Seahawks starting right guard D.J. Fluker departed Thursday night’s game against the Rams with a hamstring injury after Seattle’s second series and was listed as doubtful to return.
Fluker was replaced by second-year player Jamarco Jones, who is listed as a tackle but has been getting work at guard in practice, as well.
Jones, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2018, missed all of last season with an ankle injury and had seen action only on special teams in the first three games of this season.
But Jones has been elevated to a backup role the last few weeks with Ethan Pocic out with neck and mid-back injuries. Pocic was again inactive for Thursday’s game.
Thrown into the fire with Fluker’s injury, Jones played guard alongside right tackle Germain Ifedi as the Seahawks immediately moved 75 yards for a touchdown to take the lead 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
But he played through the rest of the first half with Fluker watching from the sidelines without his helmet.
Jones said later it was the first time he had played guard in a game at any level though he said he has gotten lots of work there in practice.
“He’s been preparing to do this,” Carroll said. “.. not a lot because he’s playing tackle all the time, too. He’s splitting time. But that’s a great illustration of him. … he got the job done in fantastic fashion.
Carroll defends fourth-down call
If there was one heavily debated call in the game it was Carroll’s decision not to go for it when Seattle had a fourth-and-one at the Rams’ 30 with under two minutes to go in the first half.
Carroll initially sent the offense on the field but changed his mind and then sent out the field goal team. The play came after Chris Carson was stopped for no gain on third-and-one.
Seattle went 1-4 on fourth downs against the Saints two weeks ago in a home loss and it was tempting to wonder if that influenced his decision.
But Carroll said it did not, saying instead he just wanted to add the three points there, thinking it was the best move for the long-term of the game.
“I was thinking we were going to win the football game,” Carroll said. “Keep making the decisions (thinking) you are going to win the football game. I just figured Jay (Jason Myers) is going to kick it in because he’s such a good kicker.”
Myers, though, missed the kick from 48 yards out and the Rams then drove for a touchdown that made it 14-13 at halftime.
Collier among Seahawks’ inactives
First-round pick L.J. Collier, a healthy scratch for the second time in three weeks, was among the Seahawks’ seven inactive players Thursday night. Collier played 20 snaps last week against Arizona in his most significant action as a Seahawk.
Coach Pete Carroll said Collier “did fine’’ but the Seahawks decided to go with just seven defensive linemen this week, in part due to keeping one more running back active.
“He did fine,’’ Carroll said of Collier. “He played about 20 plays and was active. Had a couple of nice plays; a nice tackle on a draw. Some good stuff.”
Among the active players was left tackle Duane Brown, who was listed as questionable for the game but had said after practice Wednesday that he would play. Running back Rashaad Penny was also active and after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Seattle’s other inactive players are receivers Gary Jennings and John Ursua, safeties Marquise Blair and Adrian Colbert, cornerback Akeem King and Pocic.
Pocic was the only one on the list who is dealing with an injury, listed as questionable for the game with a mid-back injury.
Blair was a healthy scratch for the second straight game meaning Seattle’s top two picks in the 2019 draft were healthy inactives (Collier and Blair).
Among the Rams inactives were two former UW standouts — safety Taylor Rapp and offensive lineman Coleman Shelton. Rapp is dealing with an ankle injury.
Homer again takes on up back role on punt team
Running back Travis Homer again worked as the up back, or personal protector, on the punt team, a role that had been held by Shaquem Griffin through the New Orleans game.
But after that loss the Seahawks made a change to going with Homer at that role against the Cardinals and kept with it for the Rams game.
Homer, a sixth-round pick out of Miami, has yet to play on offense this season but has become a valuable special teams member already — which was something the Seahawks mentioned when he was selected.
“He’s been just exactly what you wan out of a rookie guy, that makes the team, a lower pick, battles his way through camp, shows good stuff,’’ Carroll said this week. “He’s the leading effort guy in the special teams group. He just seems so consistently on, and it’s not all the tackles. Just his chase, and willingness. He’s doing a great job.”
Home came through with a tackle on the final punt of the game that pinned the Rams back at the 7.