The St. Louis Rams finally ended their turnover and victory droughts last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Janoris Jenkins’ big gamble on the first play of the second quarter payed off as he picked off the swing pass intended for the running back and raced 36 yards for the pick 6, putting an exclamation point on the drought ending turnover. The Cardinals game is almost a microcosm of the Rams season this year, an up and down game that showed both how much promise this young team has, as well as how far they still have to go. Jenkins wasn’t the only budding young star to put his stamp on the game, as Chris Givens had a career day with 5 catches for 115 yards including a beautiful diving 37 yard TD reception. These two rookies are dynamic playmakers that should continue to improve as the season progresses. The NFC West as a whole went 2-2 last weekend as the Rams defeated the Cardinals, the 49ers beat the Saints, and the Seahawks lost to the Dolphins. Since this is Behind Enemy Lines, lets take a look at the Seattle Seahawks loss to the Dolphins as well as what their fans are talking about going forward.
24-21 Miami wins. If you had come to me a week ago and told me that Russell Wilson would go 21/27 for 224 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs I would have told you the Seahawks would win. If you had also told me that the Leon Washington would return a kickoff for a touchdown I would have assumed the Seahawks crushed the Dolphins. Wilson and Washington’s big days were squandered by a shocking lack of a running game (Lynch had 19 carries for 46 yards) and an unusually porous defense. I have heard a lot of complaining about the roughing the passer call that negated an interception in the red zone, but I have seen much more questionable roughing calls this season. Considering Seattle would be 5-6 without the aid of questionable officiating I don’t think Seattle fans should complain too much. Seattle regained the lead on Washington’s kickoff return for a touchdown, and still couldn’t hold off Miami in the fourth quarter.
Russell Wilson. Perhaps I have been overly skeptical of Wilson this season, and given his recent success on the road perhaps its time I give him his due. However, the teams that he had success against on the road (Miami and Detroit) have been anything but stout against the pass so far this season. That being said he has shown growth and I give him credit for putting his team in position to win those games even if they didn’t come out with a W. Wilson has a chance to silence all of his critics this weekend as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Chicago to take on the Bears, if he can even come close to duplicating the performance against the Dolphins this Sunday against the Bears he will turn a lot of skeptics into believers.
PEDs. The foundation of Seattle’s defensive success is the ability of the secondary to play physical football, winning at the line of scrimmage and allowing their defensive line more time to create pressure without having to blitz. Seattle’s two starting cornerbacks have recently made the news as they are facing 4 game suspensions for violation of the leagues performance enhancing drug policy. While they have proclaimed their innocence and will appeal their suspensions, it is unlikely that they will win that appeal. Their appeal hearing will not be held until next week and they will be allowed to play until the appeal process is finished. Even if they had a prescription for Adderall, the substance for which their failed drug tests is being blamed, they would have to have been granted permission from the league prior to taking it which clearly they weren’t. This could mean that the Seahawks will be without their top two cornerbacks for the final 4 games of the season which could be the difference between them making or missing the playoffs.