Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 36-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum:
It was a strange but productive day for the Seahawks’ offense on the road. Seattle piled up 414 total yards, including 273 on the ground, with rookie running back Rashaad Penny becoming the third different 100-yard rusher for Seattle this season and Russell Wilson rushing for a season-high 92 yards. But Seattle had just 26 yards passing in the first half, and finished with just 141 yards through the air. A crucial fumble late in the game by Wilson led to the Rams’ game-winning touchdown, and Wilson’s floating fourth-down pass over a wide-open Tyler Lockett’s head on the last drive sealed Seattle’s fate.
Coming into Sunday, the Rams averaged 447 yards of offense per game. They put up 456 on the Seahawks. Moving the ball was too easy for Los Angeles all game long. The Rams punted just twice, averaged 7.5 yards per pass and 6.5 yards per rush, and Seattle’s defense didn’t force a single turnover. The Seahawks get credit for forcing a big three-and-out with under two minutes to play to give the ball back to their offense with a chance to win, and had a pair of sacks, but little else went right on the defensive side of the ball.
Michael Dickson averaged 55 yards on his three punts, including a booming 68-yarder in the first half, and Sebastian Janikowski made all four of his extra-points and his lone field-goal try. However, Janikowski did not make a great kick when Seattle tried a surprise onside kick in the fourth quarter. Janikowski’s kick didn’t go high enough in the air, and went directly to a Rams player who didn’t appear fooled at all.
Calling an onside kick fairly early in the fourth quarter down by just two points can certainly be seen as a head-scratcher. Perhaps even more concerning is the coaching staff knowing that Janikowski has been awful in his career when attempting onside kicks, converting just 2 of 33 and failing on his past 25 attempts. If the attempt works, it’s a brilliant call, so it’s hard to ding head coach Pete Carroll too much for trying to be aggressive. The pass-run balance on offense still seems a bit lopsided, and the Seahawks called far too many time-draining runs on drives at the end of the first half and at the end of the game.
This was another crazy game against the powerful Rams that the Seahawks had a chance to win. Seattle was missing starting running back Chris Carson and starting right guard D.J. Fluker and still managed to run the ball with authority and put up 31 points. The defense, however, left a lot to be desired and some big mistakes ultimately cost the Seahawks a winnable game, one that Seattle desperately needed to stay in the playoff race.