The Super Bowl champions are in trouble, losing to the St. Louis Rams 28-26, making it two consecutive losses, struggling to keep up with the trick plays pulled off against them, while Russell Wilson has to improvise and run away too much in order to remain on two feet while his offensive line crumbles around him.
And it’s not just Wilson. The most talked about secondary unit in the league suddenly doesn’t seem so imposing anymore. The Rams didn’t exactly light them up, but Austin Davis hardly made a mistake and the Rams were able to run quite well with Tre Mason leading the charge forward. Wilson was the one with the big numbers, becoming the first quarterback to throw for over 300 yards (313) and rush for over 100 (106) in a single game, but that wasn’t enough with the Seahawks struggling to finish off so many drives.
The Rams had just one sack this season going into the game, but a defensive line expected to do a lot better finally found an offensive line they can man handle. The Cowboys doing whatever they wanted in the win in Seattle wasn’t just a fluke – the Seahawks have a problem. Last season the offensive line was their weak link but not at this kind of level, making Wilson run away from pass rushers on almost every play. He still made it work, but the running game looked good just because Wilson scrambles so well.
Wilson ran for 70 yards on four scrambles in the fourth quarter. None of them looked like designed rushing attempts. His creativity and improvising was the only reason the Seahawks kept moving forward, outscoring the Rams 20-7 in the second half. The Seahawks had a chance to take over the ball for a final drive in the final minutes of the game, but a great fake punt and being unable to recover a fumble gave the game to the Rams.
Davis was incredibly accurate at 18-of-21 for 152 yards and two touchdown passes, but the trick plays made the difference for the Rams. First it was a 90-yard punt return by Stedman Bailey everyone thought was going to be a fair catch. The Seahawks thought another player was going to field the punt, but Bailey showed up and was unstoppable on the run. The Rams also had a 75-yard kickoff return by Benjamin Cunningham that set up a touchdown. Cunningham caught one touchdown pass.
He was also the catcher on one of the plays that saved the game for the Rams. At 4th-and-3 with 2:55 remaining on the Rams’ 18, Jeff Fisher made one of the gutsiest moves anyone could think of by going for it, giving punter Johnny Hekker the chance to show his quarterbacking skills from back in high school. He found Cunningham for the 18-yard completion, giving the Rams a new set of downs. Later on, on third-and-1 with 1:14 remaining, Tre Mason fumbled the ball but Cory Harkey actually took it out of Richard Sherman’s hands while being in the scrum.
This win changes things in the NFC West. No one is expecting the 2-4 Rams to suddenly make a run for the top spot, but it shows just how difficult things will be for teams coming to visit them. It also showed that defending a Super Bowl title is about getting the right bounces. The Seahawks had a lot of games last season they could have ended up losing. They weren’t that much better than everyone else until momentum picked up. This year, their flaws aren’t just exposed – they’re costing them games.