Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to the Rams as uncharacteristic as any in Carroll era
There was an odd feeling in the Seahawks’ locker room after Sunday’s deflating 42-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It wasn’t one of anger or sadness – though some players may have been feeling both – nor was it apathy. Was it the frustration that typically follows any loss?
Maybe a better word is stillness; it’s a word that better suits the look and weight of that locker room. It was stillness – and a half-empty room – that greeted a pool of reporters who flooded in from the chilly waiting area as soon as its double doors swung open.
The players that were in the open changed quietly at their stations or chatted with a nearby teammate. By a row of stalls on the right-hand side, injured cornerback Richard Sherman stood in sweats with a boot on, crutches leaning against his locker, as he spoke with safety Earl Thomas. When Thomas turned, ready to take questions, he was met by about two dozen faces, shining lights and cameras.
“We never really got going,” Thomas said in response to one question about the Rams’ potent offense.
Just as much as the thousands of fans that watched the rout end minutes earlier, Thomas appeared to be at a loss for words.
“And then we couldn’t stop the run. I think we did OK on the passing side of things, but we just didn’t stop the run and (Todd) Gurley had a great day.
“But we never had a chance.”
The voices and attitudes of a locker room vary based on the outcome of a game – we’re all human, after all – but the one that greeted reporters after Sunday’s was both somber and unfamiliar.
It’s hard to put your finger on just what, exactly, the feeling was. Which is probably how several players felt. After all, the majority of the players in that room hadn’t before felt a loss like the one dealt to them by the Rams. Not only did an NFC West opponent beat Seattle at home to likely secure the division title, but they never stopped beating them.
Los Angeles had outgained Seattle’s first-half net yards, 238 to 59. Through those two quarters, the Rams were 7 of 7 on third down and had 14 first downs (compared to just four for the Seahawks). Seattle’s top two receivers, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, had only two targets apiece. Quarterback Russell Wilson had eight completions on 15 attempts for 85 yards and was sacked four times.
Gurley racked up almost 150 yards and quarterback Jared Goff marched his offense into the red zone five times, giving L.A. a 34-0 lead.
Despite losing several starters to injury over the season, the performance was out of character for this year’s Seahawks – especially two weeks after their best outing of the season. But more than that, it was out of character for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks.
The final score, 42-7, was the largest margin of defeat in Carroll’s tenure. The last time Seattle lost by as much – 48-10 in a road game at Lambeau Field – was Dec. 27, 2009. In fact, there are only six losses with a bigger margin in franchise history.
Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for a 26-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, which saved Seattle from a shutout loss at home, which would have been the first since 1992.
“This is the only game you’ve ever seen us play like this,” Carroll said postgame. “I can’t remember back to year one or something like that. Our expectations were that we were going to be right in the middle of this thing.”
Perhaps it’s why the feeling was so hard to pin-point – and why most didn’t quite know how to describe the feeling themselves.
“We didn’t put our best foot forward and we didn’t play Seahawks football,” Baldwin told reporters after the game. “I told (the team) to let it burn and remember this feeling. Come back tomorrow, we will correct our mistakes, get cleaned up and get ready for Dallas.”
The loss hasn’t eliminated Seattle from the playoffs, but the road to the postseason just became much harder. With their own postseason fate now out of their total control, Seattle can only focus on winning its next two games to improve to 10-6. And that starts with a road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve – a game that will also mark the return of Dallas tailback Ezekiel Elliott. And if all goes according to plan, the unfamiliar feeling in the Seahawks locker room will remain just that.