RENTON, Wash. - Another Sunday, another tall order.
After running the gauntlet of the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars the past two weeks, the Settle Seahawks are facing their latest “most important game of the season”: A matchup with the Los Angeles Rams (9-4) at CenturyLink Field that could very well decide the NFC West.
Although the Seahawks pulled out a tough 16-10 victory on the road in October, coach Pete Carroll said last week that he’s expecting an exceptionally tough afternoon.
“We have to do everything right to have a chance, and that’s what we’re preparing to do,” he said.
Of particular worry is the rapid development of second-year quarterback Jared Goff. After starting seven games last season, Goff has started all 13 this year and has put up solid numbers: 260-of-418 passes completed for 3,383 yards and 22 touchdowns, with six interceptions.
“It’s a big difference from last year - it really is,” Carroll said. “He’s playing to his potential. You can see him, game-in and game-out, making great throws. He’s in control of the offense. He’s creative with the plays that he makes. He’s utilizing his players really well.
“He was more in survival mode, I think, in his first year, and he’s not there at all (anymore).”
The Rams also enjoy something the Seahawks would love to have: A solid rushing game, led by running back Todd Gurley.
In this third season, Gurley has already gone over the 1,000-yard mark for the second time, racking up 1,035 yards on 236 carries with 10 touchdowns. He’s also a threat to catch the ball coming out of the backfield, with 51 receptions for 602 yards and three more touchdowns.
“The offense is clearly built around his ability and the dynamics of what he offers,” Carroll said. “He’s a terrific outside runner, and inside runner. He’s great with the ball in his hands coming out of the backfield. He can do everything. And the remarkable thing about Todd is he’s so durable and so consistent. He’s given them a real obvious positive factor throughout.
“They know it, they’re going to him, coaches talk about it, it’s in the stats. There’s no denying it – he’s really the centerpiece.”
If that weren’t enough, the Rams play a particularly physical brand of football that often leads to chippy games against their division rival.
“When you put two physical-minded teams together, you typically get a good football game,” Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said. “So, that’s always been the case – that’s been the case since I’ve been here. They’ve done a phenomenal job, and obviously had extreme success with it this year.”