From 2017-19, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll prepared for the same Wade Phillips-led Rams defense. This year, Carroll and Seattle are gearing up for a "unique" Brandon Staley-led Los Angeles defense.
"I think he's doing a really good job. He's got his own way of doing it," Carroll said of Staley during a conference call with Rams beat writers on Wednesday. "They look unique, which is always good and so you have to learn them and adapt to them. It's not like it's a cookie cutter group, like somebody else does it. He's been influenced really well by other coaches, but I really like what he's doing."
Sunday's Week 10 matchup between the two teams will pit the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense (Seattle) against the NFL's No. 2 scoring defense (Los Angeles). Seattle is averaging 34.3 points per game through their first eight games; Los Angeles has allowed 19.0 per game during that same span.
As those numbers might indicate, they reflect an offense capable of generating explosive plays and a defense that has limited them in the first half of the season.
Sharp Football Stats, which defines an explosive run as 10 yards or more and an explosive pass as 15 yards or more, says the Seahawks have had 26 explosive runs on 193 rushing attempts; at 13 percent, that average explosive run rate is seventh-highest in the league (the Browns are No. 1 with 18 percent). Meanwhile, Seattle's 28 explosive passes on 321 pass plays (nine percent) rank 17th in the NFL.
Conversely, the Rams have allowed 17 explosive runs on 192 run plays (nine percent average rate) and 16 explosive passes on 301 pass plays (five percent average rate); those rates are fifth-lowest and lowest respectively in the league.
"They're able to keep the explosives down and take advantage of one of the best players ever, ever, in (DL) Aaron Donald," Carroll said. "He's off to another great season, 9.0 sacks already. He's had a bunch of close ones too. He could've had 20 probably already."
Beyond Donald's disruption at the line of scrimmage, the Rams have also taken advantage of having All-Pro and Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the secondary.
Carroll said the Rams are using Ramsey "like their best player," moving him around the defensive backfield and matching him up with different players. It reminded Carroll of the way the Cardinals deploy their own star cornerback Patrick Peterson.
"Jalen (Ramsey) can do everything and he's a playmaker, he plays with great confidence and all of that too," Carroll said. "Again, I think that this is a really smart team and they use their players well and this is an illustration of how they do that."