The offense scored just once, the short-handed defense was outgunned and the special teams gave up too many big returns in the 42-7 loss.
The Seahawks know their obits are going to be written this week following a shocking 42-7 home defeat Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
That there will be talk that their time has come and gone.
And maybe history will indeed show that Sunday marked the end of an era, the way that Seattle’s 42-13 victory over a Super Bowl-bound 49ers team almost five years ago seemed to mark the moment the Pete Carroll-era Seahawks truly arrived.
Defensive lineman Michael Bennett said it’s up to the Seattle players to force a rewrite of those narratives.
“There’s nobody else to keep us accountable but the people who played in the game,’’ Bennett said. “It’s not the fans, it’s not the media. It’s just us.’’
Whether that will be enough is the storyline for the final two weeks.
As for Sunday, there was nothing but failure all the way around.
You knew the banged-up defense might have issues with the highflying Rams. But the hope was that Seattle could take some advantage of a Rams’ defense that came in ranked 18th in the NFL overall and 28th against the run.
No such luck as Seattle rushed for just 78 yards, and only 21 on eight attempts in the first half.
Instead, Seattle lost a fumble on its first possession, then went three-and-out on the next two, and had either a turnover or a punt on its first nine possessions overall — seven punts and two fumbles.
None of Seattle’s first nine drives gained more than 25 yards with four of the first six resulting in negative yards.
In other words, complete domination by the Rams, especially with their defensive line against an offensive front that Seattle has hoped was improving.
Germain Ifedi had two more penalties. Duane Brown struggled as much as he has at any point in his time with the Seahawks and was called for two early holding penalties and beaten badly a few times by Robert Quinn, who had two sacks.
And the middle of Seattle’s line was just brutalized by Aaron Donald, who had three sacks.
The analytic site Pro Football Focus placed much of the blame on left guard Luke Joeckel judging that he allowed two sacks, two quarterback hits and three hurries.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he knew the Rams’ pass rush would be a challenge but said, “I really thought that we would do better.’’
Given all of that, the Seahawks were going to need the best game possible from Russell Wilson.
But they didn’t get it as he was off target on a few key early throws, including badly missing Doug Baldwin deep when it was just 6-0.
That throw typified a game in which Seattle had trouble getting the ball to its best targets — Baldwin had just one catch for 6 yards, his fewest yards in a game since 2014, while tight end Jimmy Graham had just one catch for minus-1 yard and Paul Richardson just two catches for 18 yards. Combined, they had just four catches for 23 yards on 14 of Wilson’s 27 targets.
You knew it’d probably be a tough day for the defense without four Pro Bowl players and a fifth — Bobby Wagner — playing visibly beat up.
But this was still shocking as the Rams gained 238 yards in the first half alone with Todd Gurley rushing for 144 on 16 carries, including the stunning 57-yard touchdown at the end of the first half.
Carroll said later it wasn’t just not having K.J. Wright at all and a beat-up Wagner, but also that they weren’t on the field all week during practice to help organize things.
“The fact that he and K.J. weren’t there all week long, that affects us,’’ Carroll said. “We haven’t been like that for six years. That may be as obvious an issue as anything.’’
Carroll said later tackling was the biggest physical issue, noting that there was one play on which Seattle missed three tackles alone. According to Pro Football Focus Seattle missed nine tackles, a season high.
Despite how the score might have made it appear, it wasn’t as if no one was trying.
Earl Thomas pulled off one his more amazing missle-like dashes to the sideline to stop an early Rams threat and force a field goal.
And Wagner stood up Gurley on a third-and-one in the second quarter that led to an interception.
But what has become obvious is that there is simply a huge gap in talent between the front-line players who have carried the Seahawks since the team’s rise in 2011 and those who are behind them.
Seattle has not drafted a defensive player who has made the Pro Bowl since 2012 and that showed up huge Sunday.
Most worrisome, though, might be that the Seahawks again had trouble getting to the quarterback. Seattle had two sacks, but those were the only two quarterback hits of the game and Seahawks have just three in the past two games combined.
Los Angeles came into the game billed as having the best special teams in the NFL and illustrated why throughout the game.
Seattle fans will complain that there were a few penalties for blocks in the back that were missed on the two long punt returns. But Seattle also missed tackles on each of Pharoh Cooper’s early long returns — of 53 and 26 yards — when it also just seemed as if the Rams were the faster team.
Seattle, meanwhile, got nothing out of its return game as the Seahawks didn’t begin any possession outside its own 25 in the first half other than when the Rams kicked the ball out of bounds.