NFL Wire News

Sunday Rams loss similar to others this season

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EARTH CITY, Mo. — As Yogi Berra once said, “This feels like deja vu all over again.”

That’s exactly how the St. Louis Rams felt after concluding their season with a 20-6 loss at Seattle Sunday. It was similar in so many ways to the way the Rams lost their other nine games in a 6-10 season.

Quarterback Shaun Hill said, “The difference between 10-6 and 6-10 is a couple plays in four ballgames out of 16. And that’s a fact. That’s every year in the NFL.”

That also can be said for several teams in the NFL. But that’s the difference in a league where 6-10 often gets a coach fired while 10-6 usually gets you in the playoffs.

The Rams went to halftime Sunday with a 6-0 lead and they entered the fourth quarter with the score 6-6.

Once again, the final quarter was a house of horrors for a team that outscored its 16 opponents 193-135 at halftime (95-42 in the first quarter), while being outscored in the second half 219-131. That latter figure included 106-48 in the third quarter and 113-83 in the fourth.

What made it difficult to swallow again were turnovers that led to Seattle’s two touchdowns, including the 10th return touchdown against them this season.

Of those 10 touchdowns, eight were by the opposing defense with Sunday’s being a 49-yard interception return by linebacker Bruce Irvin after a pass was knocked out of tight end Lance Kendricks’ hands by linebacker Bobby Wagner right to Irvin. That score gave the Seahawks a 20-6 lead.

Most notably, nine of the 10 return touchdowns came in the second half with six (all by the defense) in the final quarter. Breaking it down further, 28.8 percent of their opponent’s second-half points came on return touchdowns and 31.9 percent of the fourth-quarter points allowed were on defensive returns.

The 10 return scores were the most in the league, and the teams with more than five were Jacksonville with six and Washington with seven.

As head coach Jeff Fisher understated, “It’s hard to overcome returns for touchdowns in close games.”

As for an overview on a season where the Rams won once less game than they did the first two years under Fisher (7-8-1 and 7-9), he said, “I think we’re better than a 6-10 team, I personally do. I think we’re moving in the right direction. I think that all the work we put in this offseason is going to contribute to the success we’re going to have in the future. You don’t like 6-10 seasons. I think we’re building, I know we’re building. We’re going to learn from a lot of the things that happened. We’re developing some young players that can make plays.”

REPORT CARD VS. SEAHAWKS

PASSING OFFENSE: C — QB Shaun Hill had a good completion percentage of 70.2 on 26 of 37 passing, but his average per completion was just 9.3. He was also sacked four times and had two interceptions for a passer rating of 65.5. RB Benny Cunningham was the leading receiver with seven catches for 57 yards. Only nine completions went to wide receivers for a total of 86 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F — No surprise because Seattle is difficult to run against, but there was little good except for a 13-yard run by RB Tre Mason. He had just 15 yards on his other 10 attempts. Cunningham (4-for-10), Zac Stacy (2-for-3) and Tavon Austin (2-for-1) did next to nothing. Those four combined for 42 yards on 19 attempts.

PASS DEFENSE: B — Except for CB Janoris Jenkins’ blown coverage on a 31-yard play to Kevin Norwood, the pass defense was good. QB Russell Wilson had a passer rating of 81.9, and the Rams got to him for three sacks, and kept him from running wild (six carries for seven yards). Pressure also led to an interception by CB Marcus Roberson. DT Aaron Donald had his ninth sack of the season.

RUSH DEFENSE: B — The defense limited RB Marshawn Lynch to 60 yards on 14 attempts with a long of 14, although he did go untouched through the defense on a 9-yard scoring run. Backup Robert Turbin had 53 yards on 11 attempts, and also had a 14-yarder.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — P Johnny Hekker had another outstanding day, averaging 49.4 yards on five punts with a 48.9 net. Two punts were returned for a mere seven yards. Benny Cunningham averaged 26.7 yards on three kickoff returns, and K Greg Zuerlein hit field goals of 33 and 52 yards.

COACHING: B — The coaching staff had the Rams prepared to play the hottest team in the league, holding the Seahawks scoreless in the first half and entering the fourth quarter with the score tied 6-6. But plays went against them again in the fourth quarter, which was simply failing to execute.


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