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Seahawks fall 23-16 to Rams with ugly showings on both sides of the ball

The Seahawks lost Sunday, and all at once lost control of first place in the NFC West and looked about as helpless as they have compared to any other point in the last decade.

Rams 23, Seahawks 16: Quick Hits | 710 Reacts | O’Neil on offense | Stats

Russell Wilson committed at least three turnovers for the third time in four weeks, the defense was brutal on third down, and the Los Angeles Rams looked every bit the best team in the division as they handed Seattle a 23-16 loss.

The Seahawks dropped to 6-3 on the season, and with the Rams’ win and the Cardinals beating Buffalo, they have fallen from first to third in the division. Both Los Angeles and Arizona are now also 6-3 but hold the advantage as each are 1-0 against Seattle this season.

While the score was close at SoFi Stadium, Seattle did not play well by any stretch of the imagination on Sunday. Making matters worse is that the Seahawks were coming off a 44-34 loss at Buffalo the week before that already presented plenty of causes for concern.

The Rams finished with conversions on 9 of 15 third downs, and it was actually much worse than that as they were at one point 9 for 11. The Seahawks’ defense has struggled all season, however, and the truly startling development is that the offense has hit a rough patch. Seattle had only one touchdown on Sunday, with Jason Myers hitting three field goals – including a franchise-record 61-yarder – to account for most of Seattle’s points.

Wilson was picked off twice by Rams cornerback Darious Williams and lost a fumble, and he didn’t throw multiple touchdown passes in a game for the first time this season. In fact, Wilson didn’t throw even one TD, the first time that has happened since Week 14 of the 2019 season, coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) also against the Rams. Los Angeles also sacked Wilson six times, and he finished with 248 yards on 22 for 37 passing.

Jamal Adams was a bright spot for the Seahawks with two sacks, including a sack fumble that was recovered by Seattle.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff had 302 yards on 27 of 37 passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Josh Reynolds had eight catches for 94 yards to lead Los Angeles, and tight end Tyler Higbee added 60 yards on three receptions.

Running back Malcolm Brown ran for two of the Rams’ three rushing touchdowns.

Tyler Lockett had five catches for 66 yards to pace the Seahawks, while DK Metcalf was covered by Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey for much of the game and was held to 28 yards on two catches and four targets.

Alex Collins had 43 yards rushing on 11 carries and Seattle’s lone TD.

The Seahawks are beat up and hope to get healthy in time for their second meeting with the Cardinals in just four days. The Thursday night game will air on 710 ESPN Seattle, with the pregame show starting at 2 p.m.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the game.

First quarter

Rams 10, Seahawks 7

The first quarter sure made it look like a shootout was on the docket.

The first indication was the Rams’ drive to open the game where they had little trouble moving the ball against Seattle’s struggling defense. The good news for Seattle is that it was able to stand up with the goal line at its back, getting Los Angeles to stall at the 5 and settle for a 23-yard Kai Forbath field goal.

The second indication was that the Seahawks did pretty much the same when they got the ball, but with even better success. Wilson connected with tight end Greg Olsen and rookie wide receiver Freddie Swain each on passes for at least 20 yards, and Collins followed left tackle Duane Brown into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown run to put Seattle in the lead.

The advantage didn’t last long. The Rams weaved their way down the field on a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Darrell Henderson Jr., putting Los Angeles ahead 10-7. It wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Injury note: Adams had to take a trip to the locker room due to a shoulder injury but returned during the Rams’ second offensive series. He immediately hit Goff on a blitz on his first play back, though Goff found Higbee for a first down on the play.

LAR – Kai Forbath 23 FG, 9:37
SEA – Alex Collins 13 run (Jason Myers kick), 6:00
LAR – Darrell Henderson Jr. 1 run (Forbath kick), 2:24

Second quarter

Rams 17, Seahawks 13

This is hardly breaking news, but the Seahawks’ defense has issues. Adams was at least doing his part to fix some of them.

