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Seahawks Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on 30-20 playoff loss to Rams

Russell Wilson was sacked five times and threw an interception Saturday. (AP)

The Seahawks’ season is shockingly over after just one playoff game, as the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Rams upset No. 3 seed Seattle 30-20 at Lumen Field on Saturday.

Seahawks lose to Rams | Quick Hits: Offense hits bottom

As we do after each Seahawks game, we have collected the instant reactions from the voices of 710 ESPN Seattle to the defeat. This is just a preview of the Seahawks coverage you’ll be able to hear all week on the station beginning Monday morning with Danny and Gallant at 7 a.m. and The Pete Carroll Show with the Seahawks’ head coach at 9:30.

Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob

Interesting way to end a 12-win season, by electing not to show up.

Every bit of anger and frustration fans are feeling right now is absolutely justified. This was the worst performance of the season by the Seahawks’ offense, without question. It was the worst game of the season for Russell Wilson, without question. In a season where the offensive line had been playing better than it had in years, the linemen got destroyed in this game. Even without Aaron Donald on the field for the Rams, the Seahawks still had no answers at all for the Rams’ pass rush. I have no idea what the gameplan was going into this one, but this offense appeared to be woefully unprepared to deal with that Rams defense.

There is more than enough blame to go around in this one. The offense was terrible, the defense could do nothing to stop the run even knowing that Jared Goff was completely off his game throwing the ball with an injured thumb. Even the special teams, who have been stellar this season, contributed to this debacle.

The bottom line in this one is simple: The Hawks were outplayed and out-coached on every level in this game.

There are a lot of questions to be asked and decisions to be made with this team in the offseason. It starts with them looking in the mirror and asking where they were today, because they didn’t show up.

Stacy Rost – Jake and Stacy

Gross.

I don’t love a conservative, ball control approach as a viewer, but it felt like that would be the move against the Rams’ killer defense. Problem was the ball control part: Russell Wilson threw a pick-six and D.J. Reed fumbled a return late in the game.

The offense as a whole struggled through most of the day. There were a few explosive plays – a 51-yard touchdown to DK Metcalf and a nice 24-yard completion to Tyler Lockett early – but it wasn’t enough. And maybe we should have known the Seahawks’ offense over the last several weeks wouldn’t be enough. They had all the talent in the world but struggled against top defenses. Outside of their win over the Jets, they haven’t put up 30 or more points since their Week 8 loss to the Bills.

The question Seahawks fans are struggling with afterward is whether they’ll end right up here all over again a year from now, after 12 months of hoping and wishing and of watching a talented team stuck in playoff limbo.

That talent isn’t going anywhere. Nor is their head coach. If you’re looking to throw blame at someone, head coach Pete Carroll is a fair target, but it would be a mistake to think he’s solely at fault. A collapse like the Seahawks’ offense saw in the second half of the season, dropping from the best in the league to what we saw Saturday, is the result of multiple actors. The question of whether they’ll end up here again depends entirely on a single relationship moving forward: that of a head coach and his star quarterback.

Paul Gallant – Danny and Gallant

Embarrassing isn’t a strong enough word to describe the Seahawks’ season-ending loss.

Losing to the Rams is nothing new in Seattle. Sean McVay is now 6-3 against Pete Carroll and company. But losing to THIS Los Angeles team? In this fashion? Down 30-13 with less than 3 minutes to play? That’s pathetic.

The Hawks were outscored by an offense that began the game with John Wolford under center. A guy making his second career start. Wolford suffered a serious neck injury, forcing LA to then play Jared Goff. Goff’s overpaid on a healthy day. Today? He gutted it out, with a busted thumb on his throwing hand no less, and outplayed Russell Wilson. By a lot. He was 9 for 19 on the game for 155 yards and a TD.

There were some standouts on defense. Jarran Reed had two sacks. Bobby Wagner had 16 combined tackles, including a sack and three stuffs. And despite his shoulder injury, Jamal Adams was all over the field delivering vicious hits. Unfortunately, his misplay of the 44-yard Cooper Kupp reception and missed tackle on a Cam Akers 44-yard catch-and-run set LA up for a field goal and touchdown, respectively. But since he was playing with a torn labrum, I’ll give him quite the pass. Baller.

It ALMOST was a perfect day for the special teams. Jason Myers hit two 50-yard-plus field goals. Michael Dickson landed three punts inside the 20-yard line. And D.J. Reed had a couple of explosive kick and punt returns. But his fumble after the Rams had taken a 23-13 lead was Seattle’s final self-inflicted blow.

