With the Seahawks heading to Los Angeles this weekend, Seahawks.com reached out to Rams team insider Myles Simmons, who answers five questions about the NFC West leaders.
Q: Obviously there's no shame in losing on the road to one of the best teams in the league, but Sunday's loss at New Orleans was L.A.'s first of the season. How has the team responded this week/what's the mood of the team heading into this week's game against Seattle?
Simmons: To me, the interesting thing about that loss was so many of the players seemed to put it behind them right away. I think it would've been different had the club not been able to come back in the second half and tie it at 35. But the fact that the comeback happened, and then there were a couple correctable plays at the end of the game that lost it—that seemed to sort of galvanize the locker room to get back to work for Week 10. I suppose that's what happens when you stack eight wins to start the year—one loss really does just become one game.
Q: The Rams have given up 27 or more points in four of their last six, cause for concern or just the byproduct of having a quick-strike, high-scoring offense?
Simmons: I don't think it would be unfair to call it a cause for concern. The Rams have just been a little inconsistent throughout the season on defense. I think the one game where they sort of put it together defensively against a team with a truly potent offense was the victory over the Chargers — but that was all the way back in Week 3. Aqib Talib will help when he returns, but that's not going to be until after the bye week. So the Rams definitely have some work to do defensively.
Q: Even in a loss, the Seahawks felt pretty good about the way they ran the ball and functioned on offense overall when these teams met in Week 5. How important will run defense be for the Rams in this one?
Simmons: Yeah, the run defense is going to be huge. And the Seahawks should've felt good about that game, 190 yards on the ground is nothing to scoff at—especially in the NFL of 2018. Ndamukong Suh called the Rams run defense "terrible" after that game, and since then L.A. has been better. But if you're the Seahawks, you've got to test the Rams on the ground, even if Chris Carson isn't available. And L.A. knows this—Aaron Donald said they've got to be much more gap sound defensively in this contest.
Q: The Rams have lost the turnover battle only once this year, and that came in Seattle. How big of a focus is ball security in this game?
Simmons: It's got to be huge. Since Sean McVay took over as head coach last year, the Seahawks have forced eight giveaways in the three matchups—including five in last year's Week 5 matchup in L.A. that Seattle won 16-10. Especially with the way the Seahawks are running the ball, the Rams cannot give them extra possessions to drain clock and keep the L.A. playmakers unable to score.
Q: "Aaron Donald is good" is about the most obvious storyline in football, but seriously, 10 sacks in the last six games? Is it possible that Donald has somehow elevated his level of play a year after winning Defensive Player of the Year?
Simmons: Not only do I think it's possible, I also think it's actually true. Even on a video game, I've never seen a player have the stat line Donald had against the 49ers a few weeks ago—4.0 sacks, 6 TFLs, 5 QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, both of which came on the same play. It's just absurd, especially from an interior lineman. He's just one of those players that you have to sit back, watch, and enjoy because the way he's going, he'll be putting on a gold jacket one day.
The Seahawks and Rams will meet for the 42nd time in the regular season this Sunday in Seattle. Take a look back at photos from past games played between the two teams.