SEATTLE – Look on the bright side: If the Seattle Seahawks needed to get a bad game out of their system, Sunday was the time to do it.
And boy, was it ever a bad game.
The Seahawks (9-6) couldn’t find an answer to intense pressure from St. Louis’ vaunted defensive front, and Russell Wilson spent the day running for his life in a 23-17 loss to the Rams (7-8) at CenturyLink Field.
It was the first time in Wilson’s NFL career – a span of 62 games going into Sunday – that the Seahawks didn’t hold a lead at any point in the game. Wilson endured four sacks, 12 hits and countless hurries as the Rams’ defensive line dominated the Seahawks offensive line.
Fortunately for Seattle, it was the first game all season in which the stakes weren’t incredibly high. The Seahawks clinched a wild-card berth last week with a victory over Cleveland, and the only thing remaining to be decided is whether they’ll be the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the NFC.
The Seahawks fumbled five times, losing two of them, and Wilson’s streak of five games without an interception came to an end.
Though Wilson's numbers weren't as eye-popping as they've been in recent weeks, he still managed to to complete 25 of 41 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns despite nearly constant pressure. Wilson has 31 touchdown passes this season, with a shot at the franchise record of 33 next week.
The Seahawks struggled to get their running game going, as their streak of 25 straight games with at least 100 yards rushing came to the end. They managed only 60 yards on the ground, led by Wilson’s 39. Fred Jackson was the next leading rusher, with two carries for 11 yards.
Seattle was an 11-point favorite heading into the game.
Things weren’t all bad, of course. Receiver Doug Baldwin made franchise history yet again, setting the team record for touchdown receptions in a season with his 14th, and joining Steve Largent and Joey Galloway as the only Seahawks with 10 TD catches and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Largent and Galloway both did it twice.
Baldwin also joined Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Art Powell as the only players to have at least 11 TD catches in a five-game span. He had eight catches for 118 yards.
It was the largest crowd in CenturyLink Field history at 69,080.
Seattle has a chance to get back on track next week when it closes out the regular season on the road at the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals.