Rost: Seahawks have been impressive, but their loss to Rams anything but

Dec 9, 2019, 12:25 AM
Seahawks QBs Russell Wilson, Geno Smith...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was the MVP front-runner but went without a TD in LA. (Getty)

It took 14 weeks for the Seahawks to suffer just their third loss of the season, which also doubled as their first road loss.

All things considered, that’s pretty impressive.

Rams 28, Seahawks 12 | Penny hurt | 3 key moments | Hawksplaining

They did that with their leading receiver hobbled over the past three games and without their starting center and tight end, who both suffered season-ending injuries in October. Yet with just three games left to play the Seahawks are 10-3 and can take the NFC West title if they win out.

What isn’t impressive is how they lost on Sunday night.

In fact, beyond just being unimpressive, it was pretty ugly. The Seahawks fell 28-12 to the Los Angeles Rams, who entered as a seven-win team going through an up-and-down season following a Super Bowl loss.

It was the first game since Week 14 of last year that quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent the better half of this season as the NFL’s MVP front-runner, did not score a touchdown. He complete 22 of 36 pass attempts for 245 yards and was intercepted on a late-game Hail Mary pass. It didn’t help that the Rams’ defensive line got the better of the Seahawks and sacked Wilson five times.

Seattle’s only points came from a pair of Jason Myers field goals and a pick-6 by safety Quandre Diggs, who had two interceptions and was one of a just a few bright spots for the Seahawks. The others were a deep completion to DK Metcalf, a blocked field goal by Rasheem Green, and a solid day from running back Chris Carson.

It was a surprising performance from a Seahawks team that ranked third in total offense and hadn’t played an entire game without an offensive touchdown since September 2017.

The Rams outplayed the Seahawks in nearly every statistical category. Seattle converted just 5 of 14 third down attempts while Los Angeles was 7 of 13 on third down, and the Seahawks failed to score a touchdown on two trips inside the red zone while the Rams scored on four of five red zone possessions. The Seahawks also hurt themselves with eight penalties, a handful of which were pre-snap flags.

With their improbable plays. surprise breakout performances, and overtime thrillers, this year the Seahawks have felt like a team you can’t count out. But despite Wilson’s four fourth-quarter comebacks this season, Sunday’s game felt like it was running away from Seattle before the third quarter even started; Seahawks faced a 21-3 deficit by halftime.

Making matters worse is the injury to running back Rashaad Penny, who was hurt while being chased down by the sideline on Seattle’s opening drive. Last week, the Seahawks finally appeared to have the one-two punch they’d anticipated at running back when they drafted Penny with a 2018 first-round pick, as he combined on a 200-plus yard day with Carson. But on Sunday, Penny’s left leg planted awkwardly as he was being tackled, and the second-year pro immediately fell to the turf and grabbed at his knee in obvious pain. Carroll called the injury a “significant” ACL sprain.

All told, it was Seattle’s worst outing of the season. So where does the team go from here?

Teams don’t stumble into 10-win seasons. The Seahawks’ point differential this year (+20) has some critics calling them the league’s luckiest team, but they’ve also strung together impressive performances. Wilson has been Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded quarterback through 13 weeks, Carson notched his second-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, Metcalf has been one of the top performers in this year’s rookie receiver class, and edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, safety Quandre Diggs and cornerback Shaquill Griffin have all been having strong seasons.

But in a crowded NFC playoff race and with a suffocating San Francisco defense staring them down in their own division, the Seahawks need to right the ship in a hurry. Any team can get a break in the playoffs – and the Seahawks are good enough to get there – but to make it count, they’ll need to have more than just luck on their side.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

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