Just like that, it’s over.
Two weeks after the Seahawks beat this same Rams team to win the NFC West title, Seattle completely collapsed at home against its divisional rival in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Columnist Larry Stone wrote that the season can now be seen as “an abject failure.” Columnist Matt Calkins called it “a 60-minute choke job.”
The Seahawks offense had struggled to move the ball consistently for weeks. It completely fell apart against the Rams’ suffocating defense, outside of one vintage Russ-to-DK connection on a broken play that ultimately provided hope where there was none.
As for the defense, which did its best to keep the Seahawks in the game into the fourth quarter, look no further than Rams running back Cam Akers’ stat line.
So, where does Seattle go from here? The re-evaluation starts now.
Here’s what the national media had to say about the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff loss to the Rams and the offseason that arrived sooner than expected in Seattle.
MMQB’s Gary Gramling named a few regrets for the Seahawks, including DK Metcalf’s sideline outburst early in the game, and asks: Who are the Seahawks offensively?
They came into the year letting Russ cook and it started fast, resulted in a midseason meltdown, and then they backed off. But the old-school run-and-play-action offense ran out of steam for what seems like the 53rd straight year. You try not to overreact considering the tough late-season set of defenses, but it feels like a back-to-the-drawing-board offseason in Seattle, or at least a discussion of whether they can live with the turnovers if it might avoid another postseason performance like this. They have one playoff win over the past four seasons — and it was over the Josh McCown-led Eagles.
Gramling also believes “the Seahawks need a new plan for Jamal Adams.”
He can’t be left singled up with any receivers — let alone very good receivers — as often as he was during his first season in Seattle; opposing quarterbacks see a bright neon arrow over his head every time it happens. He is a dynamic blitzer and run defender, and he offers plenty to a defensive coordinator, but this staff is going to continue to have buyer’s remorse if they think this is how they can use him.
NFL.com’s Kevin Patra wrote that “Pete Carroll has to re-evaluate his club” this offseason.
Winning the difficult NFC West was an admirable accomplishment, but it shouldn’t mask the issues in Seattle. The offense stumbled mightily down the stretch, culminating in Saturday’s face-plant. The offensive line remains an issue, but as is the play-calling and consistency. When asking Wilson to spin magic is your best plan, the operation is flawed. We’ve seen Seattle’s offense play up-and-down ball before. Carroll’s more significant issue is that his defense has been thrashed this year. After beating up on weaker teams down the stretch, the problems reared their head against a one-dimensional team in the Super Wild Card Round. Bobby Wagner was all over the field, compiling 16 tackles and a sack, and Jarran Reed earned two sacks. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to write home about for a Seattle D that couldn’t stop an injured QB. It’s the latest disappointing playoff exit for a Carroll-coached Seahawks squad that hasn’t made it past the Divisional Round since 2014.
The Ringer’s Danny Heifetz’s biggest question after Seattle’s loss is very straightforward: “What the hell happened to the Seahawks?”
Facing an elite defense isn’t the only reason Seattle collapsed. The Seahawks’ offense plays like they still have a Hall of Fame-caliber Legion of Boom defense. They don’t. Seattle’s defense allowed the most passing yards through nine games in NFL history this season. It clawed its way back to mediocrity once safety Jamal Adams returned from injury and defensive end Carlos Dunlap arrived via trade. Against the Rams, the Seahawks kept Wilson corked as a game manager even as their defense proved unable to contain Rams running back Cam Akers. … The defense isn’t good anymore, yet Pete Carroll coaches as though he’s unaware of that fact. … The most important decision the Seahawks have to make is whether they are going to build an offense around Wilson or continue worshipping at the altar of turnover margin so devoutly they forsake outscoring their opponents. The Seahawks are obsessed with their Legion of Boom past, but they should look at more recent history for building the future of their team.