The Los Angeles Rams turned one of the biggest, most hyped regular-season contests in CenturyLink history into an overwhelming rout of the Seahawks Sunday. With RB Todd Gurley (four touchdowns) and DT Aaron Donald (three sacks, two tackles for loss) doing their thing, the Rams raced to a 34-0 halftime lead en route to an 42-7 victory that all but — but not quite — knocked Seattle out of the postseason (box).
The historically humiliated Seahawks (8-6) are two games behind Atlanta (8-5) for the NFC’s sixth and final seed with two games to play, and the Falcons hold the advantage of having beaten Seattle. To reach the postseason, the Seahawks need to win out against Dallas and Arizona, and hope that the Falcons to lose their final three, starting at Tampa Bay Monday night (the Falcons also play New Orleans and Carolina).
The Rams (10-4) didn’t clinch the NFC West or even sew up a playoff spot due to Detroit’s win over Chicago Saturday, but are a virtual certainty to reach the postseason.
“What’s really important is that we have two games to play,” said coach Pete Carroll. “Obviously, (the Rams) were on it and we weren’t. As coaches and players, we need to take a step forward together. But that was a really dismal performance by us.”
“This is an embarrassing loss for sure, and I hope it’s a wake-up call,” said WR Doug Baldwin. “Give credit to the Rams, an excellent team.”
“In my time here there has been nothing like this,” said TE Luke Willson. “We’re going to watch this film on Monday and we’re going to be pretty disgusted.”
For Seattle, the only positive news of the day: Russell Wilson’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Willson near the end of the third quarter kept the Seahawks from their first shutout since a 24-0 loss at Pittsburgh in2011, and their first home blanking since a 19-0 loss to the Raiders in 1992.
Gurley took advantage of a Seattle defense missing four Pro Bowl defensive players — CB Richard Sherman, SS Kam Chancellor, LB K.J. Wright and DT Cliff Avril, plus LB K.J. Wright — by running for 144 yards and three TDs in the first half (152 yards for the game). In the second half he caught a 14-yard TD pass from QB Jared Goff. Donald led an defense that sacked Wilson seven times, pressured him a dozen times, and hounded him into two fumbles, one that led to a Rams TD.
The Rams had an early 6-0 lead on two field goals, extended it to 13-0 at the end of one quarter and to 34-0 at halftime. That marked the first time since Nov. 7, 2010 that Seattle trailed by more than 30 points at home in the first half. On that day, the Giants led 35-0 en route to a 41-7 win.
Sunday’s margin of defeat was the biggest of the Carroll era (since 2010) in Seattle.
Wilson completed 14 of 30 for 142 yards and one TD. But the seven sacks and 12 pressures, coupled with game-long poor field position (average possession started at its 23-yard line vs. the 47-yard line for LA), had the Seahawks on their heels throughout. His TD pass to Willson was his 30th of the season. Wilson also led Seattle in rushing with 39 yards on five carries.
RB Mike Davis ran six times for 19 yards. The Seahawks had only 58 yards on the ground.
RB J.D. McKissic led Seattle with three catches for 38 yards. Only Davis (two) and Tyler Lockett (two) had more than one. Baldwin had only ball for for six yards. After catching no passes last week against Jacksonville, TE Jimmy Graham had one catch for a minus one yard, plus a drop after catching what would have been a first down.
The Seahawks had 149 yards of total offense. The Rams had 352.
The Seahawks were torched by punt returner Pharoh Cooper, who had seven for 128 yards. His 53-yard punt return in the first quarter set up the first TD.
With LB Bobby Wagner playing but limited due to an injured hamstring, SS Bradley McDougald led Seattle with 10 tackles, seven solo. LB Terence Garvin had nine tackles (six solo) and FS Earl Thomas eight (four solo). As a counter to that, one of the stories of the day was an abundance of missed tackles.
MacDougald in the second quarter tipped a pass that ended up as a red-zone interception for LB Michael Wilhoite that denied one Rams drive.
Seattle fell to 35-13 in games played in November and December and to 20-7 in games played in December and January . . . The Rams cut Seattle’s lead in the all-time series to 23-16 . . . The Rams had lost 11 of their past 12 in Seattle . . . With Wilson at quarterback, Seattle has lost back-to-back regular-season games only four times in six years. Last week’s loss to Jacksonville and Sunday’s to the Rams marked the first back-to-back losses since Oct. 11-Oct. 18, 2015 to Cincinnati and Carolina . . . Seattle is 38-9 at home since 2012 . . . LB K.J. Wright did not play due to a concussion, snapping a streak of 61 consecutive starts.
The Seahawks play their final regular-season road game Sunday at Dallas (1:25 p.m. PT, FOX).