The Seattle Seahawks have a future Hall of Fame quarterback. They lost a playoff game, at home, to a quarterback who didn’t start because he was 12 days removed from surgery on a broken thumb.

The Los Angeles Rams have a fantastic defense. It’s still a total failure for the Seahawks, who struggle to realize Russell Wilson’s true value.

With a run-heavy game plan against a team that wasn’t going to score much, the Seahawks had a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs. Jared Goff, forced into action despite a thumb injury after John Wolford suffered a neck injury, didn’t do much with nine completions but Wilson somehow did even less in a 30-20 Rams win.

It’s not like the Seahawks are going to make wholesale changes. They have been very good in the regular season under Pete Carroll. But Saturday’s loss, the latest in a line of playoff disappointments, was hard to explain.

Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) knocks the ball away as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tries to pass. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) knocks the ball away as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tries to pass. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)

Seahawks offense is shut down

Every first down was a struggle for the team that employs Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Chris Carson. Even when the Rams lost their great defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a rib injury early in the second half, Seattle still couldn’t move the ball.

The Seahawks started the second half with a 58-yard kickoff return by D.J. Moore. The offense couldn’t get a first down after that and Seattle settled for a long field goal. That’s what the day was like.

The Rams’ defense deserves a lot of credit. Defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is getting attention as a head-coaching candidate, and Saturday’s game will help him. Seattle had a predictable offensive plan, with a load of first-down runs, and the Rams shut it down.

Wilson was bad too.

After three quarters, he was 7-of-19 for 110 yards. It’s inconceivable that in a playoff game, Wilson would have just seven completions through three quarters. He padded his stats when the Seahawks were hopelessly behind in the fourth quarter. He finished 11-of-27 for 174 yards and was sacked eight times.

And it was the Rams who were supposed to have the compromised offense.

Rams win despite injuries

The Rams started Wolford at quarterback. He made his first NFL start in Week 17 after Goff’s injury. Goff was deemed healthy enough to be the Rams’ No. 2 quarterback. Wolford got hurt on a questionable hit by Jamal Adams early in the game, and Goff had to come in. Goff was challenged to throw the ball, which isn’t surprising less than two weeks after breaking his thumb. Still, the Rams were the team that put up 30 points.

The Rams’ defense came up with a big touchdown, as it did in a Week 17 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Darious Williams gambled on a receiver screen to Metcalf and picked off a pass that he returned for a touchdown. That was easily the biggest play of the game.

The Rams’ only consistent offense was running back Cam Akers. Despite facing a quarterback with pins in his right thumb, the Seahawks couldn’t stop the run. Akers set a Rams rookie record for yards in a playoff game, and had that record before the third quarter was done. He had 176 yards and a touchdown.

Los Angeles’ defense did the rest. Jalen Ramsey did a great job on Metcalf again. The Seahawks couldn’t get Lockett going. Carson was OK but the Rams probably were fine conceding some runs to him if it meant Wilson was minimized.

The worst Seahawks moment of many came in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks were going to go for it on fourth-and-1 but they took too much time after huddling up and the play clock ran out. Seattle punted after the delay-of-game penalty. Shortly after that the Seahawks fumbled on a punt return, and the game was practically over. Especially with how bad their offense was.

Carroll has done many good things as Seahawks coach, including two NFC titles and winning one Super Bowl. His methods have been questioned, but Seattle always wins a lot of games in the regular season. But they haven’t been past the divisional round since the end of the 2014 season, and they’re 3-6 in their past nine playoff games. It seems like they should be getting more out of having Wilson, especially when they were facing a team without a healthy quarterback at all.

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