On the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling analyzed the emergence of an improved Seattle offense built around the rushing attack…

GARY: Let’s go out to Seattle where the Rams continued their dominance of the NFC West, but this was not easy. There were a couple of issues in this game for the Rams. One of them was they lost Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp to concussions during the game, which left them somewhat hamstrung but they still moved the ball alright and when they needed to score points, they scored points. Marcus Peters got picked on in this game. They beat him on at least three double moves. Two of them ended up being long touchdowns, one of them ended up being an illegal contact call. They went after Marcus Peters and they got him. That’s how the Seahawks jumped out to a lead in this one.

ANDY: Well what did we say when Peters came along and joined Aqib Talib (who I know was out of this game)? We said he’s a double-edged sword, and if you’re going to have Marcus Peters at corner you need a good pass rush that gets home on time for his aggressive cornerbacking style to work. If that pass rush does not get home on time, then Peters becomes susceptible to double moves. When you face Russell Wilson, as much as it drives me crazy with how often the ball is not thrown on-time or on-schedule, well, that can work in your favor against a cornerback like Peters because now if you take it off-schedule, he’s not the same corner. Most corners are not, but he’s even more of an extreme example there. So I know the Rams pass rush has put up good numbers this season with the pressure rates and all that stuff. They don’t have edge rushers that scare people still, Gary. They don’t. They have two really good interior rushers but Matt Longacre has not been a big factor. Samson Ebukam is a rotational guy. They just don’t have the edge benders and I think at some point, that’s going to become an issue for them. Maybe we started seeing the first signs of it, in some fashion, here today.

GARY It’s kind of a shame the Seahawks lost Earl Thomas. They’re not going to be good on the back-end and I don’t know if they have enough defensively to make any sort of run at a Wild-Card spot at this point, but they’ve found a running game. That is what set the tone a little bit early in this game, and maybe had the pass rush back on its heels just a little bit. They ran 32 times for 190 yards and Russell Wilson didn’t have a single rushing attempt, which is shocking if you’ve watched the Seahawks play since Marshawn Lynch left. They had Chris Carson and Mike Davis rotating and they ran the ball effectively. I think it’s going to be a better offense going forward. It’s just the defense is sliding back now.

ANDY: They started running the ball effectively a few weeks ago. This isn’t just something that happened today. This has been gradually building. We’ve seen their offensive line play with a little more chemistry. I know last week they gave a read-option look in the running game on 19 different snaps. Now Russell Wilson does not run the ball much himself, and you said he didn’t run at all in this game today, but they’re leveraging Wilson’s threat as a runner, which is just as important as him running to a large degree. What we’re describing, Gary, we’re talking about an identity now for Seattle’s offense. We’re saying characteristics that comprise their approach, which we haven’t had before. I think a run-first approach has always been the best play with Russell Wilson because it lends itself most naturally to his unique skill set.

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Also on this week’s edition of The Monday Morning Podcast:

1:11—Slugfest in Houston, bad situational football and good defense

10:29—Bad Bortles gets picked on by Chiefs defense

14:48—Vikings get the win they need, Eagles still a work in progress, Linval Joseph can run!

20:06—Rams survive in Seattle despite injuries and Marcus Peters’ bad day, Seattle can run!

24:11—How the Bills pulled off another upset

29:42—Steelers force feed Antonio Brown and eventually get it right

33:27—Gano from 63, Odell Beckham Jr.’s ill-advised interview

41:04—Dolphins gack one away in Cincinnati

43:44—Cardinals get on the board as they keep searching for an identity

47:58— LIGHNING(ish) ROUND!
• Browns outlast Ravens for win No. 2
• Lions get to Packers early
• Jets hammer hapless Broncos
• Chargers have little trouble with visiting Oakland

56:22— Andy and Gary each pick their “Thing of the Week” awards

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