Seahawks punter Jon Ryan's 33-yard run ended with him getting hurt.
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.
Seahawks coach Pete 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 which 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 and then headed to the locker room and then taken to the 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 Los Angeles — especially considering the Rams’ own failed fake punt earlier in the game that led to a Seahawks field goal in the second quarter.
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, anyway.
“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.”
The run, officially for 26 yards after the ball was moved back due to the fumble, was the longest of the day for the Seahawks.
“We were counting on that for our rushing yardage for the night,” Carroll said. “That helped us.”
Jon Ryan was taken to the hospital after he experiencing concussion-like symptoms. His wife, Sarah, tweeted that he was in good spirits, though, especially after receiving his well-deserved NFC West champions gear.