing defense is sound. The pass defense isn’t great but St Louis isn’t in a position to take advantage of that. And on offense, Seattle can protect its limitations at quarterback with running back Marshawn Lynch, who’s running through everybody right now. It’ll be a long, cold night in Seattle for the St Louis Rams tonight.