The Seahawks fell to the Rams 23-16 on Sunday, their second loss in as many weeks. Seattle entered the game with the NFL's most prolific offense, but production was hampered by turnovers and a depleted backfield. Russell Wilson and his dangerous receiving corps were shut out of the end zone for the first time this season. Despite Seattle's uncharacteristic struggles on offense, the Rams never led by more than ten points. "We were still there," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "We were (down) ten points with at least 12 minutes to go, which there's plenty of chance to get back. We just didn't find our ways."
Carroll touched on several other topics postgame including turnovers, defensive improvements, and Russell Wilson's performance.
Here is what we learned from the head coach.
There were too many similarities between last week's loss to the Bills and Sunday's loss to the Rams.
"Disappointed in this game that we didn't improve in some areas from last week," Carroll admitted. "We had trouble in the first half slowing them down. Kind of like the week before. Some things were similar. We have to not give stuff up. We have made enough mistakes here that we are giving plays to teams who are executing well, and they are making things happen. We are getting behind the sticks and they are rolling against the defense."
Seattle has to protect the football.
Seattle recorded seven turnovers in two games, doubling their season total. "I believe that we are going to take care of the football," Carroll said. "With all of the emphasis that we have on it, to turn the ball over, what is it seven times in the last two weeks? I don't recognize that kind of execution, where we are giving the ball up."
"We can't play football games and win games like that," Carroll later elaborated. "Can't win. Philosophically, that's so far against the grain from what we believe and how we practice and prepare for the last ten years, 20 years. It couldn't rub against the grain any more obviously. I'm worried about the fact that it's so loose in this game and last game. With one or two sometimes, but seven? That's too many. We got to get our act together. We just got to get better. We can't do that. We won't beat anybody turning the ball over like that."
Defense made improvements in the second half Sunday, but the team has to execute sooner.
"I want us to execute," Carroll explained. "I believe that we are going to start making the plays in the games early on that we've been making in practice. Stuff that we saw happen in practice, didn't happen in this game."
How about the second half improvements? The defense surrendered just six points in the final two quarters after giving up 17 points in the first half. "I was glad they gave us a chance to win the football game," said Carroll. "We had a shot, and it's too bad. But the reasons are, we need to execute better early and not give up stuff. There are reasons why I think, and maybe we can address this week and do some stuff to help us out."
Both quarterback and coach agree, Russell Wilson's first interception should not have happened.
Wilson threw two picks on Sunday. The first was a pass intended for Will Dissly that was intercepted by Rams cornerback Darious Williams in the end zone. "It was a bad play," Carroll admitted. "It was a decision that, rarely have we seen Russ do. He's on the other side of the field and moving that way and throwing the ball across. He does miraculous things often. That wasn't one of them. You know, I'm screaming for him to run because he could have got ten or 15 yards, I thought. And then all of a sudden, he chucked it and I thought, oh maybe he's got a touchdown. When Russ makes a decision to go for it, he's usually pretty darn good. For years. Years and years and years. And that one didn't work out. It was a mistake."
"The first decision is just a bad decision," Wilson later agreed. "I should have just took off and ran it. I was approaching the line and I saw Dissly sneak out early. I stepped up, slid, and thought I still had him. So just a bad decision. That's all that was."
Don't read too much into a quiet day for DK Metcalf.
Wilson targeted ten players on Sunday, but it wasn't until the third quarter that Metcalf caught a pass. Was it because Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey was covering Metcalf all day? Was there a conscious decision not to throw in his direction? Not according to Wilson. "We had every intention to do that, to get him the football," Wilson said of Metcalf. "And there was stuff called, the ball just didn't go there. We made a point at halftime, that that was the case. We knew he (Ramsey) is a really good player and all, but we certainly didn't have a game plan that we were going to stay away from him. That wasn't the case. We had all kinds of things that we could have done. That just wasn't the case. We just didn't do it."
Seattle's backfield continues to be plagued by injuries, and those factored into Alex Collins' starting role Sunday.
Running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were ruled out for the third consecutive game, while Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas both popped up on the injury report this week. The Seahawks responded by elevating Alex Collins from the practice squad over the weekend, and he started the game Sunday. "The fact that Homer barely made it to game time was part of it," said Carroll. "We needed to have the guys ready to play third downs. We thought it would give us a little bit more format if we went with Alex as kind of the starter and lead guy, and use the other two guys, DeeJay and Travis, to make the third down stuff and the passing game stuff fit together. Alex couldn't practice Thursday or Friday like we wanted him to. He was just a little bit stiff from the week before and all. So we just went into the game hoping that he would be okay, and the three guys would be able to work it out."
The Seahawks have a short week to prepare for another NFC West foe, the Arizona Cardinals. If Carson is able to return for Thursday Night Football, it would add depth and experience to the backfield.
"I won't know until we get to game time probably," Carroll said. "Probably go all the way to Thursday on this one. We'll keep our fingers crossed, we'd love to have him back."
Carroll stands behind his decision not to go for it on 4*th*and inches in the third quarter.
"That early in the game, when there was so much going on and so many opportunities, I didn't want to give them the ball at the 40-yard line. That's a turnover. That's just like you handed them an interception if you don't make it. If they penetrate and make a play in the backfield and get you out, knowing that Mikey (Dickson) will kick the ball inside the 10-yard line and do something good with that, we'll go ahead and play defense. That's believing that we're going to be alright. There's times when you go for it, when the logic doesn't add up the same. But in that one right there, it was too early in the game. I was believing in our guys that we were going to pull it off and get back and have plenty of time to play well, and I didn't want to give them a turnover right there. I just felt like it wasn't worth it."
However, Carroll admitted he fought a personal desire to go for it.
"The logic of saying, because we are such a high-scoring team we should go for it right there, doesn't fit in my brain. I don't understand that. That really isn't the case right there. It's really about playing the game more than the potential of our play and all that kind of stuff. You know the players would love to go for it, I know that. And I'd love to go for it too, so I have to work against my nature to go ahead and kick that ball right there, but I would probably do it the same way again."
The best photos from Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Fueled by Nesquik.