The opponents - including facing the Rams twice - made a decision to take away the Seahawks' deep passes and force quarterback Russell Wilson to throw more intermediate passes. He was 11 of 27 for 174 yards. He passed for 231 yards with an interception and also rushed for 56 yards on six carries against the Cards. Top it all off by the fact that the single-most dominant defensive player in the league - Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald - was sidelined for most of the second half, and the Seahawks still got dusted. He jumped a wide receiver screen intended for Metcalf and returned it untouched to give the Rams a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Something about the formation tipped off Williams, and the blocker never had a chance to slow him before he ran in front of Metcalf to pick off the pass and take it the other way.
The victor of the game will go on to play in the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend.
The Seahawks experienced success, but they really developed a counter to the new defensive scheme. It was a regular occurrence over the final two months of the season and a solution is something the team will have plenty of time to ponder after Saturday's loss.
The Seahawks started slow, but that's a playoff tradition.
Much can be blamed on Seattle's offensive line, which allowed Wilson to be pressured on a season-worst 43.8 percent of plays. The Seahawks went three-and-out on each of their first two possessions. Seattle trailed by 10 after Matt Gay's 36-yard field goal with 11:37 left. He capped the victory with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods with 4:46 left after Seattle's D.J. Reed fumbled a punt.