For one half, anyway, things were going pretty well for the Seahawks.
Sure, the Seahawks felt like they left some points on field, settling for three field goal attempts while finding the end zone just once, and yes, the Rams did put together a long touchdown drive early in the first quarter, but Seattle still went to the locker room with a 13-7 lead feeling like they were heading in the right direction.
Then the second half began, and things went south in a hurry for the Seahawks, who managed just one first down and didn't score a point in the second half, while the Rams pulled away with 23 second-half points, scoring on all five possessions on their way to a 30-13 victory.
"That was a really frustrating start for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "The Rams did really well. They took care of the ball and did a nice job. I have a lot of respect for Sean (McVay) and the job that he does. They did a heck of a job today. First half we had the ball four times and we got in scoring position. We didn't get our touchdowns out of the drives, missed field goal, and it felt like we were moving and we were in control of that part of it, but the second half we just couldn't get any first downs. Couldn't make the ball go. Got harder as the game went on and we didn't do well."
In addition to the offense's second-half struggles, the biggest issue for the Seahawks was their third-down defense. While the Seahawks did do a good job stopping the run, holding the Rams to 2.3 yards per rush attempt, they could not get the Rams offense off the field, with Matthew Stafford and company converting on 11 of 17 third downs, including eight of their first 10.
"On the other side of the ball was a third down disaster for us, 11 for 17, so great job by Stafford," Carroll said. "He's just that good. We gave him opportunities. We didn't get heat on him, and we needed to generate it. I look at a little bit of misjudgment on my part that we would be able to do things we've been doing and be able to play a good football game. Didn't work out that way. We needed to pressure them more and get heat on them to cover them up and get off the darn field."
While there isn't anything the Seahawks can do about the way they played on Sunday, they do know there is a long season still ahead of them, and that the task at hand now is to respond the right way to that loss and get ready to face the Lions in Detroit next weekend.
"This is a big challenge for us to bounce back," Carroll said. "Look what we're going against. Going to go against one of the hottest teams in the world coming up in Detroit. We'll see how this goes. Now it's about us digging back into it. We've done a ton of the right stuff all the way through. I've been telling you how the preparation has gone. When it matched up and came time, we weren't able to get off the field like we thought we would be able to. They did a nice job taking care of it and didn't give us the football other than the blocked kick. That's enough to play a good football game if they can take care of the ball, and they did. We've got a lot of work to do."
Quarterback Geno Smith, who like the rest of the team enjoyed a better first half than second, expects this loss to be a learning experience that a young team that use as they move forward this season.
"We got to understand we got to go earn it every play, every down, every single game," Smtih said. "It's the NFL. I know we got a lot of young guys who for their first time are playing regular season football and might not know how hard you got to play to go out there and get wins. They don't come easy, and so I think this is going to be a great learning experience for us. I think we can look at these moments later in the season and say that we gained from it. Obviously, it stinks today and it sucks. Really does. I hate losing. I don't like losing. But the one thing I do know about this team and myself is that we're going to get back to work and come tomorrow, really starting tonight, I'm going to get back to work and fix things and figure out how to be better for next week."
Asked if a loss like this is a wake-up call for the team, Smith said, "I hope so. It better be. You know, we don't lose at home. We can't do that. Let alone in this fashion. So for a lot of guys around here, including myself, we got to look ourselves in the mirror, point the finger, and figure out how to get better."
Bobby Wagner, playing in his first game back with the Seahawks after re-signing this offseason, knew the Rams would put up a good fight despite last year's 5-12 record, and said this loss is a good reminder that every team in the NFL can be dangerous despite records or external expectations. But Wagner also wants to make sure his team realizes that a Week 1 dud doesn't have to define the team's season.
"This is the NFL, and you're going to get their best shot," Wagner said. "Regardless of the record, regardless of the team, they're going to come back. Those guys get paid, too. Those guys have families, too, that they're trying to feed. So, you need to bring your A game every single time you step on the field. So, you take that, but at the same time you understand this is week 1. There are 16 more games left. There's a lot of teams that start off 8-0 and fade to the back; there's a lot of teams that struggle in the beginning, and catch fire right before the playoffs. It's the team that takes their losses and learn from their mistakes throughout the course of the season, play better, have camaraderie that's going be, I believe, at the end, happy with the results."
Quandre Diggs, Seattle's defensive co-captain along with Wagner, is "super confident" the team will respond in the right way.
"I don't lose faith that I have in my team over one week," he said. "I think we will be fine, sometimes it's good to have a wake-up call early in the season and we got it over with now. We got punched in the chin, we have to see how we come out and fight, and come out and fight next week."
For the Seahawks to bounce back in Detroit next week, they'll need to do a lot of things better, most notably figure out how to get stops on third down and to find ways to sustain drives on offense throughout four quarters, and Carroll says that turnaround has to start with him and the coaching staff helping players succeed.
"We didn't finish the way we needed to," Carroll said. "It's really obvious. Why that happened, we've got to go back to work and see what we can do to help the guys. I have a big role in this. I've got to make sure I am helping our guys on defense and make sure that the assessments we make on offense, we can count on better than we did. We just didn't execute like we thought we could."
Check out some of the best action shots from the season opener vs the Rams at Lumen Field on September 10, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery. This gallery will be updated throughout the game.