The John Fassel era is off to a tough start, as the Los Angeles Rams were soundly beaten by the Seattle Seahawks 24-3 on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.
With the win, Seattle clinched the NFC West title for the fourth time since 2010.
The Seahawks have their defense to thank, as it limited the Rams offense to 183 total yards on the night while holding rookie quarterback Jared Goff to 135 yards on 13-of-25 passing before leaving the game with an injury.
Running back Todd Gurley didn't stand much of a chance, either, as he mustered only 38 yards on 14 carries.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 229 yards with three touchdowns, utilizing wide receiver Tyler Lockett the most. The second-year man hauled in seven catches for 130 yards on the night.
The Rams seemed to be in shambles after a busy week.
Fassel has been the team's interim head coach for all of four days since Jeff Fisher was fired Monday. He was unceremoniously introduced to his new role in one of the most inhospitable environments in the league with a team that had lost its last four games and eight of its previous nine.
A slow start saw the teams trade punts and turnovers, forcing viewers to focus on other aspects of the games, like the league's "Color Rush" uniforms.
NFL Network's Scott Cole had problems just watching the game after seeing Seattle's neon jerseys:
ESPN's Trey Wingo finally came up with a title for them:
Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson wasn't thrilled with the Rams' getup, either:
The Rams looked poised to open the scoring late in the first quarter, but after Goff missed a wide-open Brian Quick in the end zone on 3rd-and-1, Gurley was stuffed on fourth down, turning the ball over and wasting an opportunity to put points on the board, as the NFL shared:
ESPN's Jemele Hill was ready to change the channel:
After taking over on their own 7-yard line, the Seahawks capped a 93-yard scoring drive with 12:21 left in the second quarter when Russell Wilson hit Luke Willson from eight yards out, as the team's official Twitter account shared:
Things got worse for the Rams when a fake punt went terribly wrong. Punter Johnny Hekker's pass to a wide-open Michael Thomas fell short, gifting the Seahawks possession deep in Los Angeles territory.
Michael Grant of The Comeback summed it up the best he could:
While Seattle couldn't completely capitalize, it did add a field goal.
Los Angeles finally answered with a field goal of its own to cap off a sluggish first half that saw the teams combine for 203 total yards:
The Seahawks defense continued to dominate in the second half, allowing ample time for the offense to piece something together against the well-organized Rams defense.
It came late in the third quarter in the form of an eight-play drive that spanned 62 yards to open a two-possession advantage. Russell Wilson picked up his second touchdown pass of the night, hitting a wide-open Doug Baldwin, who put on the moves to get by cornerback Troy Hill, via the NFL:
Baldwin's jukes reminded ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes of schoolyard bullying:
Seattle didn't take its foot off the gas pedal, either, as it struck the fatal blow just 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, when Wilson completed a deep pass to Lockett for a 57-yard score.
The receiver showed off his speed in the process, leaving a pair of Los Angeles corners in his wake, via the NFL:
Goff attempted to find a rebuttal, but deep in Seahawks territory, cornerback Richard Sherman hit him while he was scrambling down the sideline, which forced Goff out of the game.
In stepped Case Keenum, and the Rams' drive stalled, yielding no points and ending any hopes of a comeback.
It might not have been pretty, but a comprehensive victory fueled by a stellar defense is something the Seahawks can build off heading toward the postseason.
If Seattle can get its offense clicking before January, it might be a team no one will want to face.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll came into Thursday night expecting his defense to step up, via Jessamyn McIntyre of 710 ESPN Seattle:
That unit was the catalyst of a division title, which continues Carroll's successful run in Seattle, per McIntyre:
For Fassel, a difficult first game as a head coach was overshadowed by concerns about Goff, which he addressed, via ESPN's Alden Gonzalez:
Gurley, though, was focused on his team's run of poor play, according to Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times:
The Rams and Fassel have just two more games this season to find that right combination and leave a good impression on management heading into the offseason.
But playing in a big market in Los Angeles now could mean that patience within the organization is significantly shorter than it was in St. Louis. That could mean major changes, and quickly, moving forward.
Stats courtesy of NFL.com.