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One yard does in Seahawks again

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RENTON, Wash. — After an offseason full of questions about how the Seattle Seahawks were going to be able to move on from falling one yard shy of a second straight Super Bowl victory, it seemed fitting the season opener against the St. Louis Rams would come down to another decision over one measly yard.

Running back Marshawn Lynch was stuffed by the Rams defense on a fourth-and-1 carry in overtime at the Rams 42-yard line as Seattle lost 34-31 in St. Louis on Sunday.

Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell drew criticism all offseason for the decision to pass from the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl instead of giving the ball to Lynch. With the game on the line Sunday, the Seahawks gave the ball to Lynch and again came up short.

It’s impossible to know just how much the failure in the Super Bowl played into the decision to give the ball to Lynch in overtime. Nevertheless, the Seahawks have now lost two straight games in similar fashion. Seattle fell behind in both games, rallied to take the lead, surrendered the lead once again and still had a chance to win before decisions made with only one yard to gain led to defeat.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks defense – minus holdout safety Kam Chancellor – allowed eight pass plays of 20 yards or more, including the 37-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Lance Kendricks that sent the game to overtime and a 22-yard pass from Foles to Stedman Bailey that set up the go-ahead field goal.

Chancellor’s replacement, Dion Bailey, fell down in man-to-man coverage of Kendricks and allowed the Rams to tie the game with less than a minute to play. Carroll said Monday the result in St. Louis has done little to change the stance of talks between the Seahawks and Chancellor.

“No, I mean, there is not much going on right now. It’s pretty quiet,” Carroll said on his coach’s show on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning.

Seattle has led the league in scoring defense in each of the last three seasons and prides itself on limiting explosive plays from opposing offenses.

“That was one of the differences in the game that was significant,” Carroll said. “That’s out of the norm for us.”

The Seahawks will have to go on the road again this week as they travel to Green Bay in hopes of avoiding an 0-2 start for just the second time under Carroll.

REPORT CARD VS. RAMS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus — Russell Wilson set career-highs in passes attempted (41) and passes completed (32), which resulted in just 251 passing yards and a meager 6.1 yards per attempt. Wilson was also sacked six times as Seattle’s revamped offensive line struggled against the Rams defensive front. Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald each sacked Wilson twice.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C — Marshawn Lynch had 73 yards on 18 carries but was stopped on 4th-and-1 in overtime to end the game. Seattle averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and the Rams kept Wilson contained in the running game. Lynch’s 24-yard carry in the fourth quarter was the longest offensive play of the game for Seattle.

PASS DEFENSE: D — The Rams completed eight passes of at least 20 yards. For a defense that prides itself of limiting explosive plays, the Seahawks failed miserably. Lance Kendricks’ 37-yard touchdown with less than a minute to play sent the game to overtime. Seattle had trouble wrapping up in the open field.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus — The Rams were held to just 76 total rushing yards and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. However, Seattle lost contain on one run by Tavon Austin that went for a 16-yard touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C — Tyler Lockett’s 57-yard punt return touchdown was a fantastic start to the game but two special teams errors came back to bite Seattle. Tavon Austin answered with a 75-yard punt return touchdown for St. Louis and a botched kickoff in overtime gave the Rams great field position. Steven Hauschka’s overtime kickoff was supposed to go deeper down field but instead didn’t get past midfield, allowing a short field for the Rams to get the game-winning field goal.

COACHING: B-minus — Seattle’s game plan involved quicker options in the passing game to try and keep the Rams dominant pass rush from hammering Russell Wilson. Defensively, Richard Sherman was moved from his standard left cornerback spot to cover the slot in nickel situations. The ideas were sound. The execution was lacking.


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