The Seattle Seahawks were stunned on Wild Card weekend as they were upset by divisional rival, the Los Angeles Rams.
In what was a shocking defeat to most, the Los Angeles Rams upset the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. Quite frankly, no one was more stunned than the Seahawks team itself. This locker room had high aspirations of getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2014. Now, their lockers are cleaned out and this origination must decide what’s next. The defeat suffered to the Rams can be credited to the dominant defensive play of Los Angeles. Their relentless pass rush knocked Wilson out of any rhythm and was able to score a defensive touchdown.
Needless to say, 12s all over are disappointed in the result. Just three weeks ago, when these two teams met in Week 16, the Seahawks made a statement. The numerous defensive stops along with the clutch play of Wilson in the second half led many to believe the Seahawks were the best team in the West. In fact, that was partially the reason many believed the Seahawks would walk away victorious this past Saturday. But, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Here are 5 takeaways from the Wild Card defeat.
Third Down Struggles
The seemingly endless third down struggles of the Seattle Seahawks continued in the Wild Card round. They finished the season with an average of around 40% on third down conversions. Which, on the surface, doesn’t appear bad, but ranks in the bottom half of the league. Week after week, it was becoming a more glaring issue as they failed to convert on third downs. At one point, it was due to being in 3rd and distances too often. The lack of pass protection plus penalties caused this Seahawks team to pin themselves against the wall on third down.
Well, that appeared to be the case in the Wild Card round. Whether it was one of the five sacks or one of the nine penalties, the Seahawks found themselves in the deep end. In fact, their first third down conversion came in the 3rd quarter. In fairness, the Seahawks did have a couple of short 3rd down attempts, which failed. The running backs were unable to gain the 2 yards to keep the chains moving.
Over the last month of the season when the offense was struggling to put the ball in the end zone, many accredited the poor play to the lack of rhythm. A large reason for that lack of consistency in moving the ball was due to third down woes. It is no surprise that they once again struggled on third down. In the regular season, you can mask third down struggles by hitting a ton of explosive plays down the field (which the Seahawks were quite successful at in the first half of the season).
But, come playoff time, 3rd down conversions can make or break a team. Unfortunately for Seattle, it broke them as they failed to sustain any drives with numerous 3rd down failures.