Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett both have a unique way of reacting to a loss. They won’t harp on any one thing in particular, and then they’ll offer the typical “we didn’t execute well enough” clichés before turning the page as quickly as possible.
Let me make this clear, there’s nothing wrong with that at face value. Wilson and Lockett are team leaders tasked with keeping the ship moving forward, especially in adverse times like the Seahawks 28-12 loss to the Rams on Sunday night.
“I think that we didn’t match the execution (of the Rams) more than anything else,” Wilson said. “When it comes down to playing a great football team, us being a great football team, we’ve got to execute when it matters and some of those plays we didn’t.”
Wilson wasn’t wrong. Seattle was outgained by Los Angeles 455-308, had 10 fewer first downs and converted just 5-of-14 third downs while the Rams went 7-of-13. Wilson and Co. were kept out of the end zone and the quarterback's streak of 16-straight games with at least one passing touchdown came to an end.
While he and Lockett will never be as candid as Shaquill Griffin was following the ugly defeat on primetime, there were still a few troublesome quotes from those two.
In their respective evaluations of what went wrong, both Wilson and Lockett pointed to a lack of opportunities early in the game. After an opening drive field goal, Seattle went seven-straight drives without points. The Rams went on a 21-0 run during that span.
“It felt like we didn’t have the ball really until the fourth quarter,” Wilson said. “And then we started throwing and making some plays and doing the things we wanted to do.”
That’s not true, though, as Seattle had more time of possession in the first half, 15:17-14:43. Lockett was under the same impression as Wilson – that there was a lack of opportunities.
“They executed their offensive game plan really well,” he said. “They were holding the ball a lot, and we weren’t really having a lot of possessions to be able to do what we wanted to do. They were controlling the game, and it took us out of our element. We had to hurry up and try to rush the game plan more to try to get the ball going, to try to get the touchdown going so we could get back in the game.”
The Rams did execute really well out of the gate, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. But Seattle’s offense – its passing game in particular – has enough firepower to be able to respond. It’s why the Seahawks were able to keep pace and ultimately beat the Rams in a 30-29 shootout in Week 5. It’s why Seattle was able to erase a 20-6 deficit and top the Browns in Week 6. I could go on.
Seattle’s 7-2 start was due primarily to Wilson’s MVP-level first half of the season and his uncanny chemistry with Lockett. It’s no coincidence that their lack of production together is why the Seahawks passing attack has sputtered of late.
Lockett dealt with a leg contusion and the flu in Weeks 10, 12 and 13, but what was the issue against the Rams? How was Los Angeles able to keep Wilson to 245 yards and no touchdowns and Lockett to just four receptions for 43 yards?
“I just think that we’ve been running the ball more,” Lockett said. “We haven’t been focused much on trying to air-raid the ball like we kind of did earlier on. I think a lot of teams are trying to force us to run the ball instead of trying to force the throw all the time. We’ve been taking what teams give us to run the ball early on.”
That, right there, is alarming. Championship caliber teams should be able to dictate the tempo beyond just taking what a defense gives them, especially when trailing 21-3 in a pivotal primetime matchup. Seattle had every chance to get back into the contest. The defense cleaned things up at halftime, only giving up seven points over the final two quarters, and even scored a touchdown on Quandre Diggs’ pick-six.
But the Seahawks passing game remained anemic from start to finish. It was a low point amid a four-game stretch in which Wilson hasn’t topped 245 yards. And this quote from Lockett may be the most concerning of all.
“We haven’t been running plays to be explosive,” Lockett said. “We’ve been running plays to run the ball and control the clock. We haven’t really been trying to go over the top like we normally have because teams have been game-planning it.”
That strategy works in games like Seattle’s wins against Philadelphia and Minnesota where the Seahawks defense was stout, and the running game was churning out yards with ease. But when Plan A has to go out the window, as it did in Los Angeles, you have to have a counter punch. The Seahawks simply didn’t have one against the Rams.
Perspective is still important as long as Seattle can figure things out in the days leading up to its Week 15 road game against the Panthers. The reality is that the Seahawks, now 10-3, are still in a great spot to win the NFC West if they take care of their own business. That’s what Wilson and Lockett chose to focus on following Sunday’s eye-opening loss.
“Just let it go,” Lockett said of how he plans to handle the defeat. “We’ve still got three more games. We’re in a great position. On to Carolina. Just keep on playing, learn from it and just move on. It’s nothing to just sit and nod your head and get mad about.”
I’d agree. Sunday’s loss wasn’t one to lose sleep about. But squandering an opportunity to win the NFC West and ending up with the No. 5 seed in the postseason would be regretful, which is why the Seahawks need a sense of urgency it clearly lacked against the Rams.