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Week 5 takeaways: Seahawks fall to Rams but take step forward on offense

Seahawks WR David Moore celebrates after catching his second TD Sunday. (AP)

The Seahawks fell to the still undefeated Los Angeles Rams 33-31 Sunday. Despite the loss, there were a few notable improvements for the team.

O’Neil: Seahawks kept in stepInstant Reaction | Recap | Photos

Here are three quick takeaways:

No one wants a moral victory – but that’s what this was

The Seahawks walked off CenturyLink Field with a loss Sunday evening, which leaves them at 2-3 on the season and 1-1 at home. No one likes talking about a moral victory – especially not when it concerns a team that was in a Super Bowl five years ago – but it’s hard not to see Seattle’s 33-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams as a step forward for an offense that struggled through September.

Seattle was 7 of 12 (58 percent) on third down, which is their highest conversion rate of the season and a drastic improvement from their abysmal 0-for-10 performance against the Cardinals last week. They amassed 190 rushing yards, 116 of which came on Chris Carson’s 19 carries. Carson’s performance makes this the third consecutive game a Seahawks running back ran for over 100 yards. The last time Seattle had even two consecutive games with 100 or more yards from a running back was 2014. The last time a Seattle running back recorded 100-plus yards in three or more games was in 2012.

Seattle scored their most points this season (31) and the Rams saw their smallest margin of victory (two points).

These aren’t just feel-good stats to pad a loss; they’re key areas where the team has both struggled and invested resources to find improvement.

It’s hard for fans to stomach improvements in the aftermath of what became a heartbreaking loss – the Rams were seven-point favorites, and the Seahawks came within yards of field goal territory on what ultimately became their final drive – but it’s an improving offense that heads to London next week to take on the 1-4 Oakland Raiders.

Frustrating final drive

A bit more on that final drive: the Seahawks had the ball down by two points with five minutes remaining in regulation. Following a deep 44-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett, the offense was facing a first-and-10 on the Rams’ 32-yard-line.

But several mistakes moved them backwards. A false start from right tackle Germain Ifedi gave the Seahawks a first-and-15, and a holding call on right guard D.J. Fluker moved the offense back to second-and-23. Seattle struggled to move the ball and were forced to punt.

“I was pretty frustrated about this because we put ourselves in position to win,” head coach Pete Carroll said postgame when asked what he told the team after the loss. “We hit the big play to Tyler (Lockett) and we’re in field goal range and we’re going to knock it in, we’re going to run the clock down, they had no timeouts, we’re going to run the clock down and kick a field goal and win the football game and go home… Unfortunately (the penalties were called) and they got a great break out of that… There are a lot of plays in that game that probably could have warranted a penalty thrown, and it happened on that play right then. It just (ticked) me off, that that was how this thing ended.”

Fluker, the subject of the late-game holding call, echoed Carroll’s sentiment and lamented the failed drive after what was an otherwise improved showing.

“(It was) very frustrating because we played with passion, we played with heart, we played with some charisma, and everybody played together,” Fluker said. “I think we played as a team on fire and we didn’t stop until the very end. But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss, and we’re going to regroup, come back, and go out and play next week.”

A double for Moore

Wide receiver David Moore recorded his first career touchdown in the third quarter. But he wasn’t quite done there; the second-year pro hauled in his second touchdown catch nine minutes later to give Seattle what was then a 31-24 lead.

Afterward, Moore and fellow receivers Lockett, Doug Baldwin, and Jaron Brown joined for a double-dutch themed touchdown celebration.

“Double dutch, man,” Moore said postgame.

He couldn’t remember where the idea came from, but guessed it must have been from Lockett.

“We just remembered our childhood and tried to have fun. That’s one of our things we always say is it’s just another football game, it’s just another day, just go have fun with your brothers.”