‘We were kicking the ball to a certain area and we didn’t hit it right,’ said coach Pete Carroll. ‘As simple as that.’
ST. LOUIS — For an instant, it appeared that maybe trying to out-Ram the Rams had backfired on the Seahawks.
The Rams, recall, used trick special-teams plays to beat the Seahawks in games here in 2012 and 2014.
So when a Seahawks onside kick to start overtime failed and the Rams used the good field position to drive for what turned out to be the winning field goal in a 34-31 overtime victory, some might have wondered if the Seahawks had gotten too tricky themselves.
SEAHAWKS AT RAMS »
Turns out, though, the onside kick was not as it appeared.
Coach Pete Carroll and several players explained that kicker Steven Hauschka was supposed to bloop the ball to about the 15-yard-line or so, with the hope that one of the Rams players other than returner Isaiah Pead might have to handle the ball. At best, maybe a fumble or a loose ball that the Seahawks could recover. At the least, no return — or a short one — to pin the Rams deep.
Instead, Hauschka did not kick the ball correctly and it went about 15 yards, where it was recovered by the Rams at the Seattle 49.
“We were kicking the ball to a certain area of the field, and we didn’t hit it right,’’ Carroll said. “As simple as that.’’
Said Hauschka: “The result wasn’t planned there. I mis-hit the kick. We were supposed to kick it down field farther but I mis-hit it. So yeah, I take responsibility on that.’’
Hauschka almost got bailed out when the officials initially ruled that the Rams could not call fair catch if the kick hit the ground first, as is common with onside attempts. But upon review, it was clear the ball did not hit the ground first and so the Rams got to keep it.
Had Seattle recovered, it would have been regarded as a failed possession for the Rams and the Seahawks could have won the game by kicking a field goal.
Thomas’ shoulder holds up
Safety Earl Thomas said his shoulder felt pretty good after playing against the Rams.
Thomas made his first tackle — or even his first real contact with another player — for the first time since the Super Bowl last season. He had offseason surgery on his shoulder and wasn’t able to play in any exhibition games.
Thomas forced a fumble against the Rams and led the Seahawks with nine tackles.
“I was just happy with the outcome with how my shoulder held up,” Thomas said. “My rehab is paying off. They’re doing a great job with me.”
Sherman tries new role
The Seahawks rolled out a new look for their secondary: In passing situations, the Seahawks brought in DeShawn Shead as their third cornerback and lined him up outside with Cary Williams.
That meant Richard Sherman slid inside to play in the slot, the spot usually reserved for Seattle’s nickel cornerback. Byron Maxwell did the same thing last year.
“We just tried to mix it up a little bit today,” Sherman said. “We mixed up some coverages. We gave us some good players, gave us some good opportunities, and it worked out for the most part.”
Seahawks defensive players pointed to a number of issues that popped up against the Rams:
• Missed tackles. The official number of missed tackles won’t come out until later, but the eye test told the story. The Seahawks missed too many tackles against the Rams.
“We did some good things,” defensive end Cliff Avril said. “But it wasn’t like us from the standpoint of we all think we missed some tackles.”
• Explosive plays. In the passing game, the Seahawks allowed seven completions of at least 20 yards. The Seahawks allowed only 32 passing plays of at least 20 yards all of last season.
“It felt like we gave up the most explosive plays that we’ve given up since I’ve been here,” Avril said.
• Third-and-long. Two in particular stood out. In the first quarter, the Seahawks gave up a 17-yard pass on third-and-15 that eventually led to the Rams’ first touchdown. And in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks gave up a 21-yard pass on third-and-15. That drive ended when Dion Bailey slipped and allowed the tying touchdown down the sideline.
“I think the biggest thing that stuck out is third-and-long,” Thomas said. “We’ve got to get better.”
• Did the Seahawks miss Kam Chancellor in the game? If so, no one really said so afterward. Said defensive lineman Michael Bennett: “Whenever you lose everyone is going to turn around saying this and that, Kam Chancellor this. … but we still were in the game. Regardless of what the situation was, we had more opportunities during the game but we just didn’t (convert).’’
• On the failed fourth down that ended the game, a run by Marshawn Lynch, the Rams said it helped that they knew what was coming. “You see Lynch in the backfield, he looks like he’s going to get the ball,’’ said defensive tackle Michael Brockers, who was in on the stop. “I think they kind of know what happens when you don’t give Lynch the ball, so we knew it was going to him. … We definitely knew they were going to give him the ball.’’
• Seattle offensive-line coach Tom Cable said that, despite some of the struggles protecting Russell Wilson and moving the ball, he felt optimistic about the progress the group made. “I thought in the first half we had our struggles,’’ he said, saying that timing — specifically, everyone moving together at the snap — was an issue early. “But I thought the second half was really cool, a lot of growth. It’s kind of what we expected, quite honestly. But if we will just take that jump again this week like we did in the second half, we will be pretty good.’’