The San Francisco 49ers beating the New Orleans Saints put the pressure on the Seattle Seahawks to win to stay atop the NFC West. They embarrassed themselves with a 28-12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and frankly the game was not that close. It was a primetime thumping and they have virtually no more room for error if they want to win the division and get a first-round bye.
There weren’t many winners out of this one, so you’re really here for the “losers” side of Winners and Losers.
Seattle only gave up a fifth-round pick to have a substantial upgrade at safety. Diggs has been a revelation, picking off Jared Goff twice and getting the Seahawks’ only touchdown of the game. He was the one player on defense who performed well out there.
Six catches on six targets for 78 yards, including a nice grab down the sideline with Jalen Ramsey in coverage. I’ll overlook the personal foul penalty because it was ticky-tack and both men were shoving.
He blocked a field goal! That was cool.
He seems to have a lot of his mojo back as a punter. Three of his five punts pinned the Rams inside their 20, which gave LA’s offense plenty of room to wreck Seattle’s defense. That’s all I’ve got.
Everyone on the defense not named Quandre Diggs
That was abysmal. Sean McVay’s “genius” tag got stamped right back on him because he has a photographic memory of everything, while the Seahawks coaching staff has the collective memory of a goldfish when trying to slow down McVay’s offense. Lit up for 455 yards overall and all four TD drives were at least 75 yards long.
The secondary (except Diggs) was atrocious. Tre Flowers was culpable on Todd Gurley’s touchdown run, losing contain and “getting a facial” per Cris Collinsworth, as I double-checked to see if I was on the wrong channel. Bradley McDougald was poor, Shaquill Griffin gave up a TD to Robert Woods, and they had no passes defensed.
Linebacker play was weak. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright were a step slow all night and were not shedding blocks on those jet sweeps. Goff picked apart the linebackers in pass coverage, as the team continues to struggle defending TEs. I’ve no real comment on Cody Barton beyond his tipped pass at the line of scrimmage.
Pass rush? Virtually none outside of Shaquem Griffin’s pressure that forced the Diggs interception for a score. Jadeveon Clowney was awful, especially with his tendency to bite on run-fakes.
Ken Norton was totally outmatched by McVay. Again. It was a no-contest. And how many times did they fail to line up properly before the snap and got caught out of position? Absolutely gross.
Russell Wilson’s MVP chances
First he was the frontrunner, but now he may not even get a first-place vote unless he turns it up over the last three weeks, but that’s secondary to him helping the team win. Wilson started out red hot but has been held to just four touchdown passes and four interceptions post-Buccaneers game, and I assume his QBR is plummeting. The elephant in the room is I think the Seahawks offense is much worse off without Will Dissly, and that’s not a slight against Jacob Hollister but more how valuable Dissly is to the offense. Add in Tyler Lockett not being 100% and it makes life harder for Wilson, but he’s also not been faultless.
And for as long as Wilson is not going to be a designed rushing threat, the read-option keepers need to do. Defenses have no need to respect it.
Bad bad bad bad. Mike Iupati was the worst of them. Not all five sacks were on poor pass protection, but Wilson was often under siege and it was brutal to watch. I suppose the run blocking wasn’t terrible but the Seahawks needed to be thriving in pass-mode and it never materialized.
Turner had a critical 4th down drop while it was still 14-3 and then didn’t turn to look for the ball that went right by him on what could’ve been a 3rd and 15 touchdown. Not a good day at the office for one of Seattle’s better role players.
Moore is looking like a worse Jermaine Kearse. I’d hoped for so much more after his unexpected hot start to 2018 when he replaced Brandon Marshall. Moore fumbled a punt (which Ugo Amadi recovered) and then picked up a ridiculous holding penalty while Wilson scrambled on a run. He’s hurting more than he’s helping.
His own drop on 3rd down was really uncharacteristic and costly, as the Rams ultimately scored a touchdown after the Seahawks punted.
Either the Rams did a brilliant job of shutting down any quick-timing passes from the Seahawks, or they didn’t exist. I think Schotty has had a mostly great year but this offense was terrible and his gameplan quickly unraveled after a promising opening drive. Third downs have to be better, especially in obvious passing situations.
Hurry-up offense to run the football is maddening, and the Seahawks did this multiple times when time was of the essence. Not trying to run another play after Wilson got sacked approaching halftime was a level of surrender that I can’t support. Not hurrying up to run another play before the end of the 3rd quarter is not how you should act with limited possessions left in the game. They are too slow and when they fall behind, the plan to shorten the game falls apart.
Winning the game in the 4th quarter
Here’s a little secret: The Seahawks have never been this bad under Carroll/Wilson in 4th quarters. They are riding a -10 point differential, which is middle of the pack and would be the first time ever that the Carroll-era Seahawks have been outscored in final quarters over the course of a season. This explains a lot of the close games and blown leads (and nearly blown leads) we have seen this year. They are also in the negative in 1st quarters, so the Seahawks are starting and finishing poorly, which is a problem.
This was as limp a 4th quarter as I’ve seen the Seahawks have with a reasonable effort to try and win. It’s disappointing and concerning.
- It really sucks seeing Rashaad Penny turn the corner as a player and then go down with what is ruled an ACL sprain. That means more work for Chris Carson and probably a turn to Travis Homer and C.J. Prosise as the backups, and I’d rather see Homer get his shot.
- Josh Gordon needs more targets, especially with Lockett ineffective in recent weeks. Any NFL WR can have a good day if schemed properly, and Gordon is too talented to be having such limited looks.
- Pete Carroll not going for it on 4th and 1 from his own 40 in the 1st quarter was upsetting but not surprising. He trusts his defense to a fault and figures the 1st quarter is too early to go for it. The Rams were where Seattle punted from in a handful of snaps.
- The Seahawks were due for a blowout loss. They fell behind 20-6 to the Browns, 21-7 to the Buccaneers, and 27-7 to the Saints just this season. Seattle is a really good team that has played a lot of bad football this season, and you do not get away with that forever. Hopefully this is a reality check that no, these aren’t the 2012-2015 Seahawks, and they are going to have blowout defeats like this on occasion. You cannot rely on formulas from yesteryear with a worse roster.
- Seattle still can win the NFC West by winning out, but they have yet to play a truly complete game of football yet. They’ll have to be better to beat the 49ers again, because Kyle Shanahan can just as easily have this defense’s head spinning with his misdirection and motion plays, while Robert Saleh sicks his pass rushers on Russ.
- Oh joy. The Panthers are next. Even though they’re terrible, I dread the thought of even THIS one being a nailbiter down in Charlotte. I’ll just take a win of any sort, because the slight advantage they had on the NFC field was instantly thrown away on Sunday.