Carroll was the blame for some things we’re SOOOOO used to with the Seahawks. We saw him challenge a play that had no chance of being overturned. And before a critical fourth-and-1 late with an injury timeout (Damien Lewis) giving Seattle plenty of time to get set, the Hawks were nearly called for a delay of game before a false start forced them to punt instead. WHY DO THESE THINGS KEEP HAPPENING?

I’m not even close to done, sadly. Let’s talk about that Seahawks’ offense. The offensive line was overwhelmed by the Rams’ pass rush both when Aaron Donald was healthy AND when he was off the field injured, allowing five sacks. Offensive linemen Ethan Pocic (two holds), Mike Iupati (one hold), Jordan Simmons (false start) and Brandon Shell (ineligible man downfield) accounted for 40 of the Hawks’ 60 penalty yards. Tyler Lockett and Will Dissly added 10 penalty yards of their own with a pair of false starts, something a pass catcher should never commit.

A lot of the blame should be directed Russell Wilson’s way. Yes, he was under pressure. Yes, he was playing one of the NFL’s best defenses. But isn’t he one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks? He had a fully healthy offensive line in front of him for just the seventh time all season. He had all his wide receivers. All his tight ends. All his running backs. And yet, he finished the game just 11 for 27 for 174 yards with two TDs – one in garbage time – and a backbreaking interception returned for a touchdown.

But the majority of the blame? It’s on the coaching, and specifically offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. How can you justify giving him another year to work with Wilson? The Seahawks’ offense was bad on third down all season and HURLED a cherry on top of all of it with a 2 for 14 showing tonight. That pick-six of the screen to DK Metcalf wasn’t on Wilson or even Freddie Swain failing to set it up with a block. It was a telegraphed play, and obvious to the Rams. Why else would LA cornerback Darious Williams have broken on the ball as fast as he did?

The Seahawks’ dramatic offensive decay is one of the most disappointing things I’ve ever seen out of a good football team, and the blame for that lies directly at Brian Schottenheimer’s feet.

A 12-4 record. An NFC West Title. But after a playoff loss and a 1-2 record against the divisions second-place team, the season feels quite hollow.

The Groz – 710 ESPN Seattle host emeritus

Well that was unexpected. The Seahawks were beaten by the Rams in every facet of the game as their promising season crashed down around them after a beat down by Los Angeles.

The Rams’ defense, ranked No. 1 during the regular season, was as advertised, and the Seahawks had no answers. The Rams shrugged off the loss of the certain defensive player of the year Aaron Donald, who left the game with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, like they had lost a backup safety as they dominated play the entire game.

The Seahawks’ offense lacked imagination and consistency. Its slump in the second half of the season will occupy much of the offseason. The offensive line had its worst game of the year by a mile, unable to stop the Rams’ pressure even though they rarely blitzed. The linemen also committed several drive-crushing penalties. Russell Wilson was lackluster at best. There was no rhythm at all on offense, which makes you wonder about the play calling. A 2-for-14 showing on third downs added to the misery.

The defense wasn’t as bad but the Rams did run for 164 yards despite the fact that their passing game was nonexistent the first 2 1/2 quarters. They did an OK job on third down.

A long, turbulent offseason is to come despite the fact that the Hawks won 12 games. As I said in this space last week, the Seahawks judge their season by postseason success. By that standard, this year was a failure.

D.J. Wilder – Producer, Danny and Gallant

The Seahawks were a 12-win team, and this loss makes it feel like the emptiest 12-win season that we’ve seen in a long time.

The worries that we all had about the offense since the halfway point finally came back to bite the Seahawks at the worst possible time. Even when All-Universe Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald left the game, the Seahawks’ offense still couldn’t get going, proving that it was never going to be their day.

I caution anybody who thinks Pete Carroll is the only one to blame for the offense going in the toilet. Here’s a look at Russell Wilson’s season:

Games 1-8: 2,541 yards, 28 TDs, 8 interceptions, 71% completion, 117.1 rating
Games 9-16: 1,671 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, 66.3% completion, 91.3 rating
Saturday: 11-27, 174 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception, 72.2 rating

This is the fifth straight postseason appearance where the Seahawks’ offense has gotten off to a slow start and cost them from moving on. It might be time to look in the mirror and figure out how to get this offense to take the next step.

O’Neil: Rather than typical comeback, Seahawks collapse in playoffs