There will be things to pick over later from Seattle’s 30-29 win over the Rams on Thursday night.
There always are in any NFL game. And had Greg Zuerlein’s 44-yard field-goal attempt stayed the course, the Seahawks might have been left merely picking up the pieces of one of the most heartbreaking losses in recent memory.
But, as the Seahawks were happy to point out later, the kick somehow just kept drifting.
And the way coach Pete Carroll saw it, maybe the Seahawks deserved a little magic for the way they played throughout the game.
“This is such a good team to be coaching, I’m telling you,’’ Carroll said. “It’s a fantastic bunch.’’
It’s a bunch that, for now, is 4-1 with a chance to be in first place in the NFC West by the end of the weekend.
On to some grades.
Russell Wilson was simply amazing.
The highest-paid player in the NFL again proved his worth with an almost flawless night and now has a 12-t0-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Seattle needed every play he made to hold on.
“What he does is phenomenal,’’ linebacker K.J. Wright said. “It never gets old. You can’t take that stuff for granted.’’
Barely 96 hours after a punishing game at Arizona, Chris Carson came out and again just dealt blow after blow, finishing with 118 yards on 27 carries and the winning TD on the heart-attack-inducing bobbling catch.
“Isn’t it great we didn’t give up on him?’’ Carroll said later, referring to Carson’s fumble issues earlier this season. It was a question that didn’t need an answer.
Tyler Lockett had a stunning TD catch early and four receptions on four targets for 51 yards.
DK Metcalf, quiet last week in the desert, seemed to line up in a few different spots and got hugely open on a 40-yard TD early.
And David Moore got in the act with his first TD of the year.
If there was a quibble, Jaron Brown had an early fumble that at least turned into only three points and also appeared to be caught off-guard that Wilson threw it to him on a third-down play early in the fourth quarter that fell incomplete. Wilson seemed to throw it where he thought Brown might be if he kept running.
Will Dissly’s march to the Pro Bowl continued with four catches for 81 yards.
Luke Willson seemed to play a lot more in the second game of his return and had a 10-yard catch.
Wilson improvised as much as he’s ever had to, evidence of the way the Rams’ defensive line was often having its way up front. The line had some struggles in a few short-yardage situations and Mike Iupati had a costly hold on third-and-seven that helped force Seattle to settle for a field goal in the fourth quarter.
But the line also had to play most of the game with Jamarco Jones seeing his first career action at right guard in place of injured D.J. Fluker. Give Jones — who said he’s played a lot of guard in practice but had never done so in a game — an A for effort alone in having to go against the likes of Aaron Donald in his first NFL action and helping the Seahawks score 30 points.
“Really proud of Jamarco’s effort tonight,” Carroll said.
Seattle needs to get more from its four-man pass rush. The Seahawks had to do a lot of blitzing on those final two Rams series — finishing without a sack for the second time in three games. Even Carroll conceded that later. “We didn’t pressure them as much as we would like but we threw it (blitzes) at them,” Carroll said. “(Defensive coordinator) Kenny (Norton) did a great job calling stuff tonight to give us a chance.”
But after giving up some rushing yards early, the Seahawks allowed just 82 yards on 18 carries, and that hardly seemed like a factor at the end.
And there were some incredible individual efforts that made up for whatever the line sometimes didn’t do collectively. Quinton Jefferson had two QB hits in the first 20 minutes, Jadeveon Clowney was credited with a forced fumble and had two quarterback hits, and Branden Jackson made what might have been a touchdown-saving play when he fought off a block and sniffed out a screen pass to Robert Woods in the fourth quarter, which helped force the Rams to have to settle for a field goal and a 29-24 lead.
And then there was Al Woods, who had a game-turning play with his tackle of Jared Goff on the two-point play. “What a great tackle,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks again played mostly with their base defense and that at times might have caught up to them a little bit. But there were also some big plays, such as Bobby Wagner’s teaming for a forced fumble. And credit all the linebackers for keeping Todd Gurley in check after it looked for a little while early like he might have a really big game. Gurley had 38 yards on nine carries in the first half and finished with just 51 on 15.
It was good early. It got a little shaky later as the Rams passed for 395 yards. And had Greg Zuerlein’s kick gone through there would be a lot of consternation about the pass rush and the secondary.
But credit Tedric Thompson for the huge interception on the second-to-last drive. And while the Rams had their share of sizable gains, there were no easy touchdowns. L.A. having to work for everything proved big at the end.
Jason Myers missed his second field goal of the season, a 48-yarder near the end of the first half that helped turn the tide of the game for a while. Instead of being up 17-6 late in the first half the Rams got decent field position and then drove for a TD to make it 14-13 at halftime.
Michael Dickson had a really well-placed punt downed by Ugo Amadi at the 1 early in the third quarter that helped turn the tide back to Seattle and then another that pinned the Rams back at the 7 on the final drive with a really nice tackle by Travis Homer.
And Seattle ultimately got the better of the missed field-goal battle.