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Seahawks 20 Rams 9: Winners and Losers from a division clinching victory

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

What a win. What a win!

For every Seattle Seahawks game that has been needlessly close in the final few minutes, they actually made this one pretty damn easy at the end. When Jacob Hollister caught that touchdown, it was the knockout punch. Instead of letting the Los Angeles Rams get points and hope for an onside kick recovery, they shut Jared Goff down and kept them from even crossing midfield.

Let’s get to Winners and Losers for the penultimate regular season game.

Winners

Pete Carroll

We get on Carroll for his curious if not ruinous decisions on gameday. I’ve been pretty harsh on Carroll for the previous two seasons. I think we as fans often lose sight of the fact that head coaching is not a gameday only job. The Seahawks have experienced regular postseason appearances, a Super Bowl win, another Super Bowl appearance, and five division titles. I’ve found a lot of the vitriol towards Carroll to be a direct result of what happened at the end of XLIX. Who knows how the team looks as two-time champs compared to just the one? But when other potential forces have quickly faded out (see: Panthers, 49ers with Kaepernick), Seattle has remained relevant. Even the Packers and Saints have had multiple sub .500 years with future HOFers at QB after they won their respective Super Bowls. The worst football we’ve endured since 2012 is missing the playoffs at 9-7, and that might have been a blessing in disguise given how much better they are three years later.

Carroll is neither above criticism nor should we necessarily accept if the Seahawks never get to at least the NFC Championship Game again with Russ, but he has been instrumental in this nearly annual guarantee of January football. Building a contender is one thing, remaining a contender is really damn hard. Not everybody can be the Patriots or the Manning era Colts. The Seahawks are the next closest thing.

John Schneider

Quandre Diggs and Carlos Dunlap got here for peanuts. Masterful midseason dealing by Schneider. Jacob Hollister was traded for only a seventh-rounder. Russell Wilson... need I say more? The Jamal Adams trade figures to pan out in the long-term, but it’s the moves he makes during the season and in the later rounds of the draft that have consistently put Seattle in a position to win.

Ken Norton Jr

I advocated for Norton’s firing after last season and after the debacle against the Buffalo Bills. For the past several weeks and dating back to the 2nd half of the first Los Angeles Rams matchup, the defense has not been the problem. This is the most disciplined, assignment correct Seahawks defensive display I have seen under Norton without question. If there were busted coverages I didn’t see them. They shut down the Rams rushing attack to the tune of -0.27 EPA/play and only 17% of their carries resulting in first downs. Jared Goff was held to under five yards per attempt. It was a brilliant effort against a team that has given them fits every year Norton has been the DC. I’ve never seen the Seahawks soundly outscheme the McVay offense until today, and he deserves some praise for that. He’s seemingly figured something out and the quality of starters has received an upgrade through players returning from injury + the Carlos Dunlap trade.

Brian Schottenheimer’s 2nd half playcalling

Seattle had five offensive drives in the 2nd half. Two ended in touchdowns, another one ended in a punt after a penalty wiped out a successful third down conversion, another one was deep in their own territory, and the last one was victory formation. Against a tough Rams defense I’ll take that half any day of the week. There were some annoying 2nd and 10 runs throughout the day but I believe Schottenheimer found his play-calling groove and with it the execution was also on point. A major flip from last week’s conservative 2nd half that nearly squandered the 20-3 lead in Washington.

Jamal Adams

That was by far the best all-around game by Jamal Adams in his brief Seahawks career. His pursuit of Darrell Henderson saved a touchdown and then he saved a touchdown again two plays later when he tackled Malcolm Brown short of the end zone. He nearly had an interception and made several key tackles throughout the day and at least one of his blitzes hurried Goff into a failed third down conversion. Adams balled out and I couldn’t be any happier.

