O’Neil: The Seahawks’ latest heart-breaking loss is their most painful yet
They’re just good enough to break your heart.
For all their inconsistencies and their absolute insistence upon an old-school approach to offense, the Seahawks have shown they’re going to give themselves a chance to win a game. Even on the road. Even against a Los Angeles Rams team that is widely regarded as the best in the league.
They’ve also shown that they can’t quite close the deal, and when Russell Wilson’s fourth-down pass sailed over Tyler Lockett’s head in the final minute, the Seahawks turned the ball over on downs 35 yards away from what would have been a game-winning touchdown.
The Rams 36, Seahawks 31.
It’s the sixth time the Seahawks have played a game that was decided by a single possession, and the Seahawks have now lost five of those games.
This was the closest the Seahawks had come to pulling what would have been a season-changing upset, and for that reason it will probably be the most painful. After a back-breaking turnover set up the Rams’ final touchdown, Seattle gained 130 yards on two possessions in their final 6 minutes. The Seahawks scored one touchdown but came up 35 yards short of what they needed as four consecutive incompletions by Russell Wilson extinguished Seattle’s final drive.
The Seahawks rushed for 273 yards, their most in any of the last four games. Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks’ first-round pick, rushed for 108 yards in a game that Chris Carson missed because of a hip injury. Russell Wilson rushed for 92 yards, a marked change after he ran for 108 yards in the first eight games combined.
Now let’s be clear. For the first three quarters, the Rams lapped the Seahawks when it came to yardage. Wilson had all of 38 yards passing in the first half, and he still hadn’t hit triple digits when the fourth quarter began.
But the Seahawks did what they do. They kept it close. They kept the ball on the ground and kept the score close even as the Rams were forced to punt just once in the first three quarters.
The Rams’ offense is undeniably impressive. Running back Todd Gurley ran for 120 yards. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 318 yards.
It’s an offense good enough on its own. The Seahawks certainly didn’t need to help, which Seattle did in the fourth quarter. Twice.
First, Seattle attempted an onside kick with just under 10 minutes remaining. Sebastian Janikowski mis-hit the ball, the Rams recovered it and drove 44 yards for a field goal. Then Wilson had the ball stripped by the Rams’ Dante Fowler with just under 6 minutes remaining. The Rams took over on the Seattle 4 and scored on the next play.
While Seattle still gave itself a chance to win in the final minute, the hole turned out to be too great.
The Seahawks came close. Again.
They had the ball with a pivotal fourth-quarter possession. Again.
They lost a one-possession game. Again.
And at 4-5 and with the Green Bay Packers coming to town on Thursday, the Seahawks are quickly running out of time to find a way to get over the hump.