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Team Analysis

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 Seattle Seahawks Team Analysis:

INSIDE SLANT
The Seattle Seahawks won't have wide receiver Percy Harvin this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

The Seahawks suddenly and unexpectedly traded Harvin to the New York Jets Friday in exchange for a conditional mid-round draft pick, according to multiple reports.

The trade is contingent on Harvin passing a physical, and the Seahawks will reportedly receive a pick between the second and fourth rounds in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Harvin was the Seahawks' (3-2) most dynamic offensive playmaker, leading the team with 22 receptions for 133 yards this season to go along with 11 catches for 92 yards. However, he has yet to post more than 60 receiving yards in a game this season and was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams due to a thigh injury.

Harvin signed a six-year, $67 million contract with $25.5 million in guaranteed money after being acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for first- and seventh-round picks in 2013, but was limited to just one regular-season appearance last season following offseason hip surgery. He did return in the playoffs, and scored on a kickoff return to open the second half in the 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was criticized for his heavy use of Harvin on jet sweeps, direct handoffs and other plays designed to get the ball in his hands near the line of scrimmage in lieu of establishing the Seahawks' power ground game.

Harvin had three catches for no yards and three carries for minus-1 yard in last Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys in which running back Marshawn Lynch had only two first-half carries and 10 for the game.

Bevell said on Wednesday that he wanted use Harvin more as a vertical threat.

"Do we want Percy to get the ball in every way we possibly can, I think it's obvious because we're trying to do things to get him the ball," Bevell said. "We've run him down the field on the play for the touchdown it got called back."

Harvin had three potential touchdowns nullified by penalty in the Seahawks' Week 5 victory over the Washington Redskins.



--On the surface, this might seem like the perfect get-well game for the Seattle Seahawks -- as perfect as any road game might seem, anyway -- heading to St. Louis to play the struggling Rams.

On top of the fact that the Rams are 1-4 this season, Seattle has also had its way with the Rams of late, winning 16 of 18 meetings dating to the 2004 season.

But the won-loss record belies the type of games Seattle has played with the Rams the past two years since Jeff Fisher took over as St. Louis' coach, all of which have been pretty tense, including a 14-9 win last year at St. Louis that wasn't decided until the final play.

So Seattle coach Pete Carroll isn't reading much into St. Louis' record while remembering the physical games the two teams have played in recent seasons.

"They're a really aggressive team, Jeff has always coached a really physical team and an aggressive style of play and they've always been tough on us when we go there and here, too," Carroll said. "We're expecting the same; they're loaded with speed, they're the youngest football team in the league, but they're loaded with a bunch of guys that can fly in a lot of positions, and it really shows up on special teams where they have such great athleticism there - returners, all across the board. They are always an aggressive, disruptive type of team; that's how they play."

What Carroll really wants to see, though, is a return to form from his team.

Seattle fell to 3-2 with a surprising 30-23 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, a game in which the Cowboys outgained the Seahawks, 401-206.

Of Seattle's 11 drives, only three went for longer than 14 yards, and only one longer than 39, as the offense couldn't find a rhythm, held to a season-low 80 rushing yards on 18 carries.

On the other side of the ball, Seattle allowed Dallas four drives of 71 yards or longer, three of exactly 80 yards, as the Cowboys wiped out an early 10-0 deficit.

While much of the post-game post-mortem centered on the fact that running back Marshawn Lynch got just 10 carries for 61 yards, Carroll said no area of the team escaped blame for the defeat.

"It's all connected," he said. "How we're playing defense, how we're running the football, and how we're converting on third down on both sides of the football has a lot to say about what happens. In the games that we've won, we've almost average 37 carries a game and the passing has been 26-28 (attempts) and in the games that we've lost, we've passed the ball about 25-28 times - right in there too, but we've ran it way less.

"You can see where we're losing our attempts is because we're not converting or we have three plays in the second quarter - those kinds of quarters can take the ball out of the offense's hands. So it's not an alarming situation to me, it's unfortunate that we've had to suffer through two tough losses that way and the games have gone in kind of the same pattern - we need to keep that from happening and not let the game go that way.

"It's not just a question of calling more runs though; we have to make our first downs. So it really is connected and we have to play better across the board to stay out of those situations."

Carroll hopes that starts this week or the Seahawks could start to really lose some traction in the NFC West with Arizona at 4-1 and this week playing at winless Oakland.



SERIES HISTORY: 32nd regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 20-11 and have won 16 of 18 dating to 2004. That includes the last three in a row with the last Rams win coming in St. Louis in 2012, 19-13. Seattle won both games last season, including a 14-9 victory in St. Louis in a contest that ended with the Rams throwing an incomplete pass in the end zone on the final play.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Cornerback Eric Pinkins, a 2014 sixth-round pick who is on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, returned to practice this week. He can practice for three weeks and then Seattle either returns him to NFI or places him on the 53-man roster.

--Seattle re-signed defensive lineman Greg Scruggs and waived defensive back Steven Terrell, essentially a reversal of a move made Saturday when the Seahawks waived Scruggs and activated Terrell from the practice squad. Terrell played substantially against Dallas due to injuries at the corner spot. But with Tharold Simon due back, the team may feel it can do without him this week. Terrell was re-signed to the practice squad on Wednesday, so he remains with the team. Scruggs may be needed as defensive line depth with Jordan Hill out.



