A look back and a look ahead to the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 27-17 victory over the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday
Justin Forsett’s smiling face: It was his vision, feet and toughness that allowed the second-year back to post career bests in rushing yards (130), touchdowns (two), carries (22) and longest run (26) – that and the added opportunities he got because leading rusher Julius Jones was out with lingering pain in his bruised lung. But it was the reoccurring smile that was evident even through his facemask that was the lasting impression from Forsett’s little-big-man day.
Josh Wilson’s fleet feet: Fellow cornerback Kelly Jennings put it best, offering, “I know Josh, once he gets the ball in hands he’s hard to catch.” That was indeed the case when Wilson intercepted a Kyle Boller pass that Jennings tipped and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown—the fourth of his three-year career, with the others coming on a 61-yard interception return against the Lions in Week 9 this season, a 75-yard interception return last season and an 89-yard kickoff return in 2007. Wilson took his fourth score up the sideline and then juked past Rams running back Steven Jackson near the goal line to get into the end zone. This latest long return came after Wilson sat out the previous week because of a concussion.
Jordan Babineaux’s “home” body: Remember “Big Play Babs”? Sure you do. It was Babineaux, when he was turning in a dizzying series of big plays earlier in his career while lining up as a nickel back. But since stepping in as the starting free safety this season, those big plays have been conspicuous by their absence. Until the past two weeks, when Babineaux has been playing more nickel back in certain situations with Lawyer Milloy replacing him at safety. Against the Minnesota Vikings, Babineaux had a season-high 11 tackles. Against the Rams, he had a game-high and career-high 13 tackles and made an endzone interception. He also has regained the team lead in tackles (78) from middle linebacker David Hawthorne (77).
Olindo Mare’s solid right leg: Converting 16 consecutive field-goal attempts is significant. He hit from 29 and 38 yards against the Rams, when four of his six kickoffs also went for touchbacks. The field-goal streak ties the club record set by Todd Peterson in 1999 and matched by Josh Brown in 2004, and also equals Mare’s career-best string in 2000. Mare is now 19 of 21 for the season (90 percent) and among the league leaders in touchbacks (20).
The week ahead
The Seahawks have done a better-than-average job while facing a litany of the league’s top running backs this season. Literally. The Rams’ Steven Jackson, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and the Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew – each among the Top 5 in the NFL’s leading rushers – ran for fewer total yards and yards per carry than their averages coming into the games.
The notable exception comes to town this week: Frank Gore. The 49ers’ bruising back gashed the Seahawks for 207 yards in Week 2, including touchdown runs of 80 and 79 yards in San Francisco’s 13-point victory. Take away those two long runs, and Gore averaged 3.4 yards on his other 14 carries. But that’s like saying take away the Seahawks’ seven losses and they’d be undefeated.
Whatever the coaches come up with to try and give the 49ers and Gore some payback on Sunday at Qwest Field will start with finding a way to contain Gore.
The 49ers (5-6) have won two of their past three games after losing four in a row and are a game ahead of the Seahawks (4-7) in the NFC West. The Seahawks will be looking to win back-to-back games since the first time since Weeks 15-16 last year, when they beat the Rams in St. Louis and came home to defeat the New York Jets at a snow-covered Qwest Field.