Seahawks vs. Rams - Instant Analysis

Win or lose, there is much to learn after each game. What happened on the key plays that turned the game? How did the team fare in individual matchups? Who, if anyone, was injured and how did his replacement(s) fare? These are just of the questions greater Seattle-area resident and football scout Rob Rang will tackle post-game each week for

10. What a gut-wrenching loss for Seattle, losing 28-26 to St. Louis despite spirited individual efforts from several Seahawks, including Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin. Special teams gaffes, injuries and penalties were equally to blame in a crushing divisional loss that puts the 3-3 Seahawks currently outside of the playoff chase.

9. It would be easy to pin Sunday's loss on special teams coordinator Brian Schneider and not-so-special corps but there are a few mitigating circumstances that help explain the myriad errors. While long-time followers of Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher may know (and expect) his willingness to gamble on special teams, the decision to fake a punt in the closing seconds and potentially hand Seattle the ball well within Steven Hauschka's range was shocking even for him. Give Fisher and the Rams credit for the 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by Stedman Bailey, as well. Pete Carroll acknowledged in the post-game interview that punter Jon Ryan kicked the ball in the correct direction and that the Rams took advantage of Seattle's "discipline" to follow their blockers to the ball rather than tracking it overhead. Gunner Ricardo Lockette was one of several Seahawks who were fooled by the misdirection, chasing primary returner Tavon Austin before turning back to helplessly watch Bailey take the ball untouched up the right sideline.

8. The Seahawks (and every other team) will tell you that injuries are no excuse for poor play, but Seattle's struggles this season are very much a reflection of their health. As anticipated in the Three Key Matchups, the loss of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner contributed to the Rams running the ball effectively. It also played a key role in the special teams mistakes. With normal special teams standouts Malcolm Smith and Ricardo Lockett pushed into extra duty on defense and offense due to injuries to others, they weren't as sharp. Further, the loss of fullback and special teams ace Derrick Coleman to a broken foot suffered in pregame drills was a gut-shot.

7. The loss of Coleman wasn't just felt on special teams, of course. Coleman is a terrific lead blocker for Marshawn Lynch and it was clear that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was trying to get Seattle' running game back on track by feeding the Beast. While Robert Turbin did a serviceable job replacing Coleman in this capacity, he's a better runner (and receiver) than blocker. Seattle's 171 rushing yards looks good on paper, but Lynch was held to just 2.94 yards a carry on 18 attempts - though he ran with his trademark determination, power and acceleration.

6. A huge part of Seattle's rushing attack, of course, was a result of Wilson's vision and mobility. Wilson ran for a career-high 106 yards on just seven attempts, including a gain of 52 and a 19-yard touchdown jaunt in the third quarter that sparked Seattle's ill-fated comeback.

5. If Wilson was spark on Sunday, Baldwin provided the gasoline. Baldwin was dynamic, catching a game-high seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Baldwin's sideline and post-game rant against Dallas put the spotlight on No. 89 and he responded the way a champion should - by letting his actions on the field speak even louder than his words.

4. While Coleman's injury played a significant role in the outcome of this game, it was inability of a couple of other highly athletic defenders to step up when called upon that is perhaps even more troubling. Linebacker Bruce Irvin and cornerback Tharold Simon each possess the combination of length and athleticism to make scouts drool but neither was a factor against the Rams. Irvin recorded just one assisted tackle on Sunday. Simon had a solo stop. His inexcusable personal foul face mask penalty on the first play of the second quarter, however, gave the Rams a first and goal just as it appeared that they were about to squander a red zone opportunity. At some point, Irvin and Simon's potential must starting resulting in production.

3. For the second week in a row, it appeared that Richard Sherman was the unfortunate recipient of a weak call (or lack thereof) from the officials. Last week, Sherman was inexplicably called for "tripping" after tackling Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant. This time, the referees ruled that Sherman did not possess the ball after Malcolm Smith punched it free in the closing seconds. Carroll addressed the situation in the post-game interview, explaining that the play could not be reviewed because it was not ruled as a change of possession. Sherman was "bunched up" with the football between his legs and therefore he was apparently unable to actually pull it in and prove possession.

2. Seattle's inability to get to the quarterback and create turnovers cannot get lost in the 'Woe is me' that is certain to come with the penalties and injuries plaguing the team. The Seahawks were unable to sack Austin Davis once or record a single turnover. Penetration from Michael Bennett contributed to several tackles for loss on running plays but in an NFL increasingly dominated by the pass, Seattle will continue to lose football games if they cannot consistently apply pressure on the quarterback. Through six games, the Seahawks have seven sacks and two interceptions.

1. Statistics can be bent in every which way to prove a point but the bottom line, of course, is the final score. During last year's run to the championship, the Seahawks allowed 28 or more points one time in 23 preseason, regular season and postseason game (34-28 loss in Indianapolis in Week Five on October 6). The Seahawks have allowed opponents to reach this number three times in the past five games. Each time, they've lost. Top Stories