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Rams 30 Seahawks 20: Winners and Losers from a frustratingly bad Wild Card defeat

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Well that was bad. It was every possible bad thing for the Seattle Seahawks rolled into one against the Los Angeles Rams.

The tide is not turning. Sean McVay owns Pete Carroll. Through three games, Brandon Staley owned Brian Schottenheimer. The Rams are a better football team than the Seahawks. I didn’t say they had a better quarterback, but the team is better. They may have the best defense in football. And they stifled the ever-loving shit out of Russell Wilson and company. Again.

One more Winners and Losers to wrap up the season, which was successful in the regular season and catastrophic in the postseason, making it a failure as a whole. It’s going to be a little shorter because I’ve done 90 minutes of podcast recording consecutively, including the one below with Kenneth Arthur:

Winners

Jason Myers

He didn’t make the All-Pro. I think that’s totally fine. He didn’t kick a lot of field goals and he rarely attempted long ones. Younghoe Koo had an even more impressive season and missed out because of a Justin Tucker reputation pick. But god damn if he wasn’t one of the best players on the field, which was part of the problem. He made his two field goals and two extra points and had an open-field tackle on what could’ve been a massive kick return in the 2nd half. Myers was great in 2020-21.

Bobby Wagner

Playing through whatever injury he had in the 2nd quarter, Wagner had 16 total tackles (not empty calorie tackles either) with a sack and a TFL. He’s been the one constant in this Seahawks defense throughout the Russell Wilson era and while he’s not at his peak powers he’s still one of the best in the business.

Jarran Reed

Two sacks and three tackles for loss on a day when the Seattle defensive line underwhelmed. Reed shined and looked a lot closer to his 2018 form than the 2019 no-show.

DK Metcalf

Hell I’m not even sure he should be on here but I have a low entry barrier for this. I am a bit alarmed at Metcalf’s recent sideline outbursts but he’s a young’un with a big personality and the offense was stinking up the joint. Hopefully that interception was not Seattle force-feeding him the ball for no good reason to the detriment of the gameplan. But he ultimately had most of Seattle’s receiving yards and both touchdowns, and should’ve had a third if not for Russell overthrowing him on a 3rd down bomb. The drops need to be fixed, though. That’s wearing thin at this point and he has to be a better hands catcher.

Losers

The entire coaching staff

Every single one. This team was horribly unprepared against a team they beat two weeks ago. Pete Carroll’s clock management was once again a disaster, as was his use of the first-half challenge on the Cam Akers 44-yard catch-and-run, and in his conservative decisions on 4th down. Brian Schottenheimer got thoroughly outschemed by Brandon Staley and holy shit how many runs on impossibly long yardage situations did he call? How many 3rd down plays with routes run short of the sticks? How many effective quick passes (not that screen that got pick-sixed) were called? Even for Larry Izzo, this ST unit was a net negative given the fumbled punt return, a big kick return allowed, a silly penalty by Damarious Randall, and even a couple of shanks from Michael Dickson. As for Ken Norton Jr, I think the defense was fine but the run defense collapsing led to the collapse of the gameplan. The one safety valve for the Rams offense was getting an effective rushing attack and they allowed it to happen.

Complete organizational failure.

Russell Wilson

Awful. He was awful. And he’s been mediocre if not downright bad since the first Rams game in totality. His EPA/play has literally been worse than Drew Lock since Week 10. While the coaching staff has its own responsibility in the way this offense operates, Wilson has to be culpable. The pick-six isn’t on him but he should’ve had at least two more picks on the afternoon. His accuracy, decision-making, declined athleticism, the double-clutching, the panicked footwork, it’s all worrisome. Wilson has had bad stretches of play but never this bad.

I’ll have a deeper dive into Wilson’s long-term future with the team (no this does not mean I’m advocating Seattle move on from Russ) next week but let’s just say that the Seahawks really need to think long-term about life after Russ. It ain’t that far away. He’s going to be 33 this year and he’s taken an absolute beating throughout his career. Wilson might say he wants to play into his 40s but Father Time may disagree. The season started with Let Russ Cook and ended with a grease fire in the kitchen that Wilson had a major hand in igniting.

We have often just blasted the coaching staff and both OCs for holding Wilson back without ever giving it a thought that the flaws in his otherwise outstanding game are part of the reason why this offense has literally never strung together a high-level of consistency. And do not give me 2015 because I will gladly point you to Weeks 1-9 of that year. It may be something we have to live with for better or worse.

Offensive Line

Wow they were bad. Ethan Pocic and Mike Iupati especially. Iupati looked every bit like an oft-injured 33-year-old and Pocic was getting bulldozed like Joey Hunt and snapping it like Steve Vallos. Seattle really has no choice but to really be proactive about the left side of the line with Duane Brown up there in age and battling knee issues all year, while Iupati shouldn’t be re-signed and Jordan Simmons has shown little ability to consistently stay healthy.

Jacob Hollister

The dude won Seattle the NFC West but he’s not a real TE. He is not a good enough blocker to be one and it’s his gaffe on 3rd and 1 that led to Carlos Hyde getting stonewalled. Add in the five targets for no catches and a drop and it was a rotten day for him. Will Dissly wasn’t any better but I’ll make Hollister the focus of my disappointment.

Jamal Adams

It’s cruel to put him on here given the injury he played through was a freaking torn labrum, but I have to because he was today what Quinton Dunbar was in the Buffalo Bills game. Adams shouldn’t have been out there but I know it’s so hard to turn that down when you’ve never made the playoffs before. He’s a fiery competitor and I love that about him, but even with the three passes defensed he was a net negative by playing at not even 60%. It was hard to watch. The bad outweighed the good and Ryan Neal should’ve assumed a lot more snaps. This ultimately circles back to the coaching staff. I feel sorry for Adams and can’t wait to see him next season, but this one was rough.

DJ Reed

Yeah. The fumble on the punt return was the dagger and therefore undoes his excellent 2nd half kick return and his performance on defense. Just can’t have any mistakes with the game still in the balance and he made one.

Other Notes

  • I’m spent. I have no other notes. I’ve left out a ton but it’s not like you want to bury yourself in this much longer. Thanks for reading us every day. It’s my first full season managing Field Gulls and starting next week I’ll be back in the swing covering 40+ UFC shows over the rest of the year. We hope the staff gave you the quality content and elite shitposting you’ve come to expect from us.
  • Rasheem Green, Troy Aikman. Not Raheem, god dammit. (I lied, I did have a note)