INGLEWOOD, Calif. — If you wanted the 2021 Seahawks season encapsulated in 60 minutes, you got it Tuesday night. 

If you wanted a game that reflected all of their flaws and foibles this year, SoFi Stadium was proud to play host. 

Assuming the Big Guy Upstairs isn’t rocking a 12 jersey, Seattle will miss the playoffs for just the second time in the past 11 seasons. And though you might be stewing in sadness or anger, at least you can say this — the Seahawks (5-9) have been nothing short of consistent. 

Comb through the nine losses Seattle has suffered this season, and you’ll find your share of themes: a stagnant offense, an underperforming quarterback, torturous third downs, a slew of face-palm-worthy penalties and a stalwart defense that went to waste. Each of those shortcomings was on display in Tuesday’s 20-10 loss to the Rams, and that has to be equally maddening to the players as it is their fans.

The Seahawks won’t be able to rest easy when they’re lying on beaches during the postseason next month. Just like they (almost certainly) were after Tuesday’s defeat, they’ll be harping on unforced errors that put a tombstone on this season. 

Take penalties, for one. You could argue flags against the Seahawks gave the Rams 13 points.


In the first quarter, Los Angeles (10-4) punted from its 42-yard line, only for Seattle defensive end Alton Robinson to run into the punter, which moved the ball up five yards and allowed Matt Gay to nail a 55-yard field-goal attempt. With the score tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter and the Rams facing a third and 12, Seahawks cornerback Bless Austin incurred a defensive-holding penalty at the line of scrimmage that gave the Rams a first down and set up a touchdown. Later in the quarter, Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny drew a false-start penalty on a third and 1, which led to a turnover on downs two plays later. And upon said turnover on downs, running back DeeJay Dallas was hit with an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for kicking the ball, giving the Rams prime field position to kick the dagger field goal. 

“Those plays, they (the Rams) didn’t do anything. We did that to ourselves,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “In those situations it was new guys. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most experienced guys that we’ve had around, it was new guys with us, and so maybe that’s just part of the newness.”

But quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t new. And just as he did in his first three games back from injury — all of which resulted in losses — he was largely ineffective against the Rams.

Wilson — who failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third time in the past six games — was one of 11 on attempts of 10 yards or more Tuesday. He missed on a throw to DK Metcalf on third-and-6 in the second quarter, which led to a punt. He missed on a throw on third-and-4 to Dee Eskridge in the third quarter, which led to a punt. And most egregiously, he underthrew a wide-open Metcalf late in the fourth quarter, which likely would have led to a game-tying touchdown had the pass been on target. 

“That was one I wish we could have had back,” said Wilson, who finished 17 of 31 for 156 yards and one interception.

The Seahawks, who are 29th in the NFL in third-down conversion percentage, converted just three of their 11 third downs Tuesday. The Seahawks, who are last in the league in time of possession, had the ball for less than 25 minutes.


And despite all that, the Seahawks defense — which entered the game fourth in the league in points allowed per game at 20.2 — held the Rams to 20. 

Sure, there were a bevy of Seahawks sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols — most notably leading receiver Tyler Lockett. And yes, there was a controversial no-call on a potential pass-interference penalty late in the game, which prompted Dallas to kick the football.

But the truth is, the Seahawks did little to show they deserved to win. They were simply outplayed. Again. 

This isn’t your typical cellar-dwelling squad. There hasn’t been a game this season in which the Seahawks didn’t have a chance going into the fourth quarter. How many 5-9 teams in history have a point differential of zero?

Stats such as that don’t matter, though. The Seahawks — barring a miracle — are done. 

After the game, Seattle tight end Gerald Everett said the team was trying to remain positive, but he admitted this was a tough loss. Unfortunately for this team, those are the only kind it knows.