Being a Luddite, I don't own a TiVO, and even if I did, I'm not sure watching the St. Louis Rams get eaten up by the Seahawks last Sunday would be worth the time or hard drive space. The NFL does keep short videos of game highlights on their site, cleverly inserting them into the play-by-play section for each game. Wanting answers for what happened in the running game, I went back and watched the videos of Forsett's 25- and 26-yard runs along with his two TDs. Here's what I noticed.
On Forsett's 25-yard run in the first quarter, Seattle is lined up in the basic I formation. On the snap, the blockers push to the offense's right, and the Rams front seven goes sliding that way too. As Forsett cuts left to an open field, OLB David Vobora goes wide around the Rams DE locked up with the Seattle blocker, coming in behind Forsett and is easily pushed aside by Forsett's lead blocker, after Forsett is into the second level. SS James Butler, playing back, comes in on Forsett, but is easily beaten when the running back cuts out wide toward the sideline.
The second long run by Seattle's running back came on their first drive of the fourth quarter, right after a Rams three-and-out and a Donnie Jones punt that put the ball on Seattle's 49-yard-line, ugh. Second-and-six, Seattle lines up in another I formation, this one with an extra blocker in the backfield. As soon as they snap the ball, Rams the Rams front four are engulfed by single blockers. That's not the problem, as Clifton Ryan gets off his man and starts sliding down toward his left side, where the Forsett is coming. As Ryan moves toward the hole where the ball is coming he's stopped when he runs into OLB Paris Lenon getting pushed back by the blocker he ran up and engaged at the line as soon as the ball was snapped. MLB James Laurinaitis obviously sees the Seattle runners coming and he moves over to stop them but is pushed aside by Forsett's lead blocker.
On Forsett's first TD, from the 3-yard line, Leonard Little sees him but gets moved off Forsett because he can't quite shake his blocker. Laurinaitis gets a quick hit from Seattle's right guard, gets off him with no problem but is far enough from the lane that he can't make the tackle in time. Clifton Ryan does get around his blocker and almost has Forsett, but it looks like he either didn't get around in time or missed the tackle. James Butler comes up behind Ryan and the Seattle LT but can't make the tackle because he's stuck behind Ryan and the blocker he sheds. A better angle, coming to the inside rather than around, and Butler would have tackled Forsett for no gain or even a loss.
Gap assignments gone awry? Substandard players getting faked out and overpowered? You decide. What should have happened here and how do you fix it?
The Bears don't have much going for them in the running game and a banged up offensive line - the same could have been and was said about the Seahawks - so the Rams have a chance to do it right this weekend. Stay tuned to see if they get it fixed.