A night that began with such promise — the defense holding an explosive Rams team to a mere field goal in the first half — could hardly have ended more ominously.
With Russell Wilson standing on the sidelines with an injured finger, the Seahawks defense was run over time and again by the Rams, with the upshot being a 26-17 loss to Los Angeles that makes this season as critical a point of the Pete Carroll era as any since Wilson arrived in 2012.
Seattle is 2-3, has yet to win at home this year and has a banged up quarterback, a defense that has no answer and possibly a three-game deficit in the NFC West by the end of the weekend.
The schedule lightens from here. But if Wilson is out for any length of time, nothing can be taken for granted the rest of the way.
On to some grades.
Wilson threw his first interception of the season in the second quarter on a ball that appeared forced into Tyler Lockett, but he had Seattle poised for a momentum-turning drive at the end of the half before the penalty and missed field goal killed it. Geno Smith played well in his first real action as a Seahawk as one of the only bright spots on this night.
There was no Chris Carson because of his neck injury, and while Alex Collins had some nice moments, the running game never felt like a big factor, especially on the two failed attempts to get two yards from the Rams’ 29 in the first quarter. Seattle got just 59 yards on 20 carries from its running backs. Carson’s return is needed more than ever if Wilson is out for any time.
DK Metcalf had some real nice moments against Jalen Ramsey, and Tyler Lockett also did what he could, though he later lamented leaving some plays out on the field.
Lockett, who dealt with a hip injury last week, looked fresher than the 49ers game, drawing a defensive pass interference penalty for 47 yards in the second quarter along with five receptions for 57 yards and the TD that was called back.
Metcalf had two touchdowns and five catches for 98 yards. One of his TDs came on a 19-yarder against Ramsey in the second quarter.
Metcalf also reeled in a 25-yarder when he snuck behind Ramsey in the first quarter on a play when Wilson was flushed out of the pocket.
Not a lot here, though Will Dissly did have two catches for 29 yards.
Colby Parkinson continues to be a work in progress in the blocking game as an early failed attempt to block Leonard Floyd made clear. Wilson threw incomplete on the play, but a Rams holding penalty got Seattle a first down.
Carroll noted later that the pass protection was better than it often is against the Rams — Wilson was sacked twice and Smith was not sacked at all and there were just five QB hits.
Aaron Donald had one of the sacks and three QB hits, including the one on which Wilson was injured.
Still, the running game issues were noticeable.
The middle of the line, particularly guard Damien Lewis, got blown up when Seattle went for it on fourth-and-2 at the 29 in the first quarter. Collins was tackled for a loss of 1. That came a play after DeeJay Dallas got nothing on third down.
And Duane Brown had a critical holding call that negated a Wilson-to-Lockett TD pass in the second quarter.
Brandon Shell returned to the starting lineup at right tackle after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle.
There was some definite good early.
Al Woods had a key stop on a third-and-1 play to force the Rams to kick a field goal in the second quarter.
And Darrell Taylor had his fourth sack of the season.
But Stafford was sacked just once and hit just four times — granted, he’d only been sacked three times for the season coming into the game — with pressure disappearing as the game wore on. And the Rams ended up with 119 yards on 28 carries from their running backs.
A tough night here as the Rams feasted on throws over the middle. Bobby Wagner had just four tackles and no pass defenses on a night when Seattle needed some real impact in the middle of the field.
Jordyn Brooks had his struggles in pass protection — he got beat for a 25-yard completion to Robert Woods that helped set up the Rams’ first score as one example.
A really rough night here, especially for Jamal Adams.
Adams again did little as a rusher and had one big bust in coverage, unable to make the play on the 68-yard pass from Stafford to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter that helped turn the game around. The ball was underthrown and Jackson adjusted and got to the 12-yard line.
Adams was later beaten for a TD pass to Tyler Higbee, and the Rams obviously had little fear operating in the middle of the field.
As expected, Sidney Jones and D.J. Reed again got the starts at corner.
Reed had a pass defense on a play to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter but Seattle had just four for the game.
Quandre Diggs got his second interception in two games, picking off an unbelievably bad pass and decision by Stafford when he tried to throw it away in the back of the end zone under pressure on the second play of the second quarter.
But that was a rare highlight.
Ryan Neal again played as the “dime” back when Seattle went with six defensive backs, which it mostly saved for third-and-long plays early. But Seattle didn’t go dime much.
A tough day here, too.
Jason Myers missed a 35-yard field goal to end the first half, his second in a row after he had made 37 straight, a franchise record and tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history, a play that felt a lot more important than just three points.
Michael Dickson saved disaster when he scooped up his blocked punt in the third quarter and re-punted it for 68 yards. But the bigger picture is a breakdown that led to the block in the first place.