Tyler Lockett took advantage of the added snaps to make five catches on six targets in the first half for 65 yards.
Seattle punter Jon Ryan landed in the hospital after taking a hard hit to end a 26-yard run on a fake punt in Seattle’s 24-3 win over the Rams Thursday night.
The play itself, though, was no accident.
That the Seahawks pulled off a fake while holding a 24-3 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game caused some observers to wonder how it came about being called.
Carroll, though, said it was not an on-field audible by Ryan or anyone else.
Instead, it was a specific play that the team had designed and that Carroll said the Seahawks finally saw the right time to call.
“We were looking for the chance all night long, and it finally popped up,’’ Carroll said.
As the snap came back to Ryan, the Rams’ defense to a man peeled back in coverage, creating a wide hole in the middle of the field. Ryan took off running behind Dewey McDonald and into the open.
But as he saw some Rams defenders finally getting close to converging as he neared the Los Angeles 30, Ryan tried to switch the hand he was holding the ball and it bobbled in the air.
“The ball all of a sudden looked like it was greased,’’ Carroll said later.
As Ryan tried to gain control he was hit hard on the side of the head by Rams cornerback Troy Hill and left momentarily motionless on the field (Neiko Thorpe recovered the ball for Seattle).
Ryan was helped off the field, then headed to the locker room before being taken to a hospital.
“He got a concussion,’’ Carroll said. “He was pretty loopy, so it’s unfortunate.’’
Ryan’s wife, comedian Sarah Colonna, later tweeted a picture of Ryan in the hospital writing “Jon is being checked out but in good spirits.’’
Longtime observers of the Rams-Seahawks series couldn’t ignore that the fake punt was a rare time when Seattle had gotten the upper hand on special teams with the Rams.
Several of the Rams’ wins in recent years have been punctuated by successful fake punts or field goals and a trick-play punt return.
If Carroll was saving something special for the Rams, he didn’t necessarily let on. But he did seem excited at the way the play worked.
“It was really fun to see that happen,’’ Carroll said. “It worked exactly like we had hoped. And the situation was right. I thought that was the play of the night.’’
Well, all but the landing.
“We didn’t work on the finish of that play,’’ Carroll said. “We did everything else — we practiced the long yards, we thought he might make a big gain. But we didn’t practice the finish hitting the ground.’’
Carroll shows off his arm
The Seahawks were out of challenges by the time the game was less than 17 minutes old.
But Carroll said he had no choice but to challenge what he felt were pretty dubious spots of the ball.
Seattle won two of three challenges, including the overturning of a fourth-down attempt by the Rams at the 7-yard-line that proved critical early.
“It was lousy,’’ Carroll said of using all his challenges as quickly as he did. “I was so upset that I had to do it because the first two of them we knew we were right on those and we just had to blow them to get it done. You could see that the ball wasn’t spotted exactly right.’’
Carroll first challenged the spot of the ball after a pass from Russell Wilson to Lockett on a third-and-six play on Seattle’s first drive. After the spot was initially short, replay showed Lockett had picked up the first down. The drive stalled after that.
The Seahawks challenged another spot with 4:08 left in the first quarter after the Rams went for it on fourth-and-one at the 7. Rams tailback Todd Gurley, who took a pitchout to the left, initially was judged to have gotten the first down at the 6.
Carroll made a vehement throw of the red challenge flag, which landed at about the 5-yard-line.
“I put a little juice on that a couple times,’’ Carroll said of his throws.’’
The play was then overruled.
• Michael Bennett got his first sack in his third game since returning from a knee injury, then capped it off with a “sack dance’’ that drew a penalty and gave the Rams a first down. Seattle had a 24-3 lead at the time, though, and Carroll seemed more happy to see Bennett back in form than worried about the penalty.
“Oh, he was roaring tonight,’’ Carroll said. “That was an extraordinary play. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon coming off the edge.’’
On the next play, Bennett burst through to level Rams running back Todd Gurley head first. Bennett then got up slowly and it was announced he was being examined for a concussion.
Carroll, though, said “Mike feels fine. He wrenched his neck. It wasn’t a hit to the head. We’re going to check him out, but he felt fine afterward. So we’ll see what happens with that. He should be OK.’’
• Strong safety Kam Chancellor was named as the winner of the Steve Largent Award for 2016 in a ceremony before the game.
The award is voted on by players and given to the Seahawk who “best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks.’’ Chancellor also won the award in 2014.
• UW football coach Chris Petersen raised the 12th Man flag.