O’Neil: What we learned from Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to Rams
We interrupt the wringing of hands for a bit of perspective.
So please, put away your think pieces on “The Decline of Seahawks Civilization” as we try to figure out the significance of Sunday’s loss not for this season – which now depends on help to reach the postseason – but about the state of this team.
Because as awful as Seattle’s loss was on Sunday – and it was far and away the worst defeat the Seahawks have suffered since the advent of Wilsonism – the Seahawks have not suddenly become Cleveland.
They’re one of three NFL teams that has made the playoffs each of the last five seasons, a team that still has a chance to win 10 games this season and a team that has a quarterback that is envied by all but about five teams in the league (and some goofus named Andy Benoit).
With that said, here’s what we learned about the Seahawks and their future after Sunday’s 42-7 loss to the Rams:
1. Russell Wilson was not part of the problem on Sunday.
He wasn’t any sort of solution, either, but Seattle’s quarterback had no chance. Not with the pass pressure the Rams were able to mount and the Seahawks’ utter inability to mount any semblance of a rushing offense. At one point in the third quarter, Wilson had completed nine passes and suffered seven sacks. That’s a reflection not on his decision-making, but evidence of unsafe working conditions. The pass rush was expected. So was Seattle’s difficulty in running the ball given what we’ve seen now for more than two years – but even in the pantheon of running jokes, this was particularly pathetic considering the Rams came in ranked 28th in the league against the run and were allowing the third-most yards per carry. Right now, the Seahawks’ offense is best described as waiting on Wilson to make something happen. That’s simply not sustainable, as was evidenced Sunday.
2. Todd Gurley was the best player on the field Sunday.
That was not true back in the meeting back in Week 5. Of course, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright all played in that game and Bobby Wagner wasn’t suffering from an injured hamstring as Gurley was held to 50 yards from scrimmage, his fewest in any game this season. On Sunday, Gurley rushed for 152 yards, the most the Seahawks have allowed in any game since Jamaal Charles gained 159 yards against Seattle on Nov. 16, 2014. Gurley was incredible, and while short fields certainly helped, at no point in the game did the Seahawks give any sign that they would be capable of stopping him regardless of how bad of field position the Rams found themselves in.
3. The Rams played special teams like the Seahawks used to.
Los Angeles’ Pharoh Cooper had 128 yards worth of punt returns on Sunday. That’s more than the Seahawks allowed in the entire 2013 season when opponents had a 16-game total of 82 yards worth of punt returns. Some of that is due to the injuries that have shuffled Seattle’s coverage units. More of that is due to the fact that it’s the Rams who now have a younger, deeper roster of defensive players. Special teams used to be a strength of Seattle’s. This season it has been more of a vulnerability.