Breaking down the turning point in Seattle Seahawks frustrating Week 11 loss

A lot went wrong for the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of Week 11. But, penalties were costly, especially one that came in the 4th quarter.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Frustration is spewing over a disappointing Seattle Seahawks Week 11 loss. Offensive struggles were once again on display as the Seahawks converted their first 4 third downs, and then went 1/11 for the remainder of this ball game. In part, injuries are attributed to that as both Kenneth Walker III and Geno Smith missed significant time. Walker played only 7 snaps before hurting his oblique while Geno missed the majority of the 4th quarter after taking a helmet to his bicep area.

In spite of that, the Seattle Seahawks still positioned themselves to win this game. An indication of a good team is finding different ways to win games. Ultimately falling short, and doing enough to win this game should keep the confidence in the locker room. This game was more about the Seahawks losing it, rather than the Rams winning it.

Seattle had 12 penalties, giving up 130 yards, and shooting themselves in the foot time after time, especially on big downs. One penalty in particular really helped this Rams team cut into the lead and gather enough momentum to finish the 4th quarter comeback.

The game-changer in Seattle Seahawks Week 11 loss: Costly 4th quarter penalty

Now, I understand, that to blame the outcome of a game on one penalty may not seem fair. However, the timing of the penalty and the results directed from it proved to be costly. When Geno Smith got hurt, the Seahawks were enjoying a 16-7 lead at the start of the 4th quarter. After a Tariq Woolen interception, the Seattle Seahawks had a three-and-out.

On the ensuing Rams drive, points were critical as they were staring down an 11-point deficit with just over 12 minutes remaining. Piecing together a 12-play drive that consumed 4 minutes and 45 seconds off the clock, Los Angeles scored a touchdown, making the score 16-14 with just under 8 minutes left in the game. But, the Rams should never scored a touchdown on that drive.

The old bend but don't break mantra seemed to be in play as Seattle did enough to prevent Los Angeles from getting into the end zone. On 3rd and 5 from the Seahawks 5-yard line, Matthew Stafford's pass to Puka Nacua was incomplete, until Devon Witherspoon was penalized for defensive pass interference.

Typically, on these 3rd and short down and distances, teams will line up in man-to-man coverage. Even more so, when the field is shortened, like in this case. Lined up in the slot, Devon Witherspoon is matched up with Puka Nacua, who ends up running a crossing route. When watching the clip, you can clearly see Puka Nacua tangle legs with Quandre Diggs, who is roaming around in the free safety position (which is not enough to justify a pass interference penalty).

Devon Witherspoon does absolutely nothing to impede his route and in fact, doesn't even put his hands on him. I know Tariq Woolen was penalized for illegal hands to the face on the Rams' next scoring drive. A play that kept the drive going as Woolen was penalized on 3rd and 15. However, this penalty carried more significance in this game as it was a missed call.

If no flag was thrown, I highly doubt McVay and company would have gone for it. Settling for a field goal, making the score 16-10 makes a big difference as the Rams would need a touchdown in order to take the lead. I am not in any way shape or form blaming the refs for this loss. The Seattle Seahawks simply didn't do enough as a team to close this one out. I just felt this penalty made things easier for a Rams offense that had been struggling for the majority of the afternoon.

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