NFC wild-card game
Final: Rams 30, Seahawks 20
1:40 p.m. | Lumen Field | Seattle
TV: FOX | Radio: 710 AM/97.3 FM | Stream: NFL Game Pass
- Well, what can we say about the Seahawks offense? Oh, hey, it converted a third down! It’s true: On third-and-1 late in the third quarter, Chris Carson gained two yards to pick up a first down — the Seahawks’ first third-down conversion of the game, after starting 0 for 8.
Other than that? No, there’s not many positives out of this offense right now. On the same drive in which they converted that third down, Russell Wilson nearly threw two terrible interceptions — the first on what-are-you-thinking, no-look throw, and the second on a short pass on third-and-24. Both fell incomplete, and the Seahawks offense continues to fall flat.
- Aaron Donald is out because of rib injury. The star defensive lineman — the favorite to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time — immediately grabbed his midsection after a hit on Russell Wilson early in the third quarter. Donald left the field with trainers and headed to the Rams locker room. He briefly returned to the sideline but headed back to the locker room at the end of the third quarter.
- Where would the Seahawks defense be without D.J. Reed? He’s been a revelation at right cornerback for Seattle this season, and his 58-yard kickoff return set up Jason Myers’ 52-yard field goal. That cut Seattle’s deficit to 20-13 with 13:45 left in the third quarter — and that’s where we stand heading into the fourth.
Can Seahawks recover from pick-six?
Russell Wilson’s interception returned for a touchdown by the Rams' Darious Williams obviously was the key play in the first half, allowing Los Angeles to take a lead and gain momentum en route to a 20-10 halftime lead.
Wilson had a career-high 13 picks this year but couldn’t really be blamed for that one, which came on a quick pass that usually is pretty safe.
Still, turnovers are the key to so many games, and it now has Seattle playing catch-up.
The Seahawks won every game this season in which they had one turnover or fewer. They lost every game in which they had two or more.
Akers making a difference
The Rams gained 118 yards rushing against Seattle on Dec. 27. But it didn’t seem as if the running game made a huge impact with the Seahawks getting some key stops when they needed.
But rookie Cam Akers did not play in that game due to injury.
He is back today and making a huge difference with 97 yards on 19 carries in the first half, including a 5-yard touchdown run for L.A.’s first offensive touchdown against Seattle in seven quarters.
Akers also benefitted from a huge hole created by the line that blew open a lane between Rasheem Green and Bryan Mone.
Seattle must stop the run in the second half and force Jared Goff to do more to have a chance.
Clock management 101
Seattle might liked to have had one more timeout there during the confusing final moments of first half.
Instead Seattle got charged with one when coach Pete Carroll made a somewhat questionable challenge, whether Goff had passed the line of scrimmage on a throw.
Carroll might argue it was worth the risk to nullify a big play, and that the Rams would have played things more conservatively had they known Seattle had more timeouts at the end.
Still, it seemed emblematic of a rough first half for Seattle.
- The Rams maintained their QB secret up until about 20 minutes before kickoff, when it was revealed that John Wolford would get the start — just the second of his NFL career.
It didn’t last long.
Wolford left the game at the 5:34 mark of the first quarter after taking a hit from Seahawks safety Jamal Adams. Wolford was diving forward near the line of scrimmage on a designed QB run when he took the hit from Adams’ shoulder. Wolford stayed down for several minutes, then walked with trainers directly to the locker room with what was described as a neck injury.
Jared Goff took Wolford’s place, just 12 days after having surgery on his right thumb. The Seahawks sacked Goff on his first drop back — and the Rams settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Rams don’t have another active QB on their roster today.
- Aaron Donald is a monster. You’ve heard that before, and the Seahawks are very much aware of that. Donald had two sacks on the Seahawks’ disastrous second drive, which started with a holding penalty and was followed by a false start — meaning a first-and-25 start with their backs up against their own end zone. So, no, that drive did not end well, and the Seahawks offense so far has been, well, not well at all.
- DK, please. Throw the ball to DK Metcalf, please. That is all.
Rashaad Penny inactive after being declared questionable
Among the Seahawks' six inactive players for Saturday's wild-card playoff game against the Rams is running back Rashaad Penny, who was downgraded to questionable Friday because of a knee injury.
Penny returned from ACL surgery to play the final three regular-season games, including 28 snaps against the 49ers last Sunday, a game in which he left late due to cramps.
Penny was listed as limited in practice Thursday, the first indication of a possible issue, but was not added to the game-status report until Friday.
The Seahawks elevated Alex Collins from the practice squad Friday, and he will serve as the third running back behind Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. The Seahawks also made rookie DeeJay Dallas inactive, though he practiced all week.
Seattle’s other inactives were offensive tackle Chad Wheeler, cornerback Linden Stephens and tight ends Luke Willson and Colby Parkinson.
As expected, cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique) are active and will play.
Before the game, the Seahawks also placed reserve defensive end Jonathan Bullard on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and elevated defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore to take his place on the active roster.
Lattimore is an undrafted rookie free agent from Iowa who has been on the practice squad all season. He has not been active for a game.
Bullard, claimed off waivers from Arizona in October, has played in six games this year with eight tackles.
It was not immediately known if Bullard tested positive or was a close contact.
Seahawks declare Rashaad Penny questionable, elevate Alex Collins off practice squad
The Seahawks on Friday downgraded running back Rashaad Penny to questionable for Saturday’s wild-card playoff against the Rams because of a knee injury, and they elevated Alex Collins from the practice squad.
Penny has played in the past three games since returning from an ACL injury suffered Dec. 8, 2019. He left late in Sunday’s win over the 49ers after suffering cramps.
Penny was listed as limited in practice Thursday because of a knee issue but had not been added to the game-status report. That seemed to indicate he might be getting a rest day.
What to watch for when the Seahawks play the Rams on Saturday
For the fourth time in franchise history, the Seahawks will face a team in the playoffs that they split with during the regular season when they host the Los Angeles Rams in a wild-card game Saturday.
And if you’re looking for good omens, Seattle won the rubber match each time — Denver in 1983, the Raiders in 1984 and the 49ers in 2013.
You want another good omen?
Seattle has never lost a home playoff game under coach Pete Carroll, going 6-0 and winning by an average of 9.8 points.
Here are some keys to Saturday’s game at Lumen Field.
Seahawks offense healthy but faces challenge in wild-card game vs. ‘really good’ Rams defense
Through the first weeks of the 2020 season, as the Seahawks took their initial steps toward clinching a playoff berth, it was impossible to imagine the biggest concern about the team entering the postseason might be the offense.
But that’s where things stand after a season that defined the term “doing a 180.”
The Seahawks had the NFL’s best offense and a historically bad defense in the first half. That evolved into a defense that allowed fewer points than any other team in the second half, and it devolved into an offense that, if not sputtering, suddenly spent a lot more time in neutral.
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