2022 NFL Season, Week 13: Winners and Losers from Seahawks 27, Rams 23

The Seattle Seahawks (7-5) really needed to win against the Los Angeles Rams (3-9) to still have control of their playoff fate. All things considered, that was not a very good performance against a Rams team way undermanned and a shell of themselves. Then the injuries piled up and it looked like an embarrassing loss was coming.

Geno Smith and DK Metcalf had other ideas.

A win is a win is a win even if that 27-23 victory was not a thing of beauty and was far more frustrating than it had any right to be. I guess that’s just how it is whenever the Seahawks play the Rams, regardless of era or QB.

Winners and Losers time!

Winners

Gene Smith

You wanted a Geno 4th quarter comeback drive? You got it. Smith had a few other opportunities to do this and they all ended in losses. When the Seahawks absolutely needed Smith to come through in the clutch, he delivered. Even acknowledging Aaron Donald’s absence, Smith went 28/39 for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns (with 1 interception and a lost fumble) was fantastic. No one this season has thrown for more yards in a game against the Rams than Geno.

Smith was clutch, he made smart decisions and loads of accurate throws at all distances. What a phenomenal performance especially with the team in desperate need of a victory. The lack of a running game meant the offense fell on Geno’s shoulders and he rose to the occasion.

Seahawks Clock Management

Yes. That two-minute drill was executed to near perfection. The first goal for the Seahawks was to get into field goal range, which they did. The primary goal was to go for a touchdown and the win, secondarily leaving the Rams as little time left as possible to respond in regulation. I know Seattle had all three timeouts but letting the clock run down with the field goal attempt in their back pocket was very well done, and the one timeout they did use was after Marquise Goodwin got the Seahawks in a goal-to-go situation.

That was smart use (or non-use) of timeouts that meant the Rams had just 31 seconds to answer, and in a straight dropback situation they never had much of a chance.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett

It sure helps Geno that he has two stud receivers. Metcalf had 8 catches (on 8 targets) for 127 yards and the winning touchdown. Lockett had 9 catches for 128 yards and Seattle’s opening touchdown. Those were standout displays by one of the NFL’s best receiving duos, and while Lockett’s excellence has been a fixture of Seahawks football for eight seasons, it’s Metcalf’s performance that fans should savor. That’s the type of outing you want out of your projected long-term franchise receiver, and the cherry on top was getting the winner on Jalen Ramsey.

Noah Fant

Slowly but surely it looks as if Fant is now the top receiving target among the three tight ends. The former Bronco caught 4 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in the back corner of the end zone. Fant has at least three receptions in four consecutive games and is looking a little more like what the Seahawks presumably expected from him as a pass-catching TE.

Tariq Woolen

By my count Woolen gave up just a 23-yard catch to Van Jefferson and that’s it. He had his sixth interception of the season on a poor throwback pass by John Wolford, and Woolen saw it all the way. Woolen had three passes defended, including one to Tutu Atwell that could’ve been a big play but Woolen’s long arms and closing speed can erase getting beaten by a few snaps. Defensive Rookie of the Year? Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Uchenna Nwosu

After consecutive games without a sack or really anything impactful, Nwosu recorded two sacks and helped aid Ryan Neal on a run stop by slowing down Cam Akers in the backfield before Akers was brought down by Neal. He also had a tackle on Wolford in the open field or else he might have run for a first down in the 3rd quarter. Nwosu now has nine sacks on the season and remains the only reasonably consistent pass rusher for the Seahawks.

Darrell Taylor

Taylor’s deservedly had his snaps reduced for his underwhelming performance this year, but with the Rams still in with a shout to get a game-winning touchdown, he effectively wiped out any hope for Los Angeles with a first down sack of John Wolford.

Jason Myers

Another perfect game for Myers, who hasn’t missed a kick since a PAT against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.

Bobby Wagner

I never put opposing players in W&L but I have to make an exception for a Seahawks legend. He had two sacks on Smith and has now matched his single-season career high with five. I don’t really believe he should’ve had an interception but it was reminiscent of a pick he made against the 49ers in 2017. Watching Wagner play well but the Seahawks still getting the W was really the ideal outcome for me, and I suspect many other Seahawks fans as well.

Losers

Run Defense

This is such a horrible group right now and really for a majority of the season. The Rams picked up 171 yards on the ground, a season high by a considerable distance. This front seven is really struggling to get into the backfield and the defensive line is getting stonewalled even by backup offensive linemen. Sean McVay dialed up a lot of creative runs with gadget receiver Brandon Powell, and it felt like the Seahawks were flummoxed.

Too many edges not being set or backside containing not being uh… contained. Bruce Irvin particularly had a rough day with his leverage being used against him. This cannot keep happening. Luckily the Seahawks will be drafting Jalen Carter next year to solve both the run and pass defense issues… right?!

Offensive Line’s Run Blocking

The offensive line is charged with allowing four sacks but I pin two of them on Geno Smith holding onto the ball too long/not being able to find anyone open. There were a few other pressures allowed on Smith and certainly Abe Lucas and Charles Cross had a couple of ugly reps, but it’s the run blocking that is so weak. Kenneth Walker III had a 30-yard run on his opening carry and the remaining 19 running back carries topped out at 57 yards. Andy Dickerson’s group is really struggling at the point of attack.

The Seahawks’ screen pass game

Today it was Will Dissley’s turn. It got 4 yards and might as well have been a waste of a down. What will it take for this team to run competent looking screen passes?

Michael Jackson

Not one of Jackson’s better days at the office. He did rotate with Tre Brown frequently but Jackson had a couple of difficult reps. The whole Seahawks defense was biting hard on play-action but Jackson seemingly busted his assignment on the game’s opening drive and was lucky that Wolford saw and threw it so late that it wasn’t a touchdown. In the coming weeks I’d like to see the split evened out a bit more, even though Jackson has been solid in coverage.

Seattle’s running back depth chart

Poor Tony Jones Jr. He was never supposed to be getting this much playing time but the slew of injuries put him in this predicament. When he did, he had a drop, an interception (that probably shouldn’t have been) when Bobby Wagner ripped the ball out of his hands, a huge hit to the head that drew a penalty and took him out of the game. Overall with a limited understanding of the playbook he had just 14 yards on 7 carries.

The Kenneth Walker III injury was bad enough but not having Travis Homer really was huge within the context of this game. I suspect Seattle will be dipping into its practice squad or looking at street free agents because this depth at RB has collapsed in 2019-esque fashion.

Final Notes

  • DeeJay Dallas really gutted one out playing on an injured foot. Kenneth Walker’s possible absence figures to be huge, as unlike the others on the depth chart he’s more capable of making something out of nothing.
  • Jordyn Brooks picked up his first sack on the season, while Cody Barton had the game-ending interception as Wolford flung the ball nowhere near a Rams target. I don’t have any strong assessments on either man’s overall performance but I would love to see Brooks sent on blitzes more.
  • Like I said, this was not a very good performance. The flu outbreak I feel can provide some cover but the turnovers, busted assignments, and other miscues have been a season-long problem. Such is life with a young team lacking too many established great players. But at 7-5 the Seahawks are in the postseason as things stand and that’s a lot better than what this season could’ve been. A playoff berth AND a potential top-3 draft pick is not what any of us envisioned and yet it may materialize.
  • Carolina might be 4-8 but they are still reasonably in the NFC South race and their rushing attack spearheaded by D’Onta Foreman has shown itself to be formidable. I’m not taking this game lightly and with the way the Seahawks have handled the “soft” part of the schedule this could very easily turn into another upset. Let’s see if the Seahawks can maximize having four of their final five games at Lumen Field. If they can, they might just win the NFC West and at least make the playoffs. If not… well two picks in the top-20 is still great!

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