The Next Day: What’s sticking from another Seahawks loss to Rams

Nov 20, 2023, 9:36 AM | Updated: 10:55 am

Seattle Seahawks Rams Puka Nacua...

LA Rams WR Puka Nacua reacts after a catch against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 19, 2023. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

On the Monday after Seattle Seahawks games on Bump and Stacy, my co-host Michael Bumpus and I typically have a segment called “What’s Sticking With Me?”

Seahawks’ Carroll on Geno Smith: ‘He’ll make it back’ to play 49ers

The concept is simple enough. It’s a moment, an interaction, a play call, a big stop, or a question that will linger with you for hours, or even days, after the final whistle has sounded. The exercise is meant to extrapolate more from the game and this team based on some of Sunday’s smallest moments.

It’ll come as no surprise that after a loss, those questions and thoughts stick around for longer. In a one-point loss to a divisional foe – even worse, one lost on a missed field goal in the final seconds – that’s especially true.

The Seahawks themselves won’t have much time to ruminate on Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Rams; they’ll have a quick turnaround before a Thanksgiving Day game against the suddenly-hot-again 49ers. But fans and critics will probably have a hard time moving on quite as quickly from a frustrating Week 11.

Here’s what’s sticking with me after this one.

What the heck happened on that final sequence?

Look, by the time the Seahawks took over trailing by a point with just over 1:30 remaining, this team needed some kind of miracle. A huge catch, a big run. Whatever it was, it needed to happen fast, because Seattle was out of timeouts.

They got the big catch on a 21-yard pass to DK Metcalf to take Seattle to the LA 39 with 23 seconds remaining. One more shot could get them into a much more manageable field goal attempt for Jason Myers, who had been perfect up until that point and was coming off a game-winning kick against the Commanders the week before. A win was tough going, but still possible.

Instead, Smith handed the ball off to rookie running back Zach Charbonnet, who picked up two yards on a run down the middle. Smith spiked the ball with nine seconds left and Myers missed wide right. Game.

Why not spike the ball on first-and-10 with 23 seconds remaining? Why not throw there?

Those were probably the questions running through Pete Carroll’s head at the time.

“We didn’t quite handle that as well as we’d like to,” Carroll said postgame.

Asked if there was a thought to stopping the clock rather than hand it off to Charbonnet, Carroll said: “There’s some choices in there. Yeah, I agree with that. There’s choices.”

There was also, apparently, some confusion.

Smith told reporters his earpiece went out and he couldn’t hear the play call from offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. So he went to the quickest play he could think of, further explaining that he thought the could get more yards on the play.

Credit Smith for coming back into the game from an arm injury and marching the offense down the field with key plays to Tyler Lockett and Metcalf. The Seahawks had a chance because of those passes. But a split-second decision in a moment of confusion seems to have left fans scratching their heads, for good reason.

LA’s second-half adjustments hurt Seattle Seahawks

For a second time this season, Seattle entered halftime with a 13-7 lead against the Rams. And for a second time this season, they lost it in the second half.

At least they put up more than 12 yards of offense in the second half this time… right?

OK, bad timing. But it was another bad second-half display for Seattle’s offense.

In the first half, the Seahawks had 12 first downs, were 4 for 7 on third down, and had 204 net yards to LA’s 94.

In the second half, Seattle had four total first downs, was 1 for 8 on third down, rushed for 14 yards, and put up just three points.

The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue said the Rams “mixed in some new ideas” on defense, and head coach Sean McVay cited that defensive performance in the second half as “the key” to LA’s win.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Let’s get physical (on defense)

It can feel hollow to look at a silver lining after a loss, but Seattle’s young defenders continued to take steps forward.

The penalties on defense were killer, yes. And those need to be cleaned up (as ticky-tack as some of them were). But a huge tackle from Devon Witherspoon, a pick from Riq Woolen, and a batted ball in the first half from Boye Mafe were highlights.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

What They Said: What happened on key play before Seahawks’ missed FG?
Seahawks Instant Reaction: Rams still have their number
The Big Plays: Despite Geno’s heroics, Seattle Seahawks fall to Rams 17-16

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The Next Day: What’s sticking from another Seahawks loss to Rams