SEATTLE – Russell Wilson missed the first significant snaps of his 10-year NFL career, and the Seahawks lost their first Thursday night game since 2012 in a 26-17 defeat to the rival Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field.
The loss dropped the Seahawks to 2-3. The Rams are 4-1.
Here are three immediate impressions from the game:
Russell Wilson injures finger
The worst-case scenario played out for the Seahawks: Their star QB is injured and out.
How long Wilson will be sidelined remains to be seen. The good news is the Seahawks have a mini-bye – three days off this weekend – to prepare for their next game at Pittsburgh, giving Wilson a little extra time to recover.
The top of Wilson’s right middle finger was bent at a 90-degree angle after he hit his hand against Aaron Donald’s outstretched hand on a throw midway through the third quarter.
Trainers appeared to try pop Wilson’s finger back into place on the sideline. The QB then had his finger wrapped in athletic tape.
Wilson has never missed a game in his Seahawks career, and up until Thursday night had only missed two previous snaps in his NFL career. After some warmup throws, Wilson returned to the field with his middle finger heavily taped – and completed his first pass, a 1-yard pass to Colby Parkinson.
But Wilson was sacked on third down – by Donald, of course – and that led to a wild sequence in which Michael Dickson punted twice on the same play.
Wilson did not return to the field after that, remaining on the sideline as he gave way – for the first time in his carer – to his backup.
Geno Smith time
The Seahawks could not have asked for more from veteran backup QB Geno Smith.
In his first real action with Seattle, Smith led the offense on an impressive 98-yard touchdown to get the Seahawks within 16-14 in the fourth quarter.
Smith went right after Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey on his first throw, drawing a pass-interference penalty when Ramsey pulled DK Metcalf’s shoulder.
Smith finished 5 for 5 on the drive – including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Metcalf. “Geno! Geno! Geno!” The sellout crowd at Lumen Field chanted.
It was Smith’s first touchdown pass since December 2017, during his only season playing for the New York Giants.
What a comeback story for the 30-year-old QB.
Also, a comeback was not to be for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks got the ball back at their 16 with 2:17 remaining, trailing 23-17. On the first snap, Smith rolled right and lofted a throw 20 yards toward Tyler Lockett.
Lockett tripped and fell, and Smith’s pass went right to the Rams’ Nick Scott, who made an easy interception to stop the Seahawks’ last best chance.
The Seahawks, of course, are hoping for a speedy recovery for Wilson, who entered the week leading the NFL in passer rating.
But if they have to turn to Smith to start in Pittsburgh, well, they have to feel much better about their backup situation, should it come to that.
It helps having Metcalf, who finished with five catches of 98 yards and two TDs.
With Chris Carson out with a neck injury, Alex Collins had 47 yards on 15 carries, plus two catches for 25 yards.
The Seahawks continued to struggle on third down, converting just 4-of-10 chances.
Seattle’s defense was better in the first half.
And it was better on third downs.
They got the key takeaway they needed when Quandre Diggs intercepted Matthew Stafford in the end zone in the first half.
In the end, it still wasn’t good enough for the Seahawks’ defense, particularly in the second half.
Stafford, the new Rams QB playing against the Seahawks for the first time as a division rival, completed 25 of 37 passes for 365 yards with one touchdown.
Stafford also injured a finger on his throwing hand. He injured his right index finger in the first half and appeared to have it taped and reapplied at a couple of times.
It didn’t seem to bother him in the third quarter, as the Rams have rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit to take a 16-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Too often, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp – Seahawks killers, these two – were wide open in the middle of the Seattle’s zone coverage.
Woods finished with 12 catches (on 14 targets) for 150 yards.
Kupp, the former Eastern Washington star, had seven catches (on 10 targets) for 92 yards.
And veteran wideout DeSean Jackson helped break things open for the Rams in the third quarter when, on third-and-long, he hauled in a 68-yard pass to set up the Rams’ go-ahead score.
Jamal Adams was the deep safety helping in coverage on Jacksons’ long reception. Adams had turned the wrong way while the underthrown ball was in the air – allowing Jackson space to make an adjustment and haul it in.
Later in the quarter, Adams was in soft coverage on Stafford’s 13-yard TD pass to tight end Tyler Higbee.
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