The Rams’ offense was happy to help put Seattle’s issues on display early in the quarter, shaking off a typically great Michael Dickson punt that made them start at their own 7. They converted three third downs on a 93-yard drive that ended in their second touchdown of the day. Goff threw 6 for 8 on the series for 51 yards and the Rams rushed five times for 42 yards, including a 7-yard Brown run for the score.

The Seahawks did at least make a stop – for the first time all day – with Adams getting a hand on Goff’s arm for a sack fumble that was recovered by Seattle cornerback D.J. Reed.

With the way things were going for Seattle on defense, though, the Seahawks could ill afford mistakes on offense and needed to score touchdowns as often as possible. Well, that didn’t happen. They had to settle for a field goal on their first drive of the frame, and two plays after the sack fumble gave Seattle the ball at the Rams’ 27, Wilson was picked off in the end zone by Los Angeles’ Darious Williams.

Adams and the defense prevented the Rams from adding to their total before halftime, though, as he got to Goff again for his second sack of the day on second down and Los Angeles ended up having to punt away two plays later. Adams went into the break with a team-high 5.5 sacks for the season, 1.5 more sacks than defensive end Rasheem Green had to lead the Seahawks in 2019.

Seattle did at least have a offensive highlight with a neat flea flicker play that resulted in a big gain by Tyler Lockett on its field goal drive.

That wasn’t the only highlight to help Seattle put points on the board, either. The Seahawks could only get in position for a 61-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half, which was apparently close enough for Myers, who nailed it for both his career long and a franchise record, cutting the Rams’ lead to four points.

LAR – Malcolm Brown 7 run (Forbath kick), 6:19
SEA – Myers 37 FG, 3:45
SEA – Myers 61 FG, :00

Third quarter

Rams 23, Seahawks 13

For as bad as things went for the Seahawks last week in the 44-34 loss to Buffalo, it seemed like they were in an even worse condition in the third quarter against the Rams.

It all started as the Seahawks squandered a chance to take the lead out of halftime.

A Wilson scramble made it fourth-and-inches near midfield, and Seattle challenged the spot. The spot didn’t change, though, and while the Hawks lined up to go for it, it was only as a means to try to draw the Rams offsides. That didn’t work, so they took a delay of game and had Dickson come out to punt away.

So instead of letting the offense try to advance essentially the length of the ball to keep the drive going, the Seahawks instead decided to rely on the defense that had struggled to get stops on third down all day. And that only got worse on the Rams’ ensuing series.

Los Angeles traveled 88 yards over 14 plays, converting on third-and-13, third-and-5 and third-and-2 along the way, to score on a 1-yard Brown rush. While Forbath missed the PAT attempt, it still was a significant swing that allowed the Rams to push their led to two scores.

Wilson was under fire the entirety of Seattle’s next series, going down to sacks twice and pressured heavily on the play in between, and the weary defense had to get back on the field once again. At least the Seahawks did get a stop on third down this time, allowing their offense to get the ball back late in the quarter.

Injury note: Running back Travis Homer, Seattle’s passing-down specialist, was deemed doubtful to return with a hand injury.

LAR – Brown 1 run (kick failed), 6:22

Fourth quarter

Rams 23, Seahawks 16

Little went right for the Seahawks in the third.

Nothing went right for them in the fourth.

Seattle couldn’t afford to not score on just about any series in the final frame. What it really couldn’t afford was a turnover. Well, guess what happened? Four plays into the quarter, Wilson and center Kyle Fuller (filling in for the injured Ethan Pocic) couldn’t get on the same page, and the Rams’ Leonard Floyd recovered a fumble to give his team the ball at the 50.

The defense did get the Rams to punt on the next drive, but turnovers continued to hurt Seattle as Wilson was picked off for the second time in the game by Williams.

Los Angeles was forced to punt again, but with 3:29 to go and the ball at their own 5, it was too late for Seattle, which could only tack on a 39-yard field goal inside the final 30 seconds. An onside dropkick attempt by Dickson was recovered successfully by Los Angeles to seal the victory.

SEA – Myers 39 FG, :25

Is it a sure thing the Seahawks will move on from Norton after 2020?