Seahawks solve Rams’ pass rush

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comDecember 31, 2012 

One week before the playoffs might seem to be an uncomfortable time for the Seattle Seahawks’ pass protection to spring leaks.

But don’t worry, offensive tackle Breno Giacomini said. Yes, the Seahawks gave up a season-high six sacks on Sunday. But while he accepted his share of blame, Giacomini noted the solution was within the offensive line’s control.

“It’s on us,” he said. “It’s on the O-line. I’m part of it, so put it on me if you want to. But the communication: We’ll get better. We’ll … go back to work and we’ll figure this out, and grow from it, and head into the playoffs.”

Even on Sunday, Giacomini noted that once the offensive line got into synch, it successfully turned off the faucet and held the Rams to no sacks over the final 26 minutes while Seattle rallied to a 20-13 victory at CenturyLink Field.

“We got on the same page,” he said. “We knew what the problem was, so that was a good thing. We fixed it. Max (Unger) is a great center, and that’s what he does. He led us, and that’s what happened. We got better in the second half. I kind of wish it didn’t go that way (in the first half), but that’s a tough defense. Good credit to them.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson and other Seahawks also credited a solid St. Louis defense, which changed its looks and used a high percentage of blitzes.

The Rams’ pass rush was led by defensive end Chris Long, who had three sacks. The rest came from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar and defensive ends William Hayes and Robert Quinn, all contributing one sack each.

“Our whole D-line really just pushed the pocket and kept (Wilson) in the pocket,” Long said. “For the most part we took advantage of our opportunities. We got him down for the most part when we had the opportunity. He’s tough to get down. It was a group effort.”

This was new for Wilson. The Seahawks went into the final game of the regular season having suffered 27 sacks, seventh-fewest in the league. Until Sunday, the most sacks Wilson had suffered in a game this season was four, on Nov. 11 against the Jets.

“We knew that their defensive line was one of the best ones we were going to face, for sure,” Wilson said. “They’re extremely talented, and they do a lot of good things up front.”

After chasing Wilson all game, Long also had praise for the Seattle quarterback.

“For one, he’s not a real big guy, so the target’s pretty small,” Long said. “I don’t mean to slight him in any way. He’s just not the biggest guy, and that makes it tough to get your target down and try to tackle. He’s great at extending plays, and that’s how they beat us today: He extended a couple of plays. They can move him around in the pocket, (bootlegs) and that kind of thing.”

Long said his team took no satisfaction from a close loss in the season-ending game on the home field of a playoff-bound team.

However, he agreed with coach Jeff Fisher that the result reinforces the Rams’ thinking that they will go into the 2013 season ready to compete bump for bump and bruise for bruise with the rest of the NFC West.

“Nobody’s shocked in this locker room that it was a tight game,” he said. “They’re just a good football team. They’re a playoff football team. They deserve it. They play well at home. But we gave them a good fight. We feel good where we are, but we need to get better. It is a tough, physical division, but we feel we fit the mold pretty well. I think Coach Fish brought the type of people in here that we need to win in this physical division, and we’ll keep getting better.”

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com @donruiztnt

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