Seahawks notebook: Special teams were far from special

Pharoh Cooper’s big punt returns helped Rams dominate the field-position game

SEATTLE — Seattle’s woes against the Rams special teams are no secret.

Perhaps the most notable gaffe came three years ago, when Los Angeles, then St. Louis, used a trick play to fool the Seahawks and return a punt 88 yards for a score.

Sunday the Rams started drive-after-drive in great field position thanks to the punt return work of Pharoh Cooper.

Cooper returned seven punts for 128 yards. His longest — a 53-yarder down to the Seahawks’ 1-yard line — set up the Rams’ first touchdown.

Out of Los Angeles’ seven first-half drives, five started in Seattle territory and another started at the 50-yard line.

“They played fantastic football from start to finish, really owned the field all day long,” Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll said of the Rams. “We were in terrible field position throughout. We couldn’t knock our way out of it, and they took full advantage with a bunch of short drives.”

Wagner exits in third quarter

Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner was a game-time decision after aggravating his hamstring during Seattle’s loss last week to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wagner played but left during the third quarter.

“To be totally honest, the guys that played, you have to give your hats off to them, Wags and a couple guys that played,” safety Earl Thomas said. “My personal opinion, I don’t think they should have played. I think the backups would have done just as good. … Usually you see Wags go sideline-to-sideline, but he just couldn’t do it today. I think he just waited a little too long to take himself out.”

Thomas Rawls inactive

Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls was inactive Sunday, marking the fourth time this season Rawls has sat.

K.J. Wright’s streak of 61 consecutive starts came to an end Sunday. He ranked second among active linebackers behind Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan, who has made 109 straight starts.

Defensive end Dion Jordan returned against the Rams after missing the previous three weeks while nursing a neck injury. The third overall pick of the 2013 draft recorded a sack and three tackles during a Week 10 game against Arizona and a Week 11 game against Atlanta.

Cornerback Mike Tyson, who the Seahawks promoted from the practice squad Saturday, was inactive.

Bennett accepts team’s Walter Payton Award

Defensive end Michael Bennett, who was selected as the Seahawks Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee, was honored before Sunday’s game. He accepted the team award with family by his side.

The nomination makes Bennett eligible for the NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service off the field as well as excellence on the field.

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