Both starting offensive tackles were injured and the stands were mostly vacant by the time the final play was snapped.
The Seattle Seahawks season opener could not have gone much worse.
“A very difficult day to take for the opener and everybody’s expectations,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “Nobody’s were higher than ours, but everybody’s expectations were dashed a bit to get this thing started.”
Seattle’s 30-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the opener was the worst home loss for the Seahawks in six years and one of the worst home defeats in Carroll’s tenure. The Seahawks have always found ways to be competitive even in defeat, but the performance against the Rams was a deflating effort that left players questioning whether Los Angeles simply wanted to win more.
That’s never a great way to start a season, let alone one where the Seahawks believed they could improve on last season's 9-8 record that made them a playoff team.
“It just looked like they were playing harder and that’s why they won,” Smith said after the game.
Seattle was outscored 23-0 by Los Angeles after taking a 13-7 lead. Seattle was 2 of 9 on third downs and watched Matthew Stafford and the Rams convert 11 of 17 third-down situations when they had the ball, leading to long drives and a fatigued defense.
The Seahawks never ran a play in the Rams’ half of the field in the final 30 minutes and saw right tackle Abraham Lucas (knee) and left tackle Charles Cross (toe) leave with injuries.
The situation is so critical along the offensive line that Carroll confirmed the team has been in contact with 41-year-old veteran Jason Peters.
“He’s not here yet,” Carroll said.
Much of the offseason concern about Seattle’s defense was whether the changes made would result in a run defense that could be better than 30th in the league. While the Rams didn’t need to run the ball much with the success they had through the air, Seattle’s run defense was at least respectable in the opener. The Rams averaged 2.3 yards per carry and most notably limited Cam Akers to 29 yards rushing on 22 carries.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
There were plenty of issues for Seattle, but an offense that managed 12 yards and had just one first down in the second half has to be at the top of the list. The Seahawks ran just 14 offensive plays and had only 5:06 time of possession in the second half.
Seattle seemed rushed in the tempo of its offense at a time when the struggles probably called for the Seahawks to move slower. The loss of both starting offensive tackles early in the second half was also a factor in the offense going nowhere.
He was on the field more than Seattle would have liked because of the inability to stop the Rams on third down, but Wagner’s 19 tackles were the most any player in Week 1 entering the Monday night game and only one off his career high of 20 set in a 2021 game against Tennessee.
Metcalf should be praised for his first-half performance and the move he made on Derion Kendrick to catch a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave Seattle a 10-7 lead. But his lost of composure in the fourth quarter that included a questionable block on Rams cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and was followed by a personal foul taunting penalty only exasperated Seattle’s second-half issues. It’s the ninth time in Metcalf’s career he’s received a personal foul penalty, including unnecessary roughness and taunting.
Cross seems to be the more concerning of the injuries to the tackles after suffering a sprained toe in his right foot. Lucas’ issue that forced him to the sideline at halftime is the recurrence of a problem with the patella area in his knee.
Carroll did say there is a good chance rookie first-round pick Devon Witherspoon will make his debut at cornerback this week. Witherspoon missed the opener as he recovered from a hamstring injury that limited him during training camp.
2 — Seattle had just two quarterback hits and zero sacks against Stafford as the pass rush was nonexistent. Stafford was given plenty of time to find open receivers and only in a handful of drop-backs was pressured into making a rushed decision.
It doesn’t get easier for Seattle going to Detroit in Week 2. The Seahawks haven’t started a season 0-2 since 2018 when they lost their first two games on the road, but still managed to finish at 10-6. Seattle has started 0-2 three times under Carroll, but in all three occasions the Seahawks played their first two games on the road.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Tim Booth, The Associated Press