A sampling of national-media reaction following the Seahawks' upset 23-17 loss at home to the Rams on Sunday.
So much for cruising into the playoffs on an upswing.
The Seahawks had a “day you want to forget,” in Pete Carroll’s words, on Sunday. The 23-17 loss to the Rams was certainly surprising in the wake of a five-game winning streak in which the offense looked unstoppable. But at the same time, it looked a lot like the early-season Seahawks, as quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked four times and hit 13 times by a revved-up Rams defensive line. The running game also struggled, making some wonder how quickly Marshawn Lynch can get back in the mix.
And it would be easy to chalk it up to one bad day, especially with Seattle already in the playoffs. The problem is, the loss dropped the Seahawks behind the Vikings in the wild-card race (they are seeded sixth in the current playoff picture). As Bob Condotta explains, Seattle went from likely having a favorable matchup against NFC East champion Washington as the first wild-card team to possibly being locked into the sixth and final playoff spot regardless of what it does on the road against Arizona if Minnesota beats Green Bay on Sunday night.
As usual, there was plenty to chew on for the national media. Here’s a sampling:
MMQB’s Peter King, who said “if I were Pete Carroll, I’d consider having a fumble-recovery drill at practice this week,” praised Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
“Playing against the hottest quarterback in football, and playing in front of the toughest home crowd in the league, Williams’ game plan penned in Russell Wilson and held the Seahawks to 10 points and 275 total yards in the first 58 minutes of a (23-17) victory at St. Louis.”
Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated noticed a familiar problem flaring up again:
“In the grand scheme of the NFL playoff picture all of this means, well, not much. But while it’s easy to say that there’s no reason for the Seahawks to panic as they head into the season’s final week, the reality is there is one reason for them to be concerned, and it’s not a new issue, but a season-long one: their offensive line.”
ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia also ruminated on the offensive line’s troubles:
“Too often, the Seahawks lost their battles up front. Wilson took four sacks and was hit 13 times. Because of the pressure, the offense never found a rhythm, and the Seahawks lost for the first time since Week 9, dropping their record to 9-6 on the season. This was the first game all year in which the Seahawks did not have a lead in the fourth quarter.”
In a separate story, Kapadia wrote about three factors that could keep the Seahawks out of the Super Bowl, including going up against elite quarterbacks:
“Case Keenum threw for only 103 yards. He wasn’t the reason the Seahawks lost Sunday. But earlier in the season, the Seahawks had issues against quarterbacks like Arizona’s Carson Palmer and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers had success against the Hawks’ defense, and Carolina’s Cam Newton put together three drives of 80 yards in the fourth quarter vs. Seattle. Overall, the defensive statistics for the Seahawks are impressive, but there are some holes that can be exploited. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Seahawks have allowed seven touchdowns of 25-plus (air) yards on the season. That’s third-most in the NFL and the most they’ve allowed in a season since 2008.”
John Breech of CBSSports.com gave the Seahawks a “D” for their efforts on Sunday:
“Russell Wilson better give Marshawn Lynch some of the recovery water because the Seahawks need Beast Mode back ASAP. The Seahawks’ ability to run well is part of the reason their offense so effective, something that was pretty clear on Sunday. The Seahawks only ran for 60 yards in the game, marking just the ninth time in the Pete Carroll-era that the Seahawks have rushed for 60 or fewer yards in a game. The Seahawks are 2-7 in those games.”
NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling said the running game without Marshawn Lynch is becoming problematic:
“A few weeks back, Seahawks fans were wondering how Marshawn Lynch would fit into the offense once he returns from groin surgery. With rookie star Thomas Rawls out for the season, Seattle’s backfield of Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Christine Michael and fullback Will Tukuafu combined for just 21 yards and a costly lost fumble on 16 carries (1.3 YPC) Sunday. Lynch can’t get back soon enough for a Seattle squad that has already clinched a playoff berth.”
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner blog listed the Seahawks as one of its losers of the week:
“It’s possible Sunday’s loss to the Rams was just a team that knew it didn’t have a ton to play for and is just biding its time for when games really matter. After you’ve played in two straight Super Bowls, it’s not that easy to get up for every regular-season game. Still, losing to the Rams at home as double-digit favorites isn’t the best thing for momentum, if you believe in that. The Seahawks didn’t look sharp. The line didn’t protect Russell Wilson well. A fumble was returned by the Rams’ defense for a touchdown. Seattle had no running game, with 26 yards on 15 carries by tailbacks. That’s troubling, because nobody can be sure if or when Marshawn Lynch will return. Maybe it’s nothing at all to be concerned about, but for a week it seems like the notion that the Seahawks are the secret team to beat in the NFC might have been a bit premature.”
The Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer pointed out a potential scheduling quirk involving the Seahawks:
“Seattle had won five in a row and was one of the NFL’s hotter teams, but never got on track against the Rams, who have assembled a three-game winning streak of their own. The Seahawks had held a lead in 62 consecutive games — an NFL record — but failed to do that this time. It was the Rams’ first season sweep of Seattle since 2004. … Arizona plays host to Seattle in its regular-season finale. It’s entirely possible that, counting Sunday’s victory and looking ahead to the playoffs, the Cardinals could have a four-game homestand that goes Green Bay, Seattle, Green Bay, Seattle.”
Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Rams’ win was fun but it’s just another maddening tease:
“The Rams’ rain-soaked ransack of a win did indeed rouse — but really, it was a ruse. They’ll win at San Francisco next Sunday and finish 8-8, but is this really a team on the cusp? The Rams have too many issues, notably under center, to think Sunday’s win at Seattle was a harbinger. Instead, it was what it was — a fun, funky and wacky win against the hottest team in football, a random outcome thanks to the most-random of standouts. Akeem Ayers. William Hayes. Tim Barnes. I mean, Tim Barnes got the game ball! But this season is just like all the others under fourth-year coach Jeff Fisher, who has finished 7-8-1, 7-9 and 6-10 for the Rams. They’re stuck.”