Seahawks: Wild Card Edition

Photo Credit: Bence Balla-Schottner

In what most expected to be a free victory for the Seattle Seahawks to advance in the playoffs, they got upset by the Los Angeles Rams at home 30-20 to get sent home early.

It was Russell Wilson’s first home loss in the playoffs and arguably his worst playoff game in his career. He threw 11/27 for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. He was sacked five times for 32 yards and ran the ball for 50 yards. The numbers aren’t terrible, but the efficiency was awful and it’s not like the lack of volume was because they were the same run-first team they were in past years. Chris Carson led the rushing effort with just 77 yards on 16 tries. It felt like, rather than learn from what the Seahawks had experienced in their offensive struggles over the second half of the season, they collapsed under the weight of them.

They neutralized the deep threat that Wilson had established in the first half of the season where D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett would casually catch 40-yard touchdowns once or twice a game. The offensive struggles lay with his inability to adapt and punish the deep coverage by throwing passes underneath. Will Dissly can absolutely be considered a reliable tight end, but he was looked at twice, caught one for a single yard. David Moore was targeted one time for a single yard. Instead, 11 of Wilson’s 27 passes were to Metcalf, who caught just five. This was a predictable outcome; the Rams schemed incredibly well against him. In the first two matchups between them this year, Metcalf hauled in a total of 87 yards and no touchdowns. Their lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey straight up shut him down.

Of course, the defense dropped the ball as well. The Rams threw out backup John Wolford at quarterback because Jared Goff broke his thumb. Of course, Wolford didn’t end up being a problem whatsoever. Seattle safety Jamal Adams dropped him with a brutal hit that would send Wolford to the hospital with a neck brace. With no other options, the Rams trotted out Goff, three pins in his thumb. He even posted numbers similar to Wilson’s, throwing 9/19 with 155 yards and a touchdown. The real hero for the Rams that game, however, was rookie running back Cam Akers. He ran for 131 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown of his own. The Seahawks defense relied on people who were the first line. Adams, Jordan Reed, and Carlos Dunlap have been excellent defenders all season, and Reed still racked up two of the three Seattle sacks on the day. But Akers, who has been making statement games over the last several weeks, continued to impress yet again.

The Seahawks went from a Super Bowl favorite to exiting in the first round. They had the best offensive line of Wilson’s career, they were healthy, they were playing at home, they had the highest-scoring offense in franchise history, and had their best defense since 2015. They could have won and they should have won, but now they will instead have serious questions to answer. Adams has expressed discontent, Carson is entering a contract year, and the Seahawks recently fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. They went from really promising to honestly a little worrisome, and only time will tell to see if they can pick it back up in 2021.