Seahawks lose to Rams 28-26 as comeback falls short

Oct 19, 2014, 1:07 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm
The Seahawks nearly overcame an 18-point deficit but lost 28-26 to St. Louis and fell to 3-3. (AP)...
The Seahawks nearly overcame an 18-point deficit but lost 28-26 to St. Louis and fell to 3-3. (AP)
(AP)

ST. LOUIS – The comeback was almost incredible.

That only made the defeat more excruciating.

The Seahawks trailed 28-26 and were poised to get the ball back only to have Rams punter Johnny Hekker complete an 18-yard pass to Benny Cunningham for a first down, allowing St. Louis to run out the clock in a two-point victory that leaves Seattle at 3-3.

The Seahawks entered the game missing four starters because of injury and having just traded their top playmaker because of an attitude they deemed broken. Apparently that wasn’t enough adversity for the Seattle. The Seahawks went and planted themselves in an 18-point hole in a first half of embarrassing special-teams gaffes and an impotent offense.

It was too big of a hole for Seattle to escape even after scoring three touchdowns in the final 20 minutes. Twice, Seattle cut its deficit to three points and with just under 3 minutes to go appeared poised to get the ball back.

The Seahawks never touched it again. It was the second time in three years that Hekker – a graduate of Bothell High School – completed a critical pass against the Seahawks. Yes, Hekker is a punter, but his passes have been lethal. He threw for a touchdown against Seattle on a fake field goal in 2012 and his fourth-down throw iced Sunday’s game.

Seattle scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, each time cutting St. Louis’ lead to two points. The first was a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cooper Helfet, and Seattle even attempted a two-point conversion that would have tied it. The pass was overthrown.

After St. Louis scored a touchdown to push the lead to nine points, the Seahawks scored a touchdown on Russell Wilson’s 9-yard pass to Doug Baldwin. Seattle kicked the extra point, and had two timeouts with every intention of getting the ball back.

The Seahawks nearly played their way out of a hole in St. Louis. Now, we’ll see over the next 10 games whether they can improve on a decidedly mediocre – and, in fact, occasionally bad – start to the season.

Seattle is unfamiliar territory at 3-3. Before falling to 1-1 in Week 2, the Seahawks hadn’t been .500 since a loss in Detroit in Week 8 of the 2012 season. That was 721 days ago.

The Rams scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown when Lance Kendricks caught a 4-yard pass with 5:36 left. He was defended by linebacker K.J. Wright on the play.

That was St. Louis’ only answer to Seattle’s second-half rally after the Seahawks scored two field goals in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Wilson ran 19 yards for Seattle’s first touchdown of the game, scoring with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

On the next possession, he converted a third-and-10 with a 52-yard run down the sideline, outrunning one defensive back and stiff-arming another. Wilson’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Helfet in the corner of the end zone cut Seattle’s deficit to 21-19 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. The Seahawks had a chance to tie the score on the ensuing play, but Wilson’s lob to Jermaine Kearse was just a bit high.

Still, it was closer than anyone would have imagined after a first half in which the Seahawks were blindsided into their largest halftime deficit in a full calendar year.

The first two losses of Seattle’s season followed a familiar pattern from the Seahawks’ inability to get Marshawn Lynch the carries he needed to the defense’s struggles on third down.

What happened on Sunday in St. Louis was entirely different in the first half. It was worse. It was, well, it was embarrassing.

The Seahawks allowed 21 first-half points to a team on its third starting quarterback of the season. They gave up a 76-yard kickoff return, the longest against Seattle in more than three years. Heck, they got fooled by a fake punt return – yes, you read that right – allowing the Rams to sucker them to the wrong side of the field while Stedman Bailey caught the kick on the opposite sideline and turned to run for a touchdown.

Those mistakes meant that while the Seahawks outgained St. Louis in the first half, 160 yards of offense to 111, Seattle trailed 21-6. It matched the most first-half points Seattle had allowed since Week 4 of the 2011 season, and it was the largest halftime deficit the Seahawks faced since Week 4 against Houston last year when the Texans led 20-3.

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Seahawks lose to Rams 28-26 as comeback falls short