2015 Seahawks Re-Watch, Week 15: One Of Those Days
On paper, the St Louis Rams appeared to be a far inferior opponent for the Seattle Seahawks, but the Ram’s season had been no less a roller coaster than their winged counterparts. Both teams had been yo-yo squads, simultaneously capable of being brilliant and befuddled, save the results had diverged considerably. Once 4-3 while the Hawks were 4-4, the Ram’s subsequent 2-5 record matched the Hawk’s only in its inverse, with Seattle having amassed a 5-2 record. Regardless, the Rams had become an interesting thorn in the Seahawk’s side and seemed programmed to elevate their game to beat their division rival. Unfortunately, as the Hawks attempted to avenge their week 1 overtime loss to the Rams, what transpired was a brutal outing of follies, miscues and disastrously poor luck.
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Sans Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls, the rushing attack fell flat against a Ram’s defensive line that had been long heralded as one of the premiere units in the NFL. Christine Michael put up six carries for six yards and Bryce Brown scarcely ran any better, with seven carries for nine yards. Things became so anemic that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell began utilizing the third down offense, led by former Buffalo Bill Fred Jackson, during earlier downs. While Jackson was a marginal improvement—2 carries for 11 yards—he did contribute with his pass-catching, giving the offense some presence out of the backfield. If anything, this Sunday affirmed the talent drop off at the tailback position, an expected reality given the injury situation, but disheartening to see with a post-season appearance already locked up.
The rest of the game was filled with plays that should’ve been highlights but ended up being groaners.
Early in the second quarter, Wilson stepped up into the pocket to avoid pressure. He located Brown along the sidelines and mailed in a pass. Brown weaved through defenders and was tackled inside the ten yard line; however, the forty-eight gain was negated due to Wilson being a step beyond the line of scrimmage at his release. Later, on a 3rd and 31, Doug Baldwin found an opening in the Ram’s zone. Turning the corner after securing the catch, he leapt for the first down marker, but his final foot plant put him out of bounds by inches. With twenty-four seconds remaining in the half, on 3rd and goal, Baldwin and Cooper Helfet got confused and ran into each other. The potential touchdown pass sailed past Baldwin. Late in the game, at the Ram’s 29 yard line, Wilson lobbed a pass to Jermaine Kearse, just over the fingertips of cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Kearse completed the catch, falling backwards to the three yard line. It was nullified by a holding penalty. Plays later, Wilson took off toward the sideline. Even though Wilson had already obtained the first down, he choose to dive head-first instead of sliding. While he appeared to be down by contact, a challenge determined that he had fumbled, effectively ending the drive and the game.
One Of Those Days
Due to a garbage time touchdown, the offense finished with seventeen points but had played the game with only ten. Baldwin more than made up for his bad route, racking up 118 yards on 8 receptions with another touchdown, accounting for 40% of Wilson’s total passing yards. Wilson put a decent stat line, distributing the ball to six different receivers and gathering another two touchdown passes, although he did finally throw an interception, an ill-advised jump ball to Tyler Lockett.
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Some things did go the Hawks way, including when Baldwin forward fumbled a catch that was recovered by Kearse on the Ram’s three yard line. But, as was the prevailing theme, anything the Seahawks could do the Rams could do better.
Late in the third, with the score at 16-10, Ram’s tailback Benny Cunningham attempted to squeeze in a cut with his hold on the ball slightly compromised. As Cunningham did so, KJ Wright incidentally popped the ball loose. It fell so far forward that Earl Thomas was the closest Seahawk to it. For a moment, Thomas appeared to have recovered the fumble, but in the scrum of bodies, Ram’s center Tim Barnes recovered it instead. The result was a five yard gain and a first down. Plays later, Todd Gurley shed a tackle from Bobby Wagner and broke into the open field. In a rather reckless manner, Gurley decided to hurdle Earl Thomas, his last obstacle to the goal line. Gurley accomplished said hurdle, but he was in an awkward position when he touched down. Instantly wrapped up by DeShawn Shead, the football popped out, moving from the ten yard line to the three, where it was again recovered by Ram’s center Tim Barnes.
The Rams scored a touchdown on the drive.
One Of Those Days, Part II
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Week 16 was a Sunday where nothing could go right, but even so, the right plays had been there. The Hawks were mere inches from victory multiple times. Even so, this loss to the Rams, being the second of the season, felt strangely ominous. In many ways, the present rivalry between the Hawks and Rams was the result of a decade’s old passing of the torch. Dick Vermeil’s Rams had owned the NFC West and remnants of the Greatest Show on Turf still remained when Seattle switched from the AFC to the NFC in 2002. In 2004, Seattle lost to the Rams three times in one season, the third being a heartbreaking playoff loss. But, in 2005, Mike Holmgren’s fastly maturing team not only beat the Rams twice, they went onto the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance, changing the culture of the organization in a way that is still felt today.
A loss to the Rams was a reminder of the past, almost a taunt, that said, “Are you sure you’re still good?” At least for the 2015 season, the Seahawks would get no more opportunities to prove it to the Rams.
Week 17 will post Tuesday, June 21st. Thanks for reading!
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Week 1, The Rams…Again | Week 2, The Pack Attack | Week 3, The Good News Bears? | Week 4, Kam’s Big Comeback | Week 5, The Cincinnati Heartbreaker | Week 6, Lockette’s Great Grab | Week 7, Karper-can’t | Week 8, Sherman Shines | Week 10, The Tales of Two Halves | Week 11, My Name is Thomas Rawls. | Week 12, The Youth Movement | Week 13, A Complete Win | Week 14, Baldwin Blows Up | Week 15, Wilson Makes History