Though an argument can be made both offenses forgot to arrive at the stadium for Sunday's Week 16 matchup, the Seahawks and Rams find themselves locked up in a 6-6 halftime tie with the NFC West title up for grabs.
Once again starting sluggish, Russell Wilson completed 10 out of 19 passes for 84 yards and led a pair of field goal drives for Seattle in the opening two quarters. Quandre Diggs made the game's biggest play thus far, picking off Jared Goff inside Seattle's 20-yard line late in the half to erase points off the scoreboard for the visitors.
Three halftime takeaways from a defensive slugfest at Lumen Field:
Three critical missed opportunities cost the Seahawks offensively.
Producing only 116 yards in the first half, Seattle hasn’t been able to find a rhythm passing or running the football through the first two quarters of play. But it isn’t because opportunities to strike with big plays haven’t presented themselves against one of the NFL’s top scoring defenses. On the Seahawks second offensive possession, though pressure was bearing down on him, Tyler Lockett came open just past the first down marker and Wilson simply missed him, eventually taking a drive-ending sack. On the very next drive, Wilson had a touchdown pass to a wide open tight end Jacob Hollister served up on a platter, only to overthrow his intended target on a wheel route down the sideline. Seattle had to settle for a Jason Myers field goal two plays later. Then on their fourth possession, Wilson unfortunately took a shot while heaving a bomb to DK Metcalf down the right sideline, causing the pass to be several yards behind the receiver for an incompletion. Those three missed chances could loom large, especially after the team got lucky Wilson didn’t throw a pick six to cornerback Darious Williams on the opening possession of the game.
Seattle’s defense has proven a recent resurgence isn’t a fluke by holding the Rams to just six points.
Despite allowing less than 15 points per game since the first matchup between these two teams, skeptics remained in regard to the Seahawks second half defensive transformation due to a weak schedule feasting on lowly quarterbacks. But the unit’s stellar play has continued into Week 16, as Ken Norton Jr’s group held the Rams to 178 yards and less than 4.5 yards per offensive play. With the front line getting consistent pressure and covering his boot rollouts well, Jared Goff looked flustered at times and struggled with accuracy, completing 15 out of 26 passes for 125 yards and making a bone-headed decision deep in Seahawks territory that led to an interception by safety Quandre Diggs. The run game hasn’t gotten untracked either without starter Cam Akers available, as the Rams rushed for only 53 yards on 15 carries and 3.5 yards per carry. Goff contributed 17 of those yards and running back Darrell Henderson has been stifled with only 28 yards on eight carries.
Poor situational football has plagued both teams in different ways to this point.
In what ultimately was an ugly half of offensive football, both teams struggled with the situational football phase of the game. As they’ve done all of this season, Seattle struggled to sustain drives offensively and move the chains, converting on only three out of nine third down chances. On the flip side, Cooper Kupp has been a headache for Seattle’s defense, as the veteran slot receiver has picked up all five of the Rams third down conversions via receptions and finished with six receptions for 49 yards in the half. Luckily for the Seahawks, Goff’s questionable decision making and shaky accuracy has offset the success the Rams have had extending drives past midfield. Before Matt Gay connected on his second field goal, Goff underthrew tight end Tyler Higbee on a seam route and should have been intercepted by Jamal Adams. Two possessions later, he carelessly lofted a pass into congestion where no Rams receiver had a shot to make a play on first down, instead finding Diggs for his fifth interception of the year and wiping at least three points off the scoreboard. Stating the obvious, both teams have a bunch to clean up execution-wise offensively at the break.