STEVE: The way the Seahawks (4-6) started Sunday — two quick interceptions (and four sacks) of QB Tarvaris Jackson — it looked as if Jackson was about to play the ugliest game of his career. Instead, he recovered to produce a decent game while the Seahawks defense completely shackled RB Steven Jackson. The 24-7 win was the second in a row (just the second two-game winning streak of the Pete Carroll era). The opponent was an inept 2-8 St. Louis team, but the win sets up the Seahawks nicely for three in a row at the Clink.
ART: Any game that includes an interception by 340-pound Red Bryant, as well as a stiff-arm of a would-be tackler during his return, qualifies as a splendid moment on the frontier of human achievement.
STEVE: That was certainly the most entertaining moment. The most significant development was that Seattle held Jackson to just 42 rushing yards (I didn’t think anybody could do that) on 15 carries, allowed the Rams 185 total yards while producing five sacks on Sam Bradford and delivered a shutout over the final three quarters.
ART: The Rams came into the game ranked as as the worst offense in the NFL, and I see why. Not only has Bradford regressed from his great rookie year, the offensive line has been shredded with injuries, including a weight room accident Friday that wiped out the starting left tackle. They had a practice squad guy in for part of the game. Not saying the Seahawks D didn’t do well, but let’s consider the quality of the opponent. And I bet America can’t wait for the rematch Dec. 12 on Monday Night Football.
STEVE: Actually, I did consider the quality of the opponent. But I also considered the quality of the Seahawks — certainly an improvement over the Rams, but nothing to make the San Francisco 49ers (who won again Sunday, over Arizona) lie awake at night in flop sweat.
ART: I think SF has retired the NFC West trophy this year, so the focus of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is improvement, which became harder with the losses last week of linemen John Moffitt and James Carpenter. So he was naturally thrilled that interceptions on Jackson’s first two passes didn’t snowball into debacle.
“What was really good was our guys didnt not waver,” he said post-game. “You could feel (the momentum) change, it was just a matter of time before we got on top of the game. The assault on (Bradford), and getting the ball on the ground, was great stuff.”
STEVE: The losses in a matter of days of Moffitt and Carpenter, the starting right guard and right tackle, respectively, had an impact Sunday as Marshawn Lynch couldn’t gain anything running to the right side. Worse, RG Paul McQuistan (Moffitt’s replacement) was nailed for two false starts among 10 penalties. In terms of Carroll’s focus on improvement, Exhibit A has to be Tarvaris Jackson. He’s 10 games into his Seattle career and the next six will determine whether he’s the guy. After 10, I don’t think he is.
ART: Carroll made a point post-game that Jackson had only a day of practice last week and looked “rusty” because of the chest-muscle injury that won’t heal probably until after the season. Still, I thought he threw a great precision slant pass in the second quarter for the 14-yard touchdown to Sidney Rice that tied the game at 7. And Jackson improved as the game went on. Jackson has been unlikely all along as the QB answer, but for the here and now, he’s won two in a row hurt.
STEVE: I’ll give him that, and he’s got a tremendous arm. I just don’t think he’s going to be the elite kind of quarterback who can deliver championships, even division championships. For his sake, I hope I’m wrong.
ART: The Seahawks’ three TD drives were 40, 25 and 22 yards, so nobody is thinking that Jackson is a long-term answer. But behind the makeshift line of newbies and journeymen, nobody would be good. And the Seahawks until Sunday had faced the NFL’s toughest schedule in terms of opponents’ combined winning percentage. So Carroll was entitled to his giggles, no matter the opponent.
“It was really exciting for our guys to hang in there, just like winning teams do,” he said. “In the big picture, nobody cares about it. But we think its a big deal.”
What the Seahawks do have is a top-12 defense and, at least Sunday, a special teams unit that won the field-position fight all day. Now they get the three games at home against teams with losing records, starting Sunday with a Redskins team that has lost six in a row. The Seahawks would have to “win forever” catch San Francisco, but given all the injuries and personnel turnover, they could get to 8-8, which is winning half the time — respectable progress.