Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 24-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday at CenturyLink Field:
The main thing is that quarterback Russell Wilson was back to his usual self. Four days after throwing five interceptions in a 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers he was an efficient 19-for-26 for 229 yards and three touchdowns with one meaningless interception toward the end of the game as his accuracy returned. The run game, however, was nowhere to be found as Thomas Rawls managed just 34 yards on 21 carries and was consistently getting hit in the backfield.
The Seahawks’ pass rush was back with a vengeance as Seattle, after managing just one sack over the previous three games combined, sacked Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff five times. The Seahawks dodged some bullets on the Rams’ first drive of the game, as a possible long touchdown was dropped and an open receiver in the end zone was missed. But even though Los Angeles came into the game with the league’s worst offense, Seattle still held the Rams to 173 yards offense, more than 100 fewer than L.A.’s season average.
Usually it’s the Rams pulling off trick plays on the Seahawks on special teams, but in this game Seattle turned the tables as Jon Ryan gained 33 yards on a fake punt from deep inside the Seahawks’ own territory — though Ryan ended up paying the price by suffering a possible concussion while being tackled. The Seahawks didn’t fall for Los Angeles’ fake punt, thanks in large part to Rams punter Johnny Hekker’s bad throw. Seattle twice had personal-foul penalties while covering punts and kicks.
Seattle’s fake punt call seemed particularly inspired, given the teams’ history. The Seahawks made the effort to establish the run game in a way they hadn’t in recent losses, it’s just the execution that wasn’t there. Head coach Pete Carroll made some astute decisions to challenge the spot of the ball early in the game. But for whatever reason, there was a moment in the second half when Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman felt the need to get in an heated argument with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
The Seahawks needed a bounce-back game following last week’s debacle against the Packers. It wasn’t always pretty Thursday, particularly early in the game when both teams were offensively challenged. But eventually Seattle turned it into the comfortable victory everyone expected. The victory clinched the NFC West division title for the Seahawks, the team’s third in the past four years, with two games to spare, meaning Seattle can spend the final two weeks concentrating on getting a playoff bye.
Nick Patterson, Herald Writer