It’s rare when the Seahawks gain fewer than 250 yards and win a road game, and rarer still when they have five takeaways on the road. Both happened Sunday.
After falling behind 10-0 Sunday to the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Seahawks knitted together 16 consecutive points to post a 16-10 victory that vaulted Seattle (3-2) into the NFC West lead. Entering the contest, the Rams carried the NFL’s highest scoring average, 35.5 points per game.
In more than 600 regular-season games dating to their inaugural 1976 season, the Seahawks never defeated a team averaging more than 35 points per game. In only three games did they knock off a team that was averaging more than 30.
Not on the regular season list is Super Bowl XLVIII, in which the Seahawks thumped Denver 43-8, the highest scoring team in NFL history at 37.9 points per game.
Rare road win
The Seahawks won without much offense, collecting only 241 yards, 198 by Russell Wilson through the air. Forced to throw quickly because his offensive line struggled to protect him, Wilson averaged only 5.4 yards per attempt. Twenty-four of Wilson’s 37 passes traveled less than 10 yards. He tossed three deep balls, all incomplete.
It’s a rare deal when the Seahawks generate fewer than 250 yards in a road game and emerge a winner. In the past quarter of a century, it happened eight times, twice in the Pete Carroll era (since 2010). These were those games:
|1996||Dec. 22||Raiders||129||W 28-21||Seatttle QB: Gino Torretta|
|2013||Oct. 28||Rams||135||W 14-9||Golden Tate 80-yard TD|
|2004||Sept. 19||Bucs||182||W 10-6||M. Hasselbeck 147 yards|
|2005||Dec. 5||Eagles||194||W 42-0||Seahawks 3 defensive TDs|
|1999||Nov. 1||Packers||222||W 27-7||Ricky Watters ran for 125|
|2017||Oct. 8||Rams||241||W 16-10||R. Wilson 198 pass yards|
|2001||Nov. 18||Bills||246||W 23-20||Shaun Alexander ran for 93|
|1992||Sept. 20||Patriots||250||W 10-6||Patriots QB: Hugh Millen|
The Seahawks won Sunday almost entirely because of a defense that generated five takeaways (three fumble recoveries, two interceptions) and made QB Jared Goff, reportedly the next big thing, look ordinary most of the day. Goff entered with a 66.7 completion percentage and 112.5 passer rating, and was held to 46.8 and 48.9 by the Legion of Boom.
Since Carroll has been aboard, the Seahawks have come away with five takeaways in a road win only four times, notably (and chronologically) before Sunday:
Oct. 9, 2011 (Seahawks 36, Giants 25): Seattle picked off Eli Manning three times and recovered two fumbles. Earl Thomas, who had two takeaways (INT, forced fumble) Sunday in Los Angeles, also had two against the Giants (INT, fumble recovery).
Dec. 18, 2011 (Seahawks 38, Bears 14): Brandon Browner, Red Bryant, Thomas and Richard Sherman intercepted Caleb Hanie three times and Josh McCown once. Thomas also recovered a fumble.
Dec. 15, 2013 (Seahawks 23, Giants 0): All five takeaways were interceptions of Manning, picked off twice by Byron Maxwell, twice by Sherman and once by Thomas.
Thomas made huge defensive plays early and late for the Seahawks Sunday, chopping the ball from Todd Gurley’s clutches at the goal line to kill the Rams’ opening drive and picking off Goff at midfield with 6:02 remaining.
Thomas made a remarkably similar strip play against the St. Louis Rams in 2014, chopping the ball out of RB Benny Cunningham’s hand at the goal line after Cunningham ran five yards with a pass from QB Shaun Hill.
Thomas’s work on Cunningham sent the ball out of the end zone for a touchback, exactly what happened Sunday when removed the ball from Gurley. Although it occurred in the first quarter, it was probably the biggest play in the game. The Rams scored just one field goal in five red-zone trips.
“I saw a chance to strike on the ball,” Thomas told reporters. “I did a great job of watching those Bruce Lee movies and it kind of carried over to the football field.”
“I’d never seen that before Earl did it the first time,” added Sherman. “Never seen anybody able to do that and he’s done it twice and both against the Rams.”
The following are the only regular-season games in which Seattle defeated an opponent that entered averaging more than 30 points per game:
|2017||Oct. 8||Rams||35.5||W 16-10||Seattle forced 5 turnovers|
|2016||Oct. 16||Falcons||35.0||W 26-24||S. Hauschka winning FG|
|2012||Oct. 14||Patriots||33.0||W 24-23||14-point, 4th-qtr. rally|
|2016||Jan. 3||Cardinals||30.6||W 36-6||Russell Wilson 3 TDs|
Of the four, the 2012 affair against the Patriots is the only one that featured the league’s No. 1 offense (New England) against the No. 1 defense (Seattle). The Seahawks trailed by 14 points with 7:31 remaining, but Wilson tossed TDs of 10 yards to Braylon Edwards and 46 yards Sidney Rice, that one with 1:18 to play, to win it.