SEATTLE – As it turns out, Pete Carroll and Richard Sherman were both right.
Two days after Sherman called Thursday Night Football a “poopfest,” and three days after Carroll said he was happy for the opportunity to quickly move past an ugly loss to Green Bay, the Seattle Seahawks cleansed their palettes with an ugly, NFC West-clinching 24-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks gave up 96 yards on 13 penalties, racked up only 97 yards rushing, watched the refs make terrible call after terrible call – and still came away with a victory in frigid weather.
It was a rough night for the referees, who had a difficult time spotting the ball. Before the first quarter was over, Carroll had challenged the spot three times, winning two. By the end of that stretch, he was out of challenges for the game.
So how did the Seahawks do it?
Well, the defense did its job. The Seahawks sacked quarterback Jared Goff four times, holding the Rams to 173 total yards as they got at least some of their swagger back.
Russell Wilson did his job too, after a slow start. Wilson was 19-for-26 yards passing, including a beautiful 57-yard pass to Tyler Lockett in the fourth quarter that pushed the score to 24-3.
Lockett had a very nice game himself, catching 7 passes for 130 yards and that TD.
The Seahawks got on the board first, as a Russell Wilson to Luke Wilson 8-yard touchdown pass and a Steve Hauschka field goal put them up 10-0.
But even as the Seahawks put the game in hand in the third quarter, dissension emerged on the sideline. After Doug Baldwin scored on a 1-yard TD reception that would make it 17-3, Sherman was seen screaming at offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Seattle had two scares in the fourth quarter. The worst came when they ran a fake punt, up 24-3 with just over five minutes left. Punter Jon Ryan escaped for a long run up the middle, eventually bobbling the ball and fumbling while getting knocked cold by the Rams’ Troy Hill.
Earlier in the quarter, Michael Bennett didn’t immediately pop up after a monster hit on Rams running back Todd Gurley. Bennett eventually was helped to the sideline and went to the training room, and the team said he was put through the concussion protocol.
The Rams had a scare of their own, when Richard Sherman flew across the field midway through the fourth quarter and sent a scrambling Goff to the locker room with a vicious hit near the end zone.
The Seahawks are now gunning for the No. 2 seed in the NFC, which would mean a first-round bye and a home game in the second round. No matter what, they will get at least one home playoff game.
They finish up the regular season at home against the Arizona Cardinals, in a 1:25 p.m. game on Christmas Eve, then on the road against the San Francisco 49ers on New Year’s Day.
Both games will be televised on the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.