The Seattle Seahawks fell to the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 30-20 in the wild-card round of the 2020-21 postseason for their first home playoff loss since 2005. Here are five takeaways from the game.
Offense was awful
Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks off the field after the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The offense was a mess in every aspect, from Brian Schottenheimer’s questionable play-calling to receivers getting blanketed to the offensive line being steamrolled by the Rams’ pass rush to catching fire far too late. The Rams have the No. 1 ranked defense, but the Seahawks were reasonably expected to give a better offensive showing than this. For an offense on pace to set records in the first half of the season, the Seahawks sure sputtered down the stretch, and their inability to recapture that form or even adjust to the opposition in this game contributed significantly to Seattle going one-and-done in the postseason.
Russell Wilson got cooked
Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Morgan Fox (97) tackles Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, the Rams defense came as advertised, but Russell Wilson made some mind-boggling decisions on his own. He was inaccurate on passes, had a few that should have been picked, and did not play with confidence for most of the game even without pressure in his face. He completed a shockingly pedestrian 40.7% of his passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns (one of them came in garbage time), and a pick-six. Jared Goff played with a crippled thumb and outplayed the ninth-year veteran after John Wolford went out with his own injury. There is something wrong with Wilson right now and whatever the reason for his recent mediocre play is, he needs to get it fixed for 2021.
Pick-six creates momentum for Rams
Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams (31) celebrates his interception for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
In the second quarter, Darious Williams perfectly read a screen to DK Metcalf and intercepted it, taking it to the house for a pick-six to take a 13-3 lead. They would score a rushing touchdown via Cam Akers on their next offensive drive in spite of Seattle answering with a TD of its own. Williams’ play created momentum for the Rams to pile on another TD and gain a comfortable lead for a time, and game-changing plays contribute greatly to postseason success. They certainly did in this one.
Defense gets stops, but unable to hold on
Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The Seahawks defense was far from perfect, as they gave up 131 rushing yards to Akers and were not physical enough overall. However, they made stops and played well enough to win. They suffered fatigue from being on the field for too long largely because the offense couldn’t get into a rhythm. They are far from blameless here, but their turnaround this season was spectacular and they leave some optimism for the near future if enough key players remain for the following season.
This season was a failure
Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams (33) yells to the sidelines during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
After starting 5-0 (even though most of those wins came by a hair) with the offense looking the best it ever has in the Pete Carroll era for that stretch, and finishing the season 12-4, one could reasonably expect Seattle to make it back to at least the divisional round. Instead, they were bounced by the Rams in the wild card round while relatively healthy. Despite the Rams being better than what their record may suggest, that is a failure. Seattle has a lot of reflection and work to do this offseason as their division rivals proceed to the next round.