Fortunes have been much different for the Los Angeles and Seattle Seahawks since the Rams’ upset win in Seattle in the season opener. Los Angeles went 2-3 over its next five games before losing three straight leading up to their bye week. The Seahawks took down the Detroit Lions early in the year and have jumped out to an impressive 6-3 record. Pete Carroll’s team is tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the lead in the NFC West division, and they’ll battle over the top spot for the remainder of the season.
So what exactly happened in Week 1, and how did this middling Rams team pull off such a resounding upset of one of the NFC’s premier teams? To some extent, it seems LA caught Seattle off-guard. Sean McVay called 37 runs between Kyren Williams and Cam Akers, something that seems unlikely to reoccur this weekend with Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman leading the backfield. The Rams were also without Cooper Kupp in the first matchup, and the world had not yet been introduced to rookie phenom Puka Nacua.
“Rookie” Devon Witherspoon balling out against Giants pic.twitter.com/3Uhmhbj9ot— Football Feen (@f00tballfeen) October 3, 2023
Things have also changed quite a bit for Seattle on the defensive side of the ball. Their top draft choice, CB Devon Witherspoon, missed the season opener due to injury but has since returned and has been playing at a high level. Witherspoon has such natural instincts and is a high-energy player that finds his way around the action. He forced a key fumble against the Washington Commanders and can make an impact in facets of the game outside of just coverage.
Also returning after missing Week 1 with an injury is veteran safety Jamal Adams, who is far from removed from his star status in the NFL but he still plays a key leadership role in the Seahawks’ secondary. Adams has always been effective as a blitzer, and he just missed Sam Howell on a sack last week against Washington.
But Witherspoon and Adams aren’t the only new faces the Rams will see when they line up against the Seattle defense this weekend—the Seahawks recently traded for DT Leonard Williams who they hope will shore up their interior defensive line.
While the Baltimore Ravens were productive on the ground in Williams’ Seahawks debut, the big man made a big impact last weekend against the Commanders. Williams recorded his first sack and also had a key pressure on a play where Boye Mafe took down Howell.
LEONARD WILLIAMS SACK ‼️— Sports ON Tap Seattle (@SeattleONTap) November 12, 2023
1st with the Seahawks & on a big 3rd down pic.twitter.com/9ECDqGnBn4
Seattle did lose one of their top edge rushers, Uchenna Nwosu, earlier this year for the rest of the season. Still, there are several new faces on the Seahawks’ defensive unit that will look to make things more difficult for Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense.
Will Witherspoon help slow down Kupp and Nacua, and can Adam make an impact in this game? Williams will look to slow down LA’s run game and force the offense to win through Stafford and the passing game.