St.Louis (News-Tribune) – The Seahawks’ tried to beat the Rams at their own, special-teams game.
And after spending all offseason believing – knowing – Marshawn Lynch could gain 1 yard with the game on the line – he could not. Not behind Seattle’s new, swarmed offensive line.
Coach Pete Carroll’s decision to try an onside kick to begin overtime backfield. All it took for the Rams to get in position for the lead was one first down, one pass over All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. That led to Greg Zuerlein’s go-ahead field goal to begin the extra period.
On the Seahawks’ ensuing drive that had to end in a score per NFL overtime rules, Lynch tried to run left on 4th and 1 from the St. Louis 42. He got engulfed by half the Rams defense to stunningly end Sunday’s opener, Seattle’s 34-31 loss at the Edward Jones Dome.
It was Seattle’s third loss in four games here.
Seven months earlier, the Seahawks didn’t give the ball to Lynch on from 1-yard line in the final minute of the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson’s interception instead and that loss to New England has stung the Pacific Northwest since.
This one had far less on the line. But it was almost equally galling.
Before all that …
Rookie Tyler Lockett took the first ball he touched in an NFL regular-season game back 57 yards for the Seahawks’ first punt-return touchdown in eight years.
New tight end Jimmy Graham caught the touchdown pass that began a 17-point rally in the fourth quarter.
Offseason free-agent signing Cary Williams then blitzed free from the backside of Rams quarterback Nick Foles, knocked out the ball, recovered the fumble and ran in for the go-ahead touchdown.
But for the second time in as many real games, the Seahawks’ defense that has been the NFL’s top-rated the last two seasons failed to hold a fourth-quarter lead.
The Rams drove 84 yards in 3:46. Dion Bailey, the fill-in for holdout Kam Chancellor at strong safety – the 2014 practice-squad rookie who last week said he hoped the Rams would target him because it would make his “coming-out party more exciting” – fell down trying to cover tight end Lance Kendricks down the left side. Kendricks caught the pass easily from Foles for the touchdown that forced overtime.
Maybe Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was right last week when likened to “a Twilight Zone.”
Down 24-14 entering the fourth quarter with the two-thirds full dome unexpectedly jumpin’, Wilson began getting the ball out quickly against the Rams’ incessant blitzing. And Lynch starting romping for huge rushing gains. On third and goal from 7 Lynch got just enough of a blitzing Ram to allow Wilson to throw to Graham just inside the goal line for the new tight ends first touchdown as a Seahawk.
Lynch then carried a Ram across the goal line for the two-point conversion that made it 24-21 and got Seattle in position to rally.
But offensive-line issues and a defense that blew coverages throughout the day ultimately doomed the Seahawks. Wilson got sacked six times Sunday, and has been sacked 18 times in four career games at St. Louis.