BY THE NUMBERS: 30 -- Points allowed by Seattle in each of its two losses this season. Seattle allowed 30 or more points only once last year, a 34-26 loss at Indianapolis.



QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We need to pick up some momentum there - we don't have that right now; we're not on it yet. It took us to the second half of last year, I think, before we got going and I hate to think that we have to wait that long, but we're not on it right now and we just need to be better. That's really on both sides on the ball; we're not as good as we expect to be," -- Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the team's third-down issues. Seattle is converting just 38 percent on offense but allowing 47.3 percent on defense.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
OFFICIAL FRIDAY INJURY REPORT

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

--Out: DT Jordan Hill (ankle), DE Cassius Marsh (foot), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe)

--Questionable: WR Percy Harvin (thigh, but Traded to Jets), TE Luke Willson (groin)

--Probable: T Alvin Bailey (oblique), DE Michael Bennett (not injury related), RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related), DT Brandon Mebane (not injury related), CB Tharold Simon (knee)

ST. LOUIS RAMS

--Doubtful: C Tim Barnes (shoulder)

--Questionable: LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (thigh), CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), CB Brandon McGee (foot), DE Ethan Westbrooks (hand)

--Probable: DT Alex Carrington (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), WR Austin Pettis (ankle), RB Chase Reynolds (thigh), RB Zac Stacy (ankle)

Practice Report



PLAYER NOTES

--DL Cassius Marsh (foot) was added to the injury report and did not practice Thursday. Marsh's injury could leave Seattle thin on the defensive line as DT Jordan Hill has also missed practice the last two days with an ankle injury.

--TE Luke Willson (groin) was added to the injury report and did not practice Thursday.

--WR Percy Harvin sat out Wednesday but was not listed as injured, then he was added to the injury report (thigh) and did not practice Thursday. On Friday, he took part in limited practice and, after coach Pete Carroll said he expected Harvin to play this weekend, the player was traded to the New York Jets. Apparently Carroll failed to mention for which team he was saying he expected Harvin to play.

--CB Byron Maxwell remained out Thursday with a calf injury suffered Sunday against Dallas.

--C Max Unger, who strained his foot against Washington and missed the Dallas game, has been rules out for the St. Louis game. He will again be replaced by Stephen Schilling.

--MLB Bobby Wagner, who suffered a turf toe injury against Dallas, will be out against St. Louis and could be out for a few weeks after that, coach Pete Carroll said. K.J. Wright will move from weak-side linebacker to middle linebacker to take his place with Malcolm Smith stepping in at WLB.

--DL Jordan Hill missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury.

--TE Zach Miller remains sidelined after having ankle surgery following the Denver game Sept. 21.



GAME PLAN:
Run, run and run some more. Seattle's game plan against the Cowboys is receiving lots of criticism locally after the Seahawks rushed on just 18 of 48 offensive plays, with Marshawn Lynch carrying the ball just 10 times for 61 yards.

Seattle coaches said they intended to run the ball more but the game plan simply got away from them when the Seahawks ran just 15 offensive plays in the first half and they fell behind.

St. Louis could prove a good team to get back on track against as the Rams are allowing 139.8 rushing yards per game, 26th in the NFL, though they are coming off a game in which they held the 49ers to 89 yards on 30 attempts. Still, it'll be a surprise if the Seahawks don't try to get back to basics against the Rams and pound the ball early and often to set up better play-action pass options than they got last week against Dallas.

Defensively, the Seahawks are beginning to be bitten a bit by the injury bug, with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner now out for at least a few games and starting cornerback Byron Maxwell also uncertain with a calf injury.

But that is unlikely to change what Seattle does defensively. The Seahawks have just seven sacks this season. But a struggling St. Louis line has allowed 16 and the Seahawks may try to get more aggressive than usual against the Rams and young quarterback Austin Davis, who has thrown four interceptions.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

--Seahawks secondary vs. Rams QB Austin Davis: Davis, who will be making just his fifth start, has thrown three interceptions returned for touchdowns this season. In one of the odder stats of Seattle's year, the Legion of Boom has just two interceptions -- one each by Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell. Seattle has had its hands on a few others but uncharacteristically hasn't made the catch. Maxwell, for instance, dropped one near the goal line last week before Dallas scored its first touchdown. Seattle needs to turn into a play-making defense again and this game would seem to afford some good opportunities for that to happen.

--Rams DRE Robert Quinn vs. Seahawks LT Russell Okung: This is a battle of two struggling big-name players. Quinn, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season with 19 sacks, has none this season. Okung, a Pro Bowler in 2012, isn't 100 percent healthy following off-season toe surgery and then a shoulder injury suffered against Denver. He has seven penalties this season, second-most in the NFL, all either holdings or false starts. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said this week that Quinn has been moved around some to handle some different roles but that he may revert to playing primarily his usual spot against the Seahawks.

--Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. Rams front seven: The story in Seattle this week is that Lynch got just 10 carries against the Cowboys. Expect him to get a lot more than that against the Rams as the Seahawks are likely to force the issue to get their offense back on track. Lynch, though, struggled last year against the Rams with just 23 yards on eight carries in a game Seattle was lucky to win, 14-9. He did better when Seattle beat St. Louis at home to end the regular season with 97 yards on 23 carries. Seattle needs Lynch to have a big day as he has 63 carries for 270 yards in Seattle's three wins and just 16 carries for 97 yards in the two losses.

 

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