LOS ANGELES -- Shaquill Griffin wasn’t bashful about calling a spade a spade following the Seahawks ugly, 28-12, loss to the Rams in Week 14. The primetime defeat was decisive on both sides of the football as the Rams built an early lead and never looked back.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to them,” Griffin said. “Their game plan was good. Their scheme was good. They took advantage of that. The main thing we have to do is go back to the drawing board and figure out what happened – what went wrong and what went right.”
The Rams offense did most of its damage in the first half. Jared Goff completed 15-of-18 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns over the first two quarters. Malcolm Brown added a third touchdown on the ground in what was a 21-0 run for Los Angeles.
Seattle’s defense struggled to get comfortable in the early going and it showed. Goff had all day to throw and was playing catch with wide open receivers. Griffin didn’t use the word predictable, but he suggested that the Rams knew exactly how to carve up the Seahawks secondary.
“What was different was the routes we were seeing, they cut them a little shorter,” Griffin said. “They saw the open windows. They saw the open spots. I feel like they knew what coverage we were in. … They sat in windows that we didn’t go over.”
Beyond being handled from a schematics standpoint, the Seahawks were beat on an emotional level as well. The Rams were in a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive, and it showed. Seattle had an opportunity to leave Week 14 atop the entire NFC, and yet there was zero urgency to suggest as much.
Griffin admitted that his team didn’t have the mental edge required given the quality opponent, the stakes of the game and the primetime spotlight.
“We came in thinking like, ‘OK, this game, we’ve already got it won.’ That’s the part that we have to do better and we will,” he explained.
Seattle entered Sunday’s game as winners of five straight. On the heels of three standout defensive performances, it appeared that the Seahawks were on the verge of having everything come together for the home stretch. Instead they were humbled in front of a national audience.
The wake-up call can be a positive as long as the proper lessons are learned and the necessary adjustments are made.
“I feel like we were on a high horse at the time,” Griffin said. “That’s not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it takes that little loss to make you feel like, ‘You know what? We can’t act like we’re just the best team out there. We can’t come in thinking we’re automatically going to win this game.’”
Griffin took ownership of his part in Seattle’s lopsided defeat. Seattle’s top corner back and budding leader in the locker room assumed the blame for a few of Los Angeles’ key offensive plays.
Griffin allowed Rams tight end Tyler Higbee to beat him up the right sideline in the first half for a 33-yard gain. He also gave up a 2-yard touchdown to Robert Woods in the second quarter.
“I feel like I didn’t have the game that I usually have,” he said. “I didn’t play well. I have to do better. I have to do more for my team, and I will. I will do better.”
The loss isn’t catastrophic from Seattle’s standpoint. It’s unlikely that the Seahawks claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but the NFC West crown is still well within reach. Seattle can win the division by winning out, including the highly-anticipated matchup against the 49ers in Week 17.
“It’s still there. We still believe. We still have the chance to control our own destiny and we will,” Griffin said. “I feel like this is going to be a whole different team come Carolina next weekend.”
The Seahawks know they laid an egg on Sunday night. How they respond, especially against a reeling Panthers team in Week 15, will be telling.