Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 23-16 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium:
This was unquestionably Seattle’s worst offensive game of the season. Seattle’s 333 yards were the team’s second-lowest output of the season, and much of that came after the Rams were playing it safe defensively with a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. Quarterback Russell Wilson committed three more turnovers — one week after committing four turnovers in a loss to Buffalo — and for the first time this season he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. He wasn’t helped by being sacked six times. This did not look like the NFL’s top-ranked offense.
Honestly, considering where this game was headed, the defense recovered well. L.A. ran roughshod over the Seahawks early on, embarking on long scoring drives on each of its first three possessions. But a strip sack by Jamal Adams in the second quarter served as a tourniquet, and Seattle’s defense settled down after that. However, the inability to get off the field on third down — the Rams were 8-for-10 on third down midway through the third quarter and finished the game 9-for-15 — meant L.A. was able to sustain drives and kill clock with the lead.
Well, none of this loss can be pinned on the special teams, which had a good day. It’s impossible to overstate how money kicker Jason Myers has been for Seattle this year, and he punctuated that by making a 61-yard field goal — breaking the franchise record — as time expired in the first half to keep the Seahawks within four points. Seattle also had three good kickoff returns that set the Seahawks up in good field position. Unfortunately, punter Michael Dickson doesn’t have the same magic bounces on his onside-kick attempts as he does on his punts.
This was a fatal coaching exhibition by Pete Carroll and company. The sequence at the end of Seattle’s drive to begin the second half when trailing by just four points — a failed challenge of a spot resulting in a lost timeout, a failed attempt to draw the Rams offsides, then the baffling decision to take a delay-of-game penalty and punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-inches — may have single-handedly cost the Seahawks the game. The Seahawks never seemed to stop blitzing into third-down screen passes. And Seattle was never able to devise a way to get receiver DK Metcalf (just two catches on four targets for 28 yards) involved in the game.
For the second straight week Seattle suffered a loss that wasn’t terrible from a results standpoint — a loss on the road against a good Rams team isn’t unexpected — but sure felt terrible from a performance standpoint. Wilson hasn’t been the same player who was the MVP front-runner through Seattle’s first seven games, and the defense just can’t compensate when Wilson has an off day. This result, combined with Arizona’s miraculous victory over Buffalo, creates a three-way tie at the top of the NFC West at 6-3, and Seattle is the team trending in the wrong direction. Thursday night’s home game against the Cardinals looms large.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer