SEATTLE – After a wild, hard-fought afternoon, it all came down to two quick penalties.
The Seattle Seahawks blew a chance to beat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon, as their potential go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter stalled out after two penalties in field goal range and they lost a pivotal division matchup, 33-31, at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle had a chance to move to 3-2 and within a game of the Rams in the NFC West, but instead heads to London next weekend badly needing a win over the Raiders to keep its season alive.
Nobody can say they didn’t have a chance, but those penalties were an absolute killer. The Seahawks drove down to the Rams’ 35-yard line with 3:53 to play, but were forced to punt after a false-start penalty by Germain Ifedi and a holding call on D.J. Fluker stranded them at 4th and 23 on the Rams’ 45-yard line with 3:38 to play.
"I was pretty frustrated because we put ourselves in a position to win," coach Pete Carroll said after the game.
The Rams sealed it with 1:22 left, as Jared Goff sneaked for a first down on 4th-and-1, as coach Sean McVay called his punt team off the field and decided to go for it instead.
It was a fittingly wild end to a wild game.
Frank Clark, who seemed to be everywhere at times after landing in the hospital last week with food poisoning, got things started out of the gate when he kept the Seahawks from falling in an early hole. After the Seahawks went three-and-out on their first possession, Michael Dickson’s punt was blocked and the Rams wound up with the ball at Seattle’s 12-yard line. They drove to the 2, but Jared Goff’s pass was tipped by Tre Flowers and Clark snagged it and ran back to the 26 with just over 10 minutes left in the first quarter – Seattle’s 10th takeaway of the season.
Seattle got on the board first when it drove down and scored on Mike Davis’ 6-yard touchdown run with 4:30 left in the first quarter, a nine-play, 74-yard drive highlighted by Russell Wilson’s shovel pass to tight end Nick Vannett, who rumbled for 32 yards to put Seattle up 7-0.
The Seahawks’ second touchdown of the game came about largely thanks to Tyler Lockett. Lockett returned a kickoff 42 yards after L.A.’s second-quarter field goal, then sealed the deal with a 39-yard touchdown reception from Wilson with 9:11 left in the second quarter that put Seattle ahead 14-10. It was Lockett’s fourth touchdown in five games.
The Seahawks got back on the board and back in the lead on their first drive of the second half on the strength of their suddenly surging running game, as Davis broke free and went 37 yards – with Wilson chipping in as lead blocker - to put the Seahawks on the Rams’ 31. Chris Carson followed that up with a 9-yard run, then a 5-yarder for a first down. David Moore capped the drive with his first NFL touchdown, a 6-yard reception from Wilson that made it 24-17 with 10:34 to play in the third quarter.
Moore got the Seahawks back in the end zone later in the third quarter, hauling in a 30-yard Wilson pass to put the Seahawks in the lead at 31-24.
The roller-coaster was particularly wild at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Rams elected to go for it on a fourth-and-2 on Seattle’s 10. Shaquill Griffin was called for pass interference on the play, setting up Todd Gurley’s 5-yard touchdown run, Gurley’s third of the game. But the Cairo Santo point-after attempt was no good, and Seattle held a 31-30 lead with 14:54 to play.
Wilson had a solid game, completing 13-of-21 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Lockett was the Seahawks' leading receiver, with three catches for 98 yards and that touchdown, while tight end Nick Vannett had three catches for 43 yards and Moore had three catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
The running game continued to be a bright spot. Carson had his second 100-yard game of the season, with 19 carries for 116 yards, while Mike Davis had 12 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks had a rough time solving Goff, who ended up completing 23-of-32 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown, though he did through two interceptions. And Gurley found the end zone three times as he carried 22 times for 77 yards.
Seattle returns next week to face the Oakland Raiders in London at 10 a.m. in a game that will be televised on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.