O’Neil: End of an era? Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to Rams felt like a reckoning
The most successful era of Seahawks football didn’t end with a bang or even a whimper on Sunday.
It landed with a thud, Seattle suffering its most lopsided loss since Pete Carroll became coach in 2010.
Los Angeles 42, Seattle 7. This wasn’t a loss so much as it was a reckoning, and it’s tough to determine what was worse: what happened to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sunday or what it meant for Seattle’s future both this season and beyond.
“I wasn’t happy with anything,” coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks were beaten as thoroughly as an NFL team can be beaten on Sunday. They trailed 34-0 at halftime, having run exactly one play in the Rams’ half of the field. The Seahawks crossed midfield exactly twice in the first three quarters and were down 40-0 before Luke Willson’s 26-yard touchdown catch with 1:23 left in the third quarter, saving Seattle from the embarrassment of being shut out at home for the first time since 1992. It was the largest loss the Seahawks have suffered since 2010.
Yep, it has been a bit since Seattle saw something like this, so take a breath because this one is going to leave a mark.
The Rams (10-4) now have a two-game lead in the division, and the Seahawks’ chances at winning the NFC West are almost entirely mathematical. Seattle (8-6) is a half-game behind Atlanta, which plays Tampa Bay on Monday night, but the Falcons have a head-to-head victory over Seattle.
Seattle (8-6) now must not only win its final two regular-season games starting next Sunday in Dallas, but get help to make the playoffs for a sixth successive year.
This felt like the end of an era. The Rams were younger, they were healthier and they were better in each and every aspect of a game that was billed as Seattle’s most pivotal regular-season game at CenturyLink Field since Russell Wilson became quarterback.
Instead, it was Seattle’s most pathetic showing since the Seahawks were beaten 41-7 by the Giants back on Nov. 7, 2010, when Pete Carroll was in his first season as Seattle’s coach and Charlie Whitehurst started for an injured Matt Hasselbeck.
“There was nothing to be happy about,” Carroll said. “That was a really dismal performance by us.”
The Rams began five drives in Seattle’s half of the field in the first half. Compare that to the Seahawks, who ran exactly one play from Los Angeles’ half of the field. That play resulted in a fumble.
The Rams had 109 yards worth of punt returns in the first half; the Seahawks had 59 yards of total offense.
Wilson completed 12 passes in the first three quarters of the game and had been sacked five times entering the final period.
It didn’t get better in the fourth quarter with Wilson flagged for intentional grounding from his own end zone with 10 minutes remaining after he threw a pass toward the sideline on a play in which receiver Paul Richardson had broken inside.
Rams running back Todd Gurley scored four touchdowns, and his 57-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half was just the last play in an utterly miserable half of football for Seattle.
The Seahawks had four first downs and committed two turnovers. The only two plays that could even be called a highlight for the Seahawks were a pair of completions to J.D. McKissic. One converted a third-and-7, the other produced a 26-yard gain.
Seattle’s second-longest gain of the first half turned out to be the Seahawks’ worst play as receiver Tanner McEvoy caught a pass on third down, picked up the first down and then fumbled after gaining 22 yards.
The Seahawks trailed 13-0 by the time they converted another first down in a first half with a disparity that was best evidenced by the field position. Seattle’s average starting position was its own 22. The Rams’ average starting position was the Seattle 42, and of the Rams’ seven first-half possessions, five began on Seattle’s half of the field.
|SEAHAWKS WORST REGULAR-SEASON LOSSES UNDER PETE CARROLL
|35||vs. Los Angeles Rams||Rams 42, Seahawks 7||Dec. 17, 2017|
|34||vs. New York Giants||Giants 41, Seahawks 7||Nov. 7, 2010|
|30||at Oakland||Raiders 33, Seahawks 3||Oct. 31, 2010|
|28||at Green Bay||Packers 38, Seahawks 10||Dec. 11, 2016|
|24||at Pittsburgh||Steelers 24, Seahawks 0||Sept. 18, 2011|