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RamView: Week 4 – Defensive Line and Linebackers

I hope you’re not a vegetarian, because the Rams won this game with a real red-meat performance on defense, especially the defensive line, which took advantage of a banged-up Seattle o-line that was shuffling personnel. For almost 60 minutes, Fred Robbins was freaking everywhere, especially the Seahawk backfield. He nearly blew up an end-around for a major loss on the opening series. (It still gained only one.) He knocked down a Matt Hasselbeck (20-36-191) pass at the line. In the 3rd, he drove his blocker backward right off the snap on 3rd-and-1 and smothered Justin Forsett (19-65) for a loss. He blew up a screen to Leon Washington in the 4th, and capitalized on James Hall’s bullrush sack to recover a Hasselbeck fumble and finish the Seahawks off once and for all. Hall is off to his best start in years, with 4 sacks now in 4 games, 2 today. His first sack was kind of a gift. Hasselbeck had to dive away from Craig Dahl’s blitz in the 3rd, and Hall simply touched him down. The blitz worked well – David Vobora got in unblocked for a sack in the 2nd. The Rams’ 4th and last sack came in the 4th. Hasselbeck had good time to throw, but nobody open until Chris Long tied up his feet, and George Selvie, closing down the throwing lane in a hurry, literally pounced on the Seahawk QB. That led to one of Seattle’s four 2nd-half 3-and-outs, a half in which the Seahawks never crossed midfield. The Rams dominated the line of scrimmage, and did so mostly with their straight 4-man rush. Forsett helped set up Seattle’s only score with a 12-yard 3rd-and-1 run that James Laurinaitis got blocked out of, and another 11-yard run a few plays later, but was mostly held in check, and in the middle of the field. Na’il Diggs stuffed him once; Dahl got him for a loss; Gary Gibson stuffed him a couple of times. Laurinaitis got him in the 3rd for a 3-yard loss to kill a drive. The d-line especially dominated today by doing what we’ve been begging them to do forever – get their hands up on pass plays. Long tipped a pass in the red zone in the 1st that Dahl could have picked off. (Selvie held Seattle to a FG that drive by tracking down Hasselbeck on a 3rd-down scramble.) Eugene Sims tipped a pass in the 2nd that did turn into an interception, for Bradley Fletcher. Larry Grant tipped a pass a few plays later. Good grief, the Rams were tipping like a drunk guy having his midlife crisis at Hooters. Except all this tipping worked. A lot of basic stuff – 4-man rush, get your hands up, but the Rams front seven today stuffed the Seattle offense into Pat Shurmur’s left-over fish bowl. They exited the field the #4 scoring defense in the league, #2 among teams that have played 4 games, and with the team’s best defensive performance since a 2006 shutout in Oakland. They’ve been good before in bursts, but the Ram defense looks like it could be for real this season, another exciting development in Rams Nation.


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