Seahawks stumble in 28-12 loss to Rams, take big hit in standings

Dec 8, 2019, 5:53 PM | Updated: 10:06 pm

The Seahawks had an opportunity to make it through Sunday night with both the NFC West lead and the No. 1 seed in the conference.

They left Los Angeles with neither.

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The Seahawks’ offense couldn’t keep up with the Rams on Sunday in a 28-12 loss, just the third of the season for Seattle and easily the one that hits the hardest.

The Rams and San Francisco 49ers end up being the big winners out of the day. Los Angeles moves to 8-5 and avoids being eliminated from playoff contention a year after making the Super Bowl. The Niners, meanwhile, beat the previous NFC No. 1 seed New Orleans Saints 48-46 earlier in the day to improve to 11-3 and assume what Seattle was playing for – the NFC West lead and NFC’s top seed.

The Seahawks (10-3) fall all the way to the No. 5 spot in the NFC with the loss. Though they hold a tiebreaker over the 49ers thanks to a Week 10 win in the Bay Area, but that only matters if the two teams are tied, which they no longer are. Seattle can still maneuver ahead of San Francisco by beating the Niners one more time in Week 17, but they need to enter that game no more than one game behind San Francisco in the standings. And if Seattle is going to win the NFC’s top seed, it needs to finish the final three weeks with one more win than New Orleans, as the Saints hold a tiebreaker over the Seahawks due to a Week 3 win in Seattle.

The Rams’ offense picked Seattle’s defense apart through the air in the first half, and while two Quandre Diggs interceptions – one of which was returned for a touchdown – and a blocked field goal by Rasheem Green gave the Seahawks life in the third quarter, Los Angeles switched up to its run game and short passes to pull away with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 22 for 31 passing, with Tyler Higbee (seven receptions, 116 yards) becoming the second Rams tight end to burn Seattle’s defense this season (Gerald Everett being the other). Robert Woods had 98 yards and a score on seven catches, Todd Gurley added 79 yards and a score on the ground for Los Angeles.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was 22 of 36 passing for 245 yards, no touchdowns and a late interception. DK Metcalf led Seattle receivers with 78 yards on six catches, and Chris Carson rushed for 76 yards on 15 carries, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight second along the way.

Notable is that Seattle’s lone touchdown was on Diggs’ interception, so the offense put online six points – a pair of Jason Myers field goals – on the board.

Here’s a closer look at the Seahawks’ loss in Los Angeles.

First quarter

Rams 7, Seahawks 3

The Seahawks wasted little time taking a lead in Los Angeles, using 11 plays on their way to a 39-yard Myers field goal. Among the bigger plays of the 54-yard drive was a 16-yard screen pass to running back Rashaad Penny. It’s unlikely that play was worth the cost, however.

Penny, a 2018 first-round pick who was coming off the best two-game stretch of his career, took a shot to his left knee and was forced out of the game, quickly being ruled out after being taken back to the locker room. A tweet sent by Penny during the third quarter didn’t help assuage any fears about his status.

And while Seattle took a 3-0 lead (after Wilson was sacked on third down), the defense’s inability to stop the Rams on third down hurt the Seahawks dearly on the first LA possession.

Facing third-and-four on their third play from scrimmage, the Rams turned to wide receiver Robert Woods, who took a pass from Goff and gained 19 yards to get LA to midfield. The Rams found Woods on the very next play for a 15-yard pickup, and a hole in Seattle’s coverage allowed Higbee to gain 33 yards, putting Los Angeles a yard away from a touchdown. The Rams got it one play later on a Malcolm Brown run.

The Higbee catch was worrisome as while Los Angeles was without Everett for the game, Everett had 136 receiving yards against Seattle in Week 3 – his only career 100-yard game to this point. Even with Everett out, the Rams showed early on they still had a way to torture the Seahawks’ secondary with their tight ends.

Seattle’s offense didn’t have an answer following the Rams’ touchdown drive, going three-and-out and punting on fourth-and-1 from its own 34.

Note: Carson eclipsed the 1,000 rushing yard mark of the second straight season in the first quarter.

SEA – Jason Myers 39 FG (SEA 3-0), 8:34
LAR – Malcolm Brown 1 run (Greg Zuerlein kick, LAR 7-3), 5:08

Second quarter

Rams 21, Seahawks 3

The Seahawks have made a name for themselves by being able to come back week after week from considerable deficits.

Well, the Rams threw down the gauntlet in the second quarter.

Woods and Cooper Kupp each caught a touchdown pass from Goff, and Seattle came away with no points in the quarter after opting to go for it on fourth down rather than attempt a make-able field goal, allowing the Rams to jump out to a commanding 21-3 lead by halftime. Not only that, but because Seattle received the opening kickoff, the Rams would get a chance to further build on their lead to open the second half.

