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O’Neil: Seahawks stayed step for step with unbeaten Rams — for 58 minutes

The Seahawks' defense had a strong performance in the loss to the Rams. (AP)

Coming close won’t come as much consolation for Seattle, but it’s the truth.

The Seahawks came close, and not just because of the final margin in a 33-31 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Recap: Seahawks lose 33-31 | Instant ReactionPhotos | Stats

They were one play away from getting the ball back with 1:39 left with one last chance to pull out off an upset over one of the league’s last remaining unbeaten teams.

The Seahawks stopped Todd Gurley on third-and-1, and the Rams initially sent their punter Johnny Hekker onto the field for what would have been only his second punt of the game.

The Seahawks had called a timeout prior to the measurement, needing to stop the clock. Once the officials stopped the game for a measurement, that timeout was restored. When it was determined the Rams were short of the first down, the Seahawks were then given the choice: Use your final timeout to stop the clock at 1:39 or save the timeout and let the clock begin to run, allowing the Rams to bleed it all the way down to less than 70 seconds left. The Seahawks called timeout, and when play resumed, the Rams had their offense on the field and quick-snapped a quarterback sneak that gained the necessary yard.

The Seahawks’ chances at an upset died right there at the Los Angeles Rams 44. Quarterback Jared Goff kneeled twice and the game was over.

So the Seahawks came close, and that will have to offer some consolation. Because for more than 58 minutes, the Seahawks stayed step for step with a Rams team that beat Seattle 42-7 on this field last December.

Seattle running back Chris Carson gained 116 yards, outgaining the Rams’ Gurley, who did score three touchdowns. Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes for the Seahawks, two of those scoring passes traveling 30 yards or more.

The Seahawks didn’t do much to slow the Rams as Goff completed 22 of 32 passes for 321 yards, but Seattle didn’t let the Rams run laps around them, either.

The Seahawks had not scored more than 30 points in any of their past 10 regular-season games. They scored 31 points in the first three quarters of Sunday’s game, keeping pace with the league’s highest-scoring team.

When the Rams kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:05 left in the fourth quarter, it was the fifth lead change of the game.

The Seahawks got the ball again, but their final possession of the game died at the Rams’ 45 after two penalties were called against Seattle offensive lineman, a false start against Germain Ifedi on first-and-10 and then a hold on D.J. Fluker on second-and-13. The Seahawks punted with 3:38 remaining and never saw the ball again.