This wasn't just the Seahawks' worst home loss of the year — it was the second-worst defeat at home in team history.
This was billed as the biggest game of the year for the Seahawks, with the NFC West title and their playoff hopes hanging in the balance.
It turned out to be Seattle’s biggest loss of the year, as the Los Angeles Rams thumped them 42-7 to hand the Seahawks their worst loss at home since Week 1 of the 1997 season, when the Jets beat them 41-3. This also marked the first time since 2010 that Seattle has allowed 40 points in a game.
What went wrong? Everything. Here are three impressions from the game.
1. The Seahawks are no longer the kings of the NFC West
With the win, the Los Angeles Rams improved to 10-4, and are all but guaranteed to clinch the NFC West division title.
Consequently, the Seahawks dropped to 8-6 and put a significant dent in their playoff hopes – especially with the Saints (10-4) and Panthers (10-4) both winning Sunday. If the Seahawks want to make the playoffs, they now have to win out against Dallas (with tailback Ezekiel Elliott back in the lineup) next week, and Arizona on New Year’s Eve, pray that the Falcons lose to the Bucs on Monday, and hope the Rams stumble in their last two games.
Regardless, Sunday’s game showed that the Rams are now the class of the NFC West. This is a complete football team that doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. Quarterback Jared Goff has blossomed in his sophomore season, and the Rams have surrounded him with ample talent in tailback Todd Gurley and receivers Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp.
On defense, Aaron Donald, Conor Barwin and Robert Quinn ran over the Seahawks’ offensive line and rendered Russell Wilson ineffective, while cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safeties Nickell Robey-Coleman and rookie John Johnson III held things down on the back end.
2. After weathering injuries all season, this was the game that broke the Seahawks defense
All season long, Seattle’s defense has hung on, pulling together and patching holes despite losing star after star. The Seahawks weathered through losing defensive end Cliff Avril, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor to season-ending injuries.
But against the Rams Sunday, it became clear that defensively, Seattle finally broke.
K.J. Wright sat out the Rams game due to a concussion sustained last week against Jacksonville, and with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner visibly hampered by the hamstring injury that kept him out of practice this week, Seattle’s defense was no match for a relentless Rams offense led by running back Todd Gurley.
Gurley had his way with the Seattle defense, rushing 30 times for 144 yards and three touchdowns – in the first half.
Perhaps the play that epitomized how badly the Seahawks caved to Los Angeles defensively came at the end of the second quarter, when, on third-and-20 from the 43, Gurley picked his way through the entire Seahawks’ defense for a 57-yard touchdown run that put the Rams up 34-0.
Gurley picked up where he’d left off in the second half, catching a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to put the Rams up 40-0 early in the third quarter. Thereafter, with the game in hand, the Rams pulled Gurley and Malcolm Brown got to take his turn running through Seattle’s defense.
3. About all that talk of Seattle’s improved offensive line? Never mind
Seattle’s offensive line has looked a little better in recent weeks since the team acquired Duane Brown in a trade with Houston, and Luke Joeckel rejoined the line at left guard after knee surgery.
Seattle allowed two sacks in each of its last two games, and none against San Francisco. But against the Rams, they gave up a season-high seven sacks, with Donald accounting for three, and Quinn for two. The Rams also had nine quarterback hits, with four coming from Donald and two from Barwin.
The Rams’ seven sacks on Wilson are equal to the number of sacks Seattle has given up in its last four games combined.