NFL geophysicists are still assessing damage from the Rams’ 42-7 win over the Seahawks at the Clink Sunday. So far no part of the NFC West has fallen into the sea, but power lines seem down in Seattle, and fractures are visible.
There’s one right here.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner said Wednesday his visceral reaction on Twitter to free safety Earl Thomas’ post-game remark that Wagner was too injured to play was not good. Handled it wrong, he said.
“We spoke, and we ironed things out like we always do,” said Wagner.
To which Thomas responded Wednesday: Say what?
“Wasn’t no conversation,” Thomas said calmly to reporters at his locker. “It is what it is. Gotta move on. If it’s how you feel, it’s how you feel.”
Well, then. It appears damage was not confined to the scoreboard, the playoff race or the 12s following the biggest margin of defeat in coach Pete Carroll’s tenure by the lake. We appear to have some high school butt-hurt.
The Seahawks’ best two ambulatory defenders aren’t getting along.
It’s hardly the worst thing — the Seahawks have had teammates punching on each other on the eve of a Super Bowl — and Wagner, who played on a sore hamstring until five minutes were remaining in the third quarter of a 40-0 game, took the unusual step of bringing up the tiff himself as he began a weekly chat at team headquarters.
“Did I feel like I mishandled the situation? Yeah,” he said. “There’s a better way. I could have (done) better. It’s one of those live-and-learn things. It was a frustrating game and situation. The game didn’t go as we planned. Emotions get high, and you can’t always act on them.
“I’m man enough to admit I handled the situation wrong.”
But he didn’t quite bring himself to say, “I apologize.”
In case you missed it, here’s what Thomas said to reporters after the game:
“To be totally honest, I think you have to give your hats off to Wags and a couple guys that played, but my personal opinion, I don’t think they should have played. The backups would have (done) just as good. The injuries — Kam (Chancellor), Sherm (Richard Sherman), K.J. (Wright) — they definitely hurt today.”
Wagner, who didn’t speak to reporters post-game, tweeted, then deleted, some snark: “E keep my name out yo mouth. Stop being jealous of other people success. I still hope you keep balling bro.”
Certainly, keeping to balling was the hope of Carroll, who apparently believed the public spat was over.
“They took care of it, two days ago, whenever,’’ Carroll said Wednesday before the differences surfaced. “They’ve already dealt with it.’’
Thomas, who has a reputation for unfiltered comments that rarely contain personal animosity, seemed neither mollified nor agitated.
“Ain’t no patching if that’s what’s in your heart,” he said. “Cool. Let’s finish strong.”
Thomas wasn’t putting the defensive collapse — the Rams’ 244 rushing yards were the most against the Seahawks during Carroll’s tenure — on Wagner’s gimpiness.
“It’s gap integrity — we just weren’t getting there,” he said. “My observation on Wags, he was hurt. It wasn’t just him. It stuck out in my mind. We gotta be gap sound.”
The rift emphasizes the magnitude of the loss for a team that is used to being in every game, even in defeat. As much as coaches and players try to de-emphasize it ahead of Sunday’s game in Dallas against the 8-6 Cowboys, who also share dim playoff aspirations, the Seahawks’ world was rocked by a Rams team that was 4-12 a year ago.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin was willing to concede that’s there’s not been a moment like this in his time in Seattle.
“We have never really had to face adversity in the season like this,” he said. “We’ve had our struggles. We’ve endured some pretty devastating losses before. But I think just the time frame in which we are in, the situation which we are in, the state of our roster, age-wise, so many different factors play into it. All of those have implications.
“I think it’s a different place for us. We are looking at it as some more adversity. But personally, I look forward to it because I know adversity only introduces you to who you really are. If we can get through this, then we can really build upon it for the long run.”
Thomas expounded a little on the shock value of the loss and the string of injuries.
“I don’t got my fellas out there with me,” he said. “Everything is different. That blowout loss was different; it don’t happen like that.”
That prompted a question about whether Thomas, 28, contemplates his long-term future with a team that may soon face abrupt decisions about the pre-eminent talents who have sustained the Seahawks’ run of success. He’s signed through the 2018 season, but there’s been speculation that Thomas might be trade material to help get the roster younger faster.
Thomas didn’t shy from the speculation.
“I know whoever gets me, I’m balling,” he said. “That’s it. I know I’m hot. It is what it is.”
As a player, Thomas is indeed hot. As a friend of Wagner’s, he’s a little icy. And as a member of the Seahawks, he’s shaken. It will be seen Sunday if all of them are stirred.
Art Thiel is co-founder of Sportspress Northwest.