The Seahawks roll into St. Louis tomorrow against a team they should be able to beat but will likely have some problems with. Pass protection issues have been a theme all week and continue to be in this week’s edition of “Matchups of the Game”. Let’s get to it:
Matchup #1: Paul McQuistan vs. Robert Quinn
I’ve mentioned this matchup in passing on Twitter this week and it continues to be the one to cause me nightmares. Legitimate left tackles are incredibly difficult to find and for all the moaning and groaning Paul McQuistan does an OK job for a second string left tackle. The problem is that Quinn eats top quality tackles for breakfast and as such stands to completely overmatch McQuistan. The third year man out of North Carolina is a speed rusher at 264 lbs but he can really bring it. He has seven sacks and four forced fumbles this season and at age 23 we probably haven’t seen his peak yet. Expect to see a lot of Zach Miller lining up on the left tomorrow but even still I would expect Quinn to get a hit or two in on Wilson.
Matchup #2: Michael Bowie vs. Chris Long
It may not be too creative to highlight the two backup tackles as key matchups in this game but the reality is that they will be essential to any potential Seahawks victory. I was very high on Bowie coming out of the draft based on his physical ability and was pleased that he worked his way up the depth chart to somewhere with a chance to start. I even thought it was possible that he might unseat the underwhelming Breno Giacomini as the starting right tackle as the year went on. However, Bowie has not seized the spot or come close since stepping into the lineup. He was beaten like a drum by John Abraham last week and doesn’t seem ready for the spotlight. Chris Long is an interesting opponent because he does not possess unreal speed and explosion but rather strength and relentlessness. I’m not giving up on Bowie yet but this is a stiff challenge.
Matchup #3: Marshawn Lynch vs. James Laurinitis
I always look forward to seeing these two go up head to head when the Seahawks face the Rams. Both of their games are built on strength and toughness and both of them possess those qualities in spades. Laurinitis is so tough that the Rams don’t even list a 2nd MLB on their depth chart (that’s probably not the reason but it would be cool if it was so I’m going with it). Expect six to ten collisions, a couple of them of the big time variety, between these two gladiators within the tackle box tomorrow night.
This is a game the Seahawks should win but that’s no guarantee that they will win. Kellen Clemens may be a pushover but the rest of this Rams team is not. Expect a hard fought battle, at least at first.