INGLEWOOD, Calif. — It was right there for the Seattle Seahawks, a deep shot down the sideline with arguably the NFL’s best deep-ball thrower and one of the league’s biggest targets.
But like many things in this disappointing and now all-but-over Seahawks season, it didn’t work.
When Russell Wilson underthrew an open DK Metcalf on a third-down play midway through the fourth quarter of their 20-10 loss Tuesday at SoFi Stadium — costing the Seahawks what might have been the tying touchdown or at least a big gain deep into Los Angeles Rams territory — so ended their best chance of beating their division rival and keeping their ultra-slim playoff hopes alive.
They had another chance after that. So now Seahawks fans can debate which was worse: officials not calling pass interference on a fourth-down throw to DeeJay Dallas — who had linebacker Ernest Jones all over him — or the NFL moving this game from Sunday to Tuesday as a result of the league-wide spike in COVID-19 cases that hit the Rams’ locker room particularly hard.
The game got postponed — to Los Angeles’ advantage much more than Seattle’s — and now the Seahawks’ playoff chances are basically cancelled. Per ESPN Stats & Information, it’s down to around .1%, odds that only Lloyd Christmas could appreciate.
With three games left, the Seahawks are assured of their first losing season since 2011, the year before they drafted Wilson. And they’re all but assured of missing out on the playoffs for only the second time in Wilson’s career.
The Seahawks played without leading receiver Tyler Lockett and two other starters in right tackle Brandon Shell and cornerback D.J. Reed, who were among the 10 players they placed on the COVID-19 list this week.
Pivotal play. Bless Austin was flagged for defensive holding on the Rams’ go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The penalty gave them an automatic first down and negated what would have been a third-down stop deep in LA territory. The Rams took 17-10 lead six plays later with Matthew Stafford‘s second TD pass to Cooper Kupp. Austin, a former starter with the New York Jets, was flagged for pass interference earlier in the game. It figured the Seahawks would badly miss Reed against the Rams’ duo of Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr., and they sure did.
QB breakdown. In addition to the Metcalf miss, Wilson underthrew another deep shot to Dee Eskridge and overthrew Metcalf on a pair of plays in the third quarter. These weren’t the head-scratching whiffs on easier throws that marred Wilson’s first three games back from his finger injury, but it was far from the typical Wilson. Throwing the deep ball may be what he does best as a quarterback. Wilson went 1-of-11 (9.1%) on passes of 10-plus air yards Tuesday. That’s the worst completion percentage of his career on those throws. Wilson finished 17-of-31 for 156 yards and a late desperation pick.