Ugo Amadi

He is the KJ Wright of the secondary. Amadi is the screen whisperer, an outstanding tackler, and a real quality nickel corner. Think of him as a more durable Walter Thurmond III mixed with the best of Justin Coleman. I’m blown away by his second year leap and none of this likely happens if Marquise Blair doesn’t get injured.

Quandre Diggs

Another day, another interception of Jared Goff. Four picks in four games against him in his career and he played center field once again thanks to such a shittastic toss.

Jordyn Brooks

Brooks was tremendous in run defense but especially down at the goal-line when LA was on the cusp of tying up the score. He seems to have tremendous instincts and his tackling and pursuit of ball carriers is mighty impressive. What a game from the first-round rookie whose selection initially raised eyebrows and baffled draft experts who have never seen a Seahawks draft before.

Alton Robinson

There was a blown up jet sweep to Robert Woods that Robinson snuffed out and turned into a TFL. That’s a damn good play and frankly I’m not sure if that wasn’t a better play than the sack he had on Goff in the 4th quarter. I know which play was more valuable but that’s nevertheless more positive contributions from this rookie class.

Jarran Reed

Did you know he has 6.5 sacks on the year? Maybe it’s me but I suspect the Dunlap trade has reinvigorated Reed as an interior rusher much in the same way he had his career year with Frank Clark.

Russell Wilson

I would not have put him on here after the opening half. Rather stupidly I said on Field Gulls Twitter that Wilson looked “absolutely broken” prior to halftime. I still think he looked pretty damn uninspired and hesitant but he settled down beautifully in the 2nd half and avoided any disastrous moments. No turnovers, two total touchdowns, and he finally hit a big play down the field to David Moore and it ignited the offense. He was more in rhythm on critical third down throws and didn’t force bad passes like he did on the opening throw of the game to Tyler Lockett. Against an elite defense, Wilson stepped up huge in the 2nd half along with the rest of the team.

Jacob Hollister

For reasons already stated.

DK Metcalf

Six catches for 59 yards is not a gaudy statline. Three of those catches turned into first downs on third down, while he had a 1st and 15 catch of 13 yards turn into a subsequent 2nd and 2 conversion for Chris Carson. He came up huge on the final touchdown drive by barreling over the Rams linebacker to keep the chains moving.

David Moore

Two weeks ago he dropped a dime from Russ that would’ve been a huge gain. Didn’t drop this one against a promising corner in Darious Williams. It was his only catch but it was a game-shifting one.

Jason Myers and Michael Dickson

They’re a packaged deal. Myers didn’t miss a kick and he even shared a tackle on a kick return with Shaquem Griffin. Dickson had five punts and four of them pinned the Rams inside their 20, while the other was fumbled and nearly recovered by Seattle. The Seahawks special teams turnaround has been a remarkable sight to see and it’s a major reason why they’re 11-4.

Losers

None

There were probably a couple of players who may have had some bad moments or didn’t play well but I’m in a happy mood. Ryan Neal, you’re spared this week for the roughing the punter! Jordan Simmons might have had some problems with stunts, I’m not that bothered right now! I’m not even mad at the refs for deciding Josh Reynolds gave himself up instead of a hilarious fumble. Celebrate!

Final Notes

  • Jared Goff’s season might be over because of that broken thumb. And if that’s the case the Rams might be in a spot where losing to the Cardinals and a Chicago Bears win over the Green Bay Packers puts them completely out of the playoffs, which is just nuts.
  • Cedric Ogbuehi seemed alright to me for a second straight week, which is again a sigh of relief given the horror show against the Eagles and the monstrous Rams front four.
  • Rashaad Penny is still clearly rusty and probably threw away a first down with one cut too many instead of driving forward. Give him some time to work his way into the offense.
  • It’s great to see Greg Olsen back on the field and he had a critical third down conversion that led to a field goal.
  • Get ready for Enemy Reaction, then get ready for 49ers week. The job isn’t done yet and the #1 seed, while unlikely, is still in reach! Even the #2 seed guarantees two home playoff games if you win your first one.