The Seahawks lost to the Rams Thursday night to fall to 2-3, and to make matters worse, quarterback Russell Wilson left the game with a finger injury, marking the first time in his 10-year career he has not finished a game due to injury.
The Seahawks will now take a little time off to recover from this loss, then head to Pittsburgh in Week 6 looking to bounce back from a tough loss. Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle's 26-17 loss to the Rams:
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1. Russell Wilson left the game with a rare injury.
When Russell Wilson hit his finger on Aaron Donald's arm while following through on a throw, TV cameras showed Wilson's middle finger bent at an unnatural angle, but he stayed on the field for the next play, a third-down handoff, then returned to the field for Seattle's next possession.
The next time the Seahawks had the ball, however, Geno Smith took over, and the veteran backup finished the game in place of Wilson.
Wilson missing the entire fourth quarter marked, by a significant margin, the most playing time he has ever missed due to injury in his 10-year career. Wilson has briefly left games due to injury and then quickly returned, most recently in a 2017 game at Arizona when he was evaluated for a concussion, but prior to Thursday he had never failed to finish a game due to injury.
2. Geno Smith was impressive when he finally got his chance.
Being the backup to Russell Wilson can be a somewhat thankless job at times thanks to Wilson's durability. Geno Smith, for example, Smith has been Wilson's backup since 2019, but prior to Thursday he had appeared in two games, throwing only five passes, all in mop-up duty.
Coaches and teammates have long spoken highly of what they've seen from Smith in practice, however, and on Thursday the former Jets starter showed why his team has so much faith in him even if he rarely gets on the field.
Smith took over Seattle's offense in about as unideal of circumstances as possible, with the Seahawks starting a drive at their 2-yard line and needing a score to stay in the game. All Smith did in his first meaningful playing time as a Seahawk was lead a 10-play, 98-yard scoring drive on which he completed 7-of-7 passes for 72 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf.
The next time he took the field, with the Lumen Field crowd chanting "Geno! Geno! Geno!" Smith led another scoring drive that ended with a Jason Myers field goal. Unfortunately for Smith and the Seahawks, Smith's third drive ended on an interception when Tyler Lockett got tripped up, leading to an easy interception that all but cliched the game for the Rams.
Yet even if the game didn't end the way Smith and the Seahawks wanted it to, it was still a very impressive showing for a quarterback who for two-plus seasons never got to show what he could do.
3. The defense was really good in the first half, but couldn't get the stops it needed in the second half.
For one half, anyway, it looked like Seattle's defense was going to put forth its most impressive performance of the season. Against one of the NFL's most potent offenses, the Seahawks allowed only a single field goal in the first half, got an interception from Quandre Diggs, held the Rams to 0 for 5 on third down, and force three punts against a team that had punted only eight times in its first four games.
In the second half, however, Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense got going in a big way, scoring touchdown on three of their first four possessions to take control of the game, including drives of 96 and 82 yards.
The Rams did a lot of things well in the second half, but the biggest challenge for the Seahawks was containing receiver Robert Woods, who finished with 150 yards on 12 catches.
4. DK Metcalf had his best game against a tough Rams defense.
Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf against Rams corner Jalen Ramsey is a must-watch matchup every time these teams meet, and on Thursday Metcalf had his best game yet against Ramsey and the Rams, catching five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Not all of that damage came with Ramsey in coverage, but Metcalf did catch a 19-yard touchdown on a slant route with Ramsey in coverage, and he also spun the All-Pro corner around with some nifty route-running on a 25-yard catch in the first quarter.
Ramsey made his mark on the game as well, however, breaking up a pass intended for Tyler Lockett, leading to an interception.
5. Michael Dickson is a darn magician.
Early in the third quarter, Michael Dickson dropped a punt inside the 10-yad line with the ball bouncing straight up, allowing Jon Rhattigan to down it at the 4-yard line. It was a 51-yard punt that stopped on a dime. That punt, while impressive, was almost commonplace for one of the NFL's best punters.
What Dickson did later in the game, however, was crazy even by his standards. With the Seahawks punting from their 21-yard line, Rams linebacker Jamir Jones got free through the middle of the line and blocked the punt, but the play was far from over. With the ball spinning like a top, Dickson scooped it up on the run with one hand, then punted it again just as he reached the line of scrimmage. With the punt returner coming up following the block, the ball landed untouched and got a good bounce, and rolled all the way to the 11-yard line for a 68-yard punt.
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Los Angeles Rams for Thursday Night Football during Week 5 of the 2021 season at Lumen Field. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington Lottery.