The Seahawks couldn't get out of their own way
Before things went sideways and eventually upside down for the Seahawks, their streak of good news continued. Starting at their own two-yard line, Smith drove his team to the Rams 26-yard line. Seattle converted one of two third downs and picked up eight yards on fourth and one on an eight-yard run by Charbonnet. With first and 10 at the Los Angeles 26, the wheels started to come off. Back to back penalties pushed the Hawks to the 36 and the offense stalled. That final series of down turned out to be a microcosm of the game. On this drive, Jason Myers bailed his team out with a 54-yard kick, his first of three on the day.
The first of the problems was discipline. Or perhaps attention to detail would be a better term here. The first penalty of the sequence was for an illegal shift by Jake Bobo. That's a penalty that should never happen, as it's completely under the control of the player. The player in question was Dee Eskridge, who didn't line up correctly to begin with. Eskridge is a problem all by himself, and not in a good way. The second penalty was for a delay of game. Again, a penalty that is completely under the player's control. That lack of discipline pushed Seattle into a first and 20, and they had to settle for the field goal. As Brock Huard said on the Brock and Salk podcast, pre-snap penalties are "the most foolish, reckless, undisciplined, undetailed penalties. As an NFL professional team, you can’t have that.” Exactly.
Mixing in a bit of good news, the defense came up big again on the next sequence and forced another three-and-out. On the ensuing Seattle drive, Smith hit DK Metcalf for 53 yards to put the ball at the Rams seven. Again, the wheels came off on the offense. A six-yard loss on the ground was followed by an intentional grounding call. Seattle lost 20 yards on those two plays and had to settle for a 43-yard kick by Myers Note to the detractors - this was the second time Myers bailed out the offense in the game, and wouldn't be the last. Just mixing in a bit of good news with the bad.
Unfortunately, that was largely the end of the good news for Seattle's offense. After piling up over 200 yards in total offense in the first half, the Seahawks would manage just 77 in the second. 38 of those came on the Hawks final and ultimately futile drive. The defense complemented the offense, but not in a good way. Through the first three quarters, the Rams had only two drives that gained over 12 yards. And one of those, as we know, netted zero points after the Hawks brilliant goal-line stand. On their first eight drives, Los Angeles punted five times, was intercepted once, and lost possession on downs.
Then what seemed to be the second coming of the Legion of Boom became the Region of Room - as in room to make your plays. The Rams rolled up 155 yards in the final quarter, an unconscionable collapse by the defense. Yes, they were aided by a few exceedingly bad calls by the referees. But even the most ardent 12s can't possibly believe that all of the Seahawks 12 penalties were the result of an overzealous crew. It isn't as if the officials gave Los Angeles a pass. They were flagged nine times as well. The Seahawks simply allowed the Rams to take advantage of those calls.