Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 20-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday at SoFi Stadium:
Whether it was because his favorite target Tyler Lockett was not available, or because of a long history of being sacked by Aaron Donald, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson gave back the gains he made the previous week against Houston, holding onto the ball too long at times and missing on throws at others. Seattle’s run game was reasonably effective, though the Seahawks never fully committed to it. But when the pass game’s longest completion came when Gerald Everett adjusted best to a dying quail, it sums up the day. The 10 points and 214 yards offense were both the second-lowest totals of the season.
It wasn’t a perfect performance by Seattle’s defense — the Seahawks struggled on third down (L.A. was 6-for-12) and tackling just hasn’t been reliable all season long. But it was still a good outing by Seattle’s defense. The Rams scored 95 points the past three weeks, but the Seahawks kept L.A. contained, particularly with a pass rush that generated four sacks, while Quandre Diggs had yet another important interception. The one player Seattle couldn’t contain was Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, but Kupp’s accomplishments were more a case of his making tough plays than they were mistakes by the defense.
After allowing a long return on the game’s opening kickoff, Seattle’s kick and punt coverage improved substantially, with players elevated from the practice squad showing they can contribute. Alton Robinson’s running-into-the-punter penalty in the first quarter was a bad one, as it gave L.A. kicker Matt Gay the chance to hit a 55-yard field goal. Punt returner Freddie Swain continues to out-think opposing coverages by fielding punts after the gunners have raced past to down the ball deep. Punter Michael Dickson had the dubious distinction of breaking the franchise record for the most punts downed inside the 20-yard line in a season.
Honestly, the coaches mostly did what they needed to do in this one. A depleted defense was given a scheme that frustrated a Rams offense that had been rolling, and the opportunities were there for the offense, particularly after the coaches got things back on track on the first drive of the second half as Seattle tied the score a 10-10. It’s ultimately up to the players to make the plays, and the Rams made plays while the Seahawks didn’t. And most importantly, the Seahawks navigated a week made extremely difficult as the game was moved from Sunday to Thursday because the current coronavirus outbreak, and Seattle still went on the road and gave a playoff team a run for its money.
Fate was never on Seattle’s side in this one. The game being switched from Sunday to Tuesday benefited the Rams, who escaped a COVID crisis because of the move. The officiating skewed L.A.’s direction as the Seahawks were on the wrong side of multiple questionable calls, which all came at key junctures of the game. Remarkably, at 5-9 and assured a losing season for the first time since 2011, Seattle has not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. But the postseason is not going to happen for the Seahawks, and the time has arrived to start thinking about 2022.