For the third time this season, the Seattle Seahawks' offense was held to 20 points or less, and for the fourth time, they had less than 150 yards passing. In today's pass-happy league, that's almost unheard as 300-yard passing games have become the norm.
Many will be quick to blame the quarterback in this situation, but things were the same as they were in week's past. The wide receivers are just as much to blame in this passing-game fiasco. Last year's leading wideout, Doug Baldwin, has been non-existent, and Sidney Rice flashes, but then he goes MIA for long stretches of the game.
Golden Tate has been the Seahawks most consistent wide receiver, yet he is all too non-existent as well. Then, couple that with the starting quarterback being a rookie and it definitely spells trouble for an offense that leans on its Marshawn Lynch-led rushing attack.
Even in defeat, Lynch posted his 14th career 100-yard game and almost single-handedly outgained Russell Wilson's passing attack. His 5.9 yards per carry was a season high, and by game's end, he had ground out 118 yards and one touchdown.
Fourth-round draft selection Robert Turbin saw extensive action for the first time today as well. He only carried the ball six times, yet he picked up 45 yards on those six carries and even contributed as a receiver. He caught both of his targets for 13 yards.
The return of James Carpenter proved to be a big boost at left guard. He was an absolute anchor along the left side of the offensive line. One of his best blocks of the game was on Lynch's first-quarter touchdown run. His seal block helped spring No. 24 up the left sideline for six points.
Defensively, Seattle played really strong at the point of attack and limited big plays in the run game. Brandon Mebane, Alan Branch and Red Bryant were all monsters up front.
The 'Hawks defense had a total of nine tackles for loss, and they held the Rams to 2.8 yards per rush. Steven Jackson actually had a semi-productive first half on the ground, but when things tightened up in the second half, there was no room to run.
The secondary looked the part as well as coverage was fairly tight for most of the game. Quarterback Sam Bradford only threw for 221 yards and was picked once by Richard Sherman. Bradford only completed 16-of-30 throws, and at times, he looked flustered by the tight coverage.
However, not all was perfect.
Rookie Chris Givens caught a 52-yard bomb on Sherman and the Rams converted multiple 3rd-and-long plays. Coming into this week's game, the Seahawks had the best third-down defense in the NFL, so it was surprising to see St. Louis convert 5-of-13 third-down situations. I know it's not an incredibly high number, yet a couple of key conversions led to scoring opportunities.
The Rams also kept the Seattle pass rush at bay by utilizing the quick-passing game, much like the Packers did on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks' defensive line only notched two sacks and three quarterback hits on Bradford—a far cry from the eight-sack performance against Green Bay.
Even with the weak pass rush and a poorly executed passing attack, Coach Carroll's club still had a chance to win it in the end. They were slowly stringing together a nice eight-play, 47-yard drive that was inching them closer and closer to the end zone.
But, with a minute left to play, Wilson tried to hit tight end Anthony McCoy on a timing pattern for a first down, and it backfired. McCoy slipped and fell down, allowing cornerback Bradley Fletcher to pick the pass off.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Seahawks had a shot to win the game with a touchdown. Unfortunately, the replacement officials couldn't save them this time.