3 Takeaways from Seahawks' Week 5 Loss
However, the major concern stemming from Seattle's latest defeat is the health of Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks' seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback exited in the third quarter with a right middle finger sprain, and he couldn't finish the game. Meanwhile, Seattle's late comeback attempt fell short. It cut Los Angeles' lead to 23-17 with Jason Myers' 32-yard field goal with 2 minutes, 45 seconds to go, but the Rams put the game away on Matt Gay's 47-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining.
After the Seahawks fell to 1-1 against NFC West rivals and dropped to 0-2 at home, they could be in for some more trouble if Wilson misses substantial time moving forward.
Here are three takeaways from Seattle's Week 5 loss.
Offense Can't Afford to Be Without Wilson for Long
After Thursday's game, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told the media that Wilson has a "badly sprained finger." However, he was unsure whether the 32-year-old quarterback would miss any time. Seattle's next game is a road matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 17.
"There's work to be done in assessing all of that," Carroll said. "Russell is one of the great healers of all time, and he'll do whatever he can to get back as soon as absolutely possible."
Wilson has never missed a game over his 10-year NFL career. So the Seahawks haven't had to experience how their offense would operate without their star QB.
Once Wilson exited, Geno Smith took over and got off to a hot start. He led a 98-yard drive that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, completing all five of his passing attempts during the possession. However, Smith's night ended on a bad note, as he threw an interception with a little more than two minutes left in the game, allowing the Rams to then push their lead to nine points and close the game out.
Smith hasn't had a ton of NFL success, and Seattle's offense is unlikely to be as productive if he's under center instead of Wilson. So the Seahawks will have to hope that Wilson can recover over the next 10 days and that it doesn't end up being a long-term injury.
Run Defense Continues to Be a Cause for Concern
The Seahawks entered Thursday night as one of the worst NFL teams at stopping the run this season, and that didn't change against the Rams' strong rushing attack. Seattle gave up 82 yards to Darrell Henderson Jr. and 37 yards to Sony Michel, with each of Los Angeles' top two running backs scoring a touchdown.
It's been an issue for the Seahawks through the first five weeks of the season, and it's one they can't seem to correct. They are now allowing 145.2 rushing yards per game, which is the third most in the NFL.
Seattle got off to a better start in the first half, with Los Angeles only scoring three points. The Seahawks forced the Rams to punt on three of their first four possessions, with the other resulting in a Matthew Stafford interception. But from there, it was more of a struggle for the defensive unit.
"I don't know if it's mental lapses, I don't know what it is," Seattle safety Quandre Diggs said during his postgame press conference. "Guys get comfortable that we hold a team to three points, and you get relaxed. It's the NFL, you can't do that. It's a rivalry game, I would think everybody's antennas would be up."
Whatever it is, the Seahawks need to figure it out. Because it's going to be tough to win games when they're giving up an NFL-high 450.8 total yards per game.
Seahawks Are Now Entering a Pivotal Stretch
Even though the Seahawks are off to a tough start, they're not out of the playoff race, or the battle for the NFC West title. It's a 17-game regular season, so there will be time for Seattle to get hot and string some wins together down the line.
However, the Seahawks have three games before their bye in Week 9, and this could be a critical stretch. Seattle's strength of schedule isn't too difficult over that time, with matchups against the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3), New Orleans Saints (2-2) and Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4).
The Seahawks will have much more challenging games later on, with four division games remaining as well as road matchups against solid teams such as the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Football Team. If Seattle heads into its bye at 2-6, that will likely be an impossible hole to climb out of.
But if the Seahawks win two or three games before their bye, they could stay right in the thick of the playoff hunt for the second half of the season. So they need to start playing better soon before things potentially spiral out of control.