Los Angeles had all kinds of success in the passing game against Seattle’s defense in the first half. Goff threw for 184 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 15 for 18 passing in the first two quarters, with Higbee (five catches, 79 yards) and Woods (five catches, 62 yards) taking turns burning the Seahawks’ secondary.

Seattle would have been in much better position if it wasn’t for Wilson’s receivers struggling to hang on to targets. On the aforementioned fourth down play, the Seahawks needed just a yard to convert from Los Angeles’ 24, but Wilson’s pass hit off the hands of Malik Turner. And after the defense came up with a crucial three-and-out, the Seahawks once again faltered because a third-and-7 pass attempt was dropped by Jacob Hollister.

That was one missed opportunity too many, as the Rams then covered 72 yards on 10 plays, ending with a 10-yard TD catch by a Yakima native and Eastern Washington University product Kupp. The score pushed the Los Angeles lead to 18 points with just 51 seconds to go.

The Seahawks reached near midfield before a Dante Fowler Jr. sack of Wilson sent the game to halftime.

LAR – Robert Woods 2 pass from Jared Goff (Zuerlein kick, LAR 14-3), 11:28
LAR – Cooper Kupp 10 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick, LAR 21-3), :51

Third quarter

Rams 21, Seahawks 9

With the Rams up by three scores and receiving the kickoff to open the third quarter, the Seahawks needed a prayer to be answered.

Enter Quandre Diggs.


The play-making safety continued his run of huge performances since joining the Seahawks in a midseason trade, picking off Jared Goff and going 55 yards for a touchdown that Seattle sorely needed. That ended what was likely the best defensive series of the day for the Seahawks, who were struggling both in the pass rush and in coverage. On that one play they got both, as Diggs’ pick was set up by pressure by Shaquem Griffin.

Diggs ended the next Rams drive, too, flying in to haul in a long pass attempt by Goff to give Seattle the ball deep in Los Angeles territory. That was his third interception this season, all of which have come in his four games since being sent from Detroit to the Seahawks. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Diggs is the first Seahawks player to record three interceptions in his first four games with the team since Earl Thomas.

Despite Diggs’ picks, the Seahawks didn’t get much help from the other two facets of the game. Myers shanked the PAT attempt after the pick-6, and the Seahawks’ offense went three-and-out after the second interception.

Seattle’s defense wasn’t done giving the Hawks opportunities to get back into the game. Though Los Angeles reached field goal territory, Green got his hand on Greg Zuerlein’s kick for a block that kept the Rams’ lead at 12 points.

The offense began moving when it started its next series, showing life like the Seahawks tend to in the second half. A bull rush broke out on third-and-7, however, resulting in a sack of Wilson that pushed Seattle back behind midfield for a fourth-and-18 play, leaving no other option than a Michael Dickson punt.

Another stop on defense gave Seattle the ball back, however, and the important takeaway from the third quarter was that the Seahawks had cut the Rams’ lead to 12 points and had possession to start the fourth. We’ve all seen crazier things than the Seahawks coming back from down two scores in the fourth quarter.

SEA – Quandre Diggs 55 interception return (kick failed, 21-9 LAR), 12:54

Fourth quarter

Rams 28, Seahawks 12

For the Seahawks to come back and beat the Rams, they needed to act quick in the fourth quarter.

Instead, it was the Rams that did that.

Seattle opened the fourth quarter with a third-and-8 play, but an incompletion forced them to punt. And while Los Angeles started all the way back at its own 5 thanks to a penalty on the return, the Rams’ offense made a key adjustment to push the advantage close to unreachable for the Seahawks.

While pressure on Goff allowed Seattle to crawl back into the game in the third quarter, the Rams didn’t allow much opportunity for the Seahawks to keep that up. Los Angeles ran five times and threw two short passes, and that was all it needed to cover a whopping 95 yards in 3:40 to move ahead 28-9 on a 7-yard Gurley touchdown run. Higbee had a huge 32-yard gain on the second play of the series to get the Rams out from the shadow of their own goal line, and Woods had a catch of 20 yards and runs of 16 and 13 on the drive.

Seattle got some much-needed big plays on its next possession. First was a 19-yard connection between Wilson and Tyler Lockett, and later came a 35-yard rainbow from Wilson to DK Metcalf, who was near the sideline and in double-coverage. But back-to-back penalties on the offensive line, a holding call on Mike Iupati and false start by Germain Ifedi, took Seattle from the Rams’ 11 to out of the red zone, and it had to settle for a 34-yard field goal that cut Los Angeles’ lead to 28-12, the largest of two-score leads.

That wasn’t nearly close enough, as Seattle never threatened Los Angeles’ advantage the rest of the way.

LAR – Todd Gurley 7 run (Zuerlein kick, LAR 28-9), 11:07
SEA – Myers 34 FG (LAR 28-12), 7:03

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