The Seahawks dropped a tough one in St. Louis, and after giving up a late seven-point lead, lost in overtime by a final of 34-31 after an unsuccessful onsides kick produced a Rams field goal.
It was an inauspicious start for these teams, with the only score in the first quarter coming on a Tyler Lockett punt return for a touchdown. The defensive battle continued through the half, as the teams went into the break tied at ten. The second half would lead to far more fireworks, however.
After Nick Foles "ran" in a touchdown and Tavon Austin returned a punt of his own for a touchdown, the Rams found themselves with an 11 point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. The Seahawks defense came alive in that fourth quarter to give their team a chance to win the game in regulation (more on those plays below), but couldn't keep the Rams from tying things up with a minute to go in regulation. Dion Bailey wasn't able to stay on his feet while covering Lance Kendricks, and Foles hit him for a long score, which surely made Kam Chancellor and his agent quite happy.
So off to overtime we went. Tarvaris Jackson uncharacteristically lost the coin flip, and Pete Carroll chose to try for an onside kick to open the extra period, which St. Louis was able to recover (after Jeff Triplette tried to confuse everyone). The defense held Foles and company to a field goal, and had a chance to go down the field to tie or win the game. Then, on fourth and one with the game on the line, Marshawn Lynch was stuffed in the backfield by the overpowering St. Louis defensive line. And that was that.
A disheartening loss for the Seahawks, to be sure. While there are a lot of things that will need to be cleaned up in order for this team to make another playoff run, seeing their trademarked resiliency show up in the fourth quarter was nice.
1. Tyler Lockett did the dang thing yet again.
We've known for some time now that Tyler Lockett has the potential to be a difference-maker for the Seattle Seahawks, and today we were given proof that his awesome-ness will carry over to the regular season. He had multiple receptions where he seemingly transported five more yards upfield. The marquee moment of his day, however, was clearly this beautifully blocked and executed punt return for the touchdown (the Seahawks' first since 2007).
2. Cary Williams is out to silence the haters.
Williams hasn't seemed to earn his place in the Seahawks secondary yet, according to many Seattle fans. His resume from Philadelphia wasn't terribly impressive to begin with, and some inconsistencies in the preseason didn't help his cause. Today though, he came up big and made what was, at the time, the most important play of the game.
Coming on the corner blitz, Williams was able to get the sack of Nick Foles, force the fumble, recover the fumble and run it in for the score. Such plays are definitely rarities in the NFL, and Williams deserves a lot of credit for it (and for his solid coverage all day).
3. Different play, relatively same result.
After the final play of the game, the first thing I heard on my television was "this time they gave it to Marshawn", which was of course referencing the final play of last year's Super Bowl. The right side of the defensive line was manhandled, and Marshawn had defenders draped all over him just moments after he received the handoff.
The Rams were built to prevent this final play from succeeding, and prevent it they did.
-Jared Cook: 5 catches, 85 yards
Cook was open all day long, consistently finding soft spots in the defense. He's always had potential to be a great player, and he showed some of that today.
-Tyler Lockett: 4 catches, 34 yards, 57 yard punt return for TD
Lockett was a magician with the ball in his hands, picking up first downs, zooming ahead four yards when it looked like he had none and returning a punt for the first score of the game. Look for Lockett to get even more time on offense in the coming weeks, after showing that he can be a valuable asset for Wilson.
-Jermaine Kearse: 8 catches, 76 yards
For all of the talk of cutting Kearse to make cap room in the offseason, it became clear why they didn't go that route on Sunday. Kearse remains one of Wilson's favorite targets, and he did a nice job against the Rams. He's still not a #1 receiver type, but he's a steady presence for the Seattle arial attack.
-The defense is still very good.
They gave up 34 points on the day, but this defense is still full of weapons at every level. They're certainly missing their enforcer, Kam Chancellor (especially on the Kendricks touchdown), but they are still more than good enough to win games. Avril and Bennett, specifically, seemed to be all over the place in this one.
Jimmy's first touchdown grab as a Seahawk was fun! It was an important moment in the game, but it also signaled that the Seahawks are likely (hopefully) going to make a true effort to get him the ball in the red zone this season. The play design deserves praise, as well. Any play that gets Graham in a position where he's be able to use his body to box out his opponent, is a good play. They should do more of those.
-The offensive line still has work to do.
That's a tough conclusion to come to, considering the opponent, but they certainly still have room to improve. Wilson spent a lot of time running around behind the line of scrimmage and a lot of time on his back, and of course the final play's failure was due to the Rams overpowering the linemen. They've made many strides, and should be a relatively formidable unit by the time the season comes to a close, but they're not there yet.
-Earl Thomas still knows how to hit.
The best safety in the NFL showed that he's plenty healthy enough to continue to play football at its highest level. He was flying all over the field on Sunday, per usual. However, his biggest play of the game came late in the fourth quarter.
Earl was able to deliver this hit in just the right position to knock it loose, and Bruce Irvin was able to fall on it and recover for the Seahawks. The offense would go 58 yards down the field after the recovery and kick the field goal that would tie the game at 24.
-You get a screen, and YOU get a screen!
The offensive attack seemed to be mainly focused around wide receiver screens today. Screens can be great play calls when you use them two or three times a game. The Seahawks made them overkill today though, even if they were successful quite often. It could have been because Bevell and Cable weren't confident the line could hold the defensive front for St. Louis back long enough for any downfield developing plays, but it was still a little much.
What it Means
It's only week one, so there obviously isn't any major news, standings-wise. The Rams take a one game lead in the division for now, but they'll face the Hawks again in Seattle in later December. Hopefully this was just the Seahawks getting their yearly goose egg against the Rams out of the way early.
Up next, they have the Green Bay Packers in primetime at Lambeau Field. The offense will need to figure some things out this week, and figure out how to put up points earlier in the game to give their defense some rest.