Devastating loss to Rams leaves Seahawks’ playoff hopes hanging by a thread

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SEATTLE – It was one of the ugliest days the Seattle Seahawks have had since they played in the Kingdome.

The Seahawks were pummeled early, hard and often as they dropped an embarrassing game to the Los Angles Rams, 42-7, at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, putting their playoff hopes on life support and leading fans to ask what the heck happened – not just with this game, but with the season as a whole.

“You’ve been with me a long time – we haven’t seen that before,” coach Pete Carroll said after the game.

Every single thing that’s worried fans this season – a suspect defensive line, an aging and injury-prone defense, inconsistent offense – came to the fore at once as the Seahawks were booed off the field at the end of the first half and played before quite a few empty seats in the second half.

It was, in fact, a loss unlike any the Seahawks have seen in the Carroll era – and it came on a day when Seattle was fighting for its playoff life. The Seahawks aren’t mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but they’ll need to win their remaining two games against the Cowboys and Cardinals and get a whole lot of help around the NFC to earn a berth.

“There’s nothing to be happy about,” Carroll said. “That was a really dismal performance by us.”

Any number of outcomes in Week 16 would ensure that the season finale would be the Seahawks’ first meaningless game since Jan. 1, 2012 – also against Arizona.

And to win those two final games, Seattle will have to very quickly turn things around after a day that produced a vast litany of awful stats and factoids:

  • It was the largest margin of defeat of the Carroll era, and the worst Seahawks loss since they fell to Green Bay, 48-10, in 2009.
  • The Seahawks gave up 40 points for the first time since 2010 (when they did so three times).
  • KJR-AM’s Curtis Crabtree reported that the 34-0 halftime score was the third-worst deficit at halftime in Seahawks history, trailing only a 35-0 deficit to the Giants in 35-0 in 2010 and 38-0 at Denver in 1989.
  • The Ringer’s Danny Kelly reported that only other time since 1994 had a run play on 3rd and more than 20 resulted in a touchdown – that was Tim Tebow’s run in 2010. Todd Gurley made a hash of that when he ran for 57 yards on 3rd and 20 in the second quarter.
  • Seattle gave up more than 200 yards on the ground for the first time since a game in 2013 against Tampa Bay.
  • Seattle’s 40-0 deficit in the third quarter was the team’s largest at home since Week 9 in 2010, when they trailed the Giants 41-0.

Where to point the finger? The problems were so numerous, it’s impossible to narrow down.

Russell Wilson had one of his worst games in recent memory, completing 14 of 30 passes for 142 yards before exiting the game after the two-minute warning. But much of that was on an offensive line that allowed a punishing seven sacks. Wilson also fumbled twice, and Tanner McEvoy set the tone early with a fumble on Seattle’s opening possession that led to the Rams’ first points of the game.

And the defense finally showed every bit of the injuries its suffered in recent weeks, giving up 21 carries for 152 yards to running back Todd Gurley and 244 rushing yards overall.

Even the special teams unit was noticeably bad, allowing back-breaking return after back-breaking return by Pharoh Cooper, who had seven total for 128 yards.

Seattle will travel to Dallas next Sunday to play the Cowboys at 1:25 p.m. on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.