The Seahawks got their first win of the season on Sunday, although most fans would tell you it felt like a loss. But wins are hard to come by in the NFL, and each one should be celebrated. Keep that in mind as we break down the three keys to getting win #2 this week in Tennessee.
The Seahawks will face the Titans for the first time since 2013 and the first time in Nashville since 2005. The Titans and Seahawks share an identical 1-1 record. The sport books have this as a close game, favoring the Titans by 3.5 points. So what can Seattle do to prove doubters wrong and get a road win against a quality opponent? Let break it down!
1. Stop the Run
The Seahawks were just gashed for 159 rushing yards on 19 carries by Carlos Hyde and the 49ers. That is an 8.5 yard per carry average. Yikes. Meanwhile; the Titans have a dynamic run game, led by veteran running back DeMarco Murray and youngster Derrick Henry. Quarterback Marcus Mariota also adds to the running game.
The combination of these threats and the read option game employed by the Titans makes them a difficult team to defend. The Titans have already rushed for 274 yards and are averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
The Titans also have weapons in the passing game. Eric Decker, Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker all pose problem to defenses and if the Titans can run the ball effectively, this could prove to be a long day for the Seahawks defense.
2. Maintain Possession
This has a dual meaning. First, the Seahawks have to catch the football. The Seahawks dropped between 4-6 passes against San Francisco. Two of the drops cost them touchdowns, while another two cost them crucial first downs. Against a quality team like Tennessee, the Seahawks cannot afford these mistakes.
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Second, one of the ways Seattle can help its defense is to keep them off the field. Seattle actually did a very good job of this last week, maintaining possession for nearly 38 minutes. By not allowing Tennessee to control the time of possession, Seattle can force the Titans to throw the ball and make them one-dimensional.
3. Continue to Grow on the Offensive Line
Whether you saw it or not, the Seahawks offensive line did improve from Week 1 to 2. Seattle was able to move the ball, most notably to kill the final five minutes of the game to ice the Seahawks victory. Don’t misunderstand me, the line was still bad. Russell Wilson was pressured on almost 50% of his drop backs, and Chris Carson bailed out some sloppy run blocking late in the game.
Individually, Rees Ohdiambo and Germain Ifedi continue to improve. Justin Britt graded out in the 80’s according to Pro Football Focus, providing his usual solid performance. The biggest questions remain at guard. Luke Joeckel is still working his way back from injury, and has been bad each of the last two weeks. The weakest link appears to be Mark Glowinski, who has been nothing more that a turnstile at the RG position.
Pete Carroll has since come out and said he expects personal changes to the offense this week, leading many to speculate that Glowinski will be replaced. The obvious candidate for taking over the RG spot is veteran Oday Aboushi. But the Seahawks are incredibly high on Ethan Pocic, and when given the chance to pick between a safe veteran and a higher upside rookie, Seattle typically goes with the upside.