ST. LOUIS – A recap of the Seahawks’ 19-13 loss to the Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marshawn Lynch. With apologies to Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein on fourth downs and Rams QB Sam Bradford on selected third downs, the key word here is “game.” No one was better on this afternoon, down after tackle-breaking down, than the Seahawks’ Beast Mode-running back.
Lynch ran for 118 yards and a 5.9-yard average. He also scored the game’s only offensive touchdown, on an 18-yard run to cap the Seahawks’ first game-opening TD drive of the season. Just for the heck of it, he caught a season-high four passes for 37 yards.
In looking for reasons why the Seahawks let this one get away, don’t look at No. 24.
“He played great today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “There were a lot of really good runs. A lot of runs where guys made guys miss or bounced off tackles.
“Marshawn continues to be just rock solid for us.”
This game also provided a glimpse of why Robert Turbin was drafted in the fourth round. When Lynch needed a break, after breaking so many tackles, the rookie stepped in and ran for 45 yards on six carries and caught two passes for 13 yards.
“Both guys were very effective,” Carroll said.
And Lynch and Turbin did it behind the third starting line combination the Seahawks have used in four games – left tackle Russell Okung, left guard James Carpenter, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini.
Carpenter. He not only played for the first time since getting a severe left knee injury during practice last November, last year’s first-round draft choice started at left guard.
But wait, there’s more. Carpenter tweaked his right knee on the second play of the Seahawks’ second possession. But returned on the next series and finished the game. In fact, many of Lynch’s longer runs came to the left side behind Carpenter and Okung.
Carpenter’s return allowed McQuistan, who had started the first three games on the left side, to slide to right guard for the injured John Moffitt.
Also, a defensive honorable mention to nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who had two tackles for losses among his five solo stops. Mebane wasn’t just tackling the Rams’ ball carriers; he was serving as a human abutment.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Lynch’s TD run. It wasn’t just the only offensive TD of the game; it was his longest scoring run since he broke a 40-yarder against the Eagles in Week 13 last season – a span that covers seven games and five Lynch scoring runs.
Defensive: There were several from which to choose, but none was bigger than Williams Hayes’ sack of rookie QB Russell Wilson on third-and-2 after the Seahawks had driven to the Rams’ 10-yard line. It forced the Seahawks to settle for the field goal in the six-point loss.
Special teams: You would think franchise-record field goals of first 58 and then 60 yards would get Zuerlein the nod. But he was out-rookied by teammate Johnny Hekker, the punter who doubles as the holder on field goals and PATs. It was Hekker, not Bradford, who passed for the Rams’ only TD – a 2-yard toss to a wide-open Danny Amendola off a fake field goal just before the end of the first half.
In addition to Carpenter, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker Mike Morgan also left the field but were able to return.
The Rams’ five third-down conversions came in three scoring drives, and each was on third-and-10 or longer as Bradford passed to Brandon Gibson for 15 yards on third-and-13; to Austin Pettis for 17 yards on third-and-14; to Brian Quick for 19 yards on third-and-10; to Amendola for 15 yards on third-and-10; and to Lance Kendricks for 26 yards on third-and-12. Those five completions accounted for 92 of the Rams’ 211 passing yards.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks with seven tackles, all solo stops with three tackles for losses.
Leon Washington had a 69-yard kickoff return to the Rams’ 36-yard line in the third quarter, but Wilson threw the second of his three interceptions two plays later – this one because he was hit by a blitzing cornerback Janoris Jenkins as he was releasing the ball.
Because of the three interceptions, Wilson’s passer rating was 45.8, as he completed 17 of 25 passes for 160 yards – compared to the Seahawks rushing for 179 yards on 34 running plays.
The loss snapped the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak against the Rams, and was the Rams’ second win in their past 15 games against Seattle.
The Seahawks cut their penalties to five for 55 yards, but Giacomini had three of them (two personal fouls and a false start.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was a really good day for us on the ground. We just needed a couple plays here to take advantage of how well we were running it.” – Carroll