Unable to hold a slim four point halftime lead on Thursday Night Football, the Seahawks fell to 2-3 on the season with a disappointing 26-17 loss to the Rams at Lumen Field, losing star quarterback Russell Wilson for at least four weeks in the process.
Recapping a difficult evening for the franchise, which players stood out as the biggest stars in Seattle's Week 5 defeat? Here are my top five grades along with other notable performances on both sides of the ball.
Overall Grade: 92.0 (Receiving 95, Run Blocking 70)
Jalen Ramsey held the upper hand in the first four matchups pitting these stars against one another, but Metcalf changed the narrative on Thursday night, catching three passes for 58 yards, three first downs, and a touchdown with him in coverage. On Seattle's second drive, Metcalf showed off his route running chops, pivoting out of a curl route and improvising to get vertical on a scramble drill, finding a hole in the defense and catching a 25-yard reception from Wilson after the quarterback evaded pressure. Then midway through the second quarter, he beat Ramsey inside on a skinny post and Wilson delivered a strike for a 19-yard touchdown to open scoring. Once Wilson checked out with an injury, Metcalf continued to step up for Geno Smith, catching two passes for 40 yards from the backup quarterback on a 98-yard scoring drive, including a 23-yard touchdown on a fade route. He also drew a key defensive pass interference penalty early on the drive. He finished the evening with an efficient five receptions on five targets for 98 yards and a pair of scores.
Overall Grade: 87.0 (Passing 89, Rushing 78*)
*Weighted with only two rushing attempts
Wilson wasn't perfect during two and half quarters of play before being forced out with a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger. But with pass protection holding up in front of him for the most part, he made several vintage "Dangeruss" plays, including the completion to Metcalf on pivot route in which he evaded multiple defenders trying to sack him in the backfield to extend the play. Once he slipped out, he threw a perfect pass between two oncoming defenders converging on the All-Pro receiver. Prior to hitting Metcalf for the game's first touchdown, he made a perfect downfield throw to Lockett that drew defensive pass interference and if not for hitting his hand on Aaron Donald during his follow through, he may have had a long touchdown to the speedy receiver on the play he was injured. His lone blemish - an interception by linebacker Troy Reeder - may have been thrown a split second too late to Lockett, but that pick was more about bad fortune than a poor decision. He finished 11 for 16 for 152 yards and averaged a healthy 9.5 yards per attempt in the defeat while also adding 10 yards on two carries as a runner.
Overall Grade: 84.0 (Run Defense 81, Tackling 90, Pass Rush 85)
While much of Seattle's defense struggled on Thursday night, Ford may have had his finest game of the season, particularly in the pass rushing department. Setting up Quandre Diggs' pick, Ford quickly flushed Matthew Stafford from the pocket with interior pressure and remained on his tail as he rolled out to his right and eventually tried to throw the ball away, only to find the safety instead. On the Rams first drive of the second half, he again found his way to Stafford with a quick pressure to force an errant incompletion to a wide-open Cooper Kupp. He finished the game with three quarterback pressures, setting a new season-high in the process. There were a few plays in the second half where he was pushed around a bit in the run game, but Ford still made two key short yardage stops and didn't miss any tackles, remaining stout at the point of attack for Seattle's front line.
Overall Grade: 83.0 (Run Defense 82, Tackling 80, Coverage 87)
Playing on a defense that allowed more than 450 yards for a fourth straight game, including 350-plus yards for Stafford, Diggs continues to get a bad wrap that isn't deserved at all. He's been the one consistent bright spot in Seattle's secondary and continues to play at an All-Pro level despite the struggles of everyone else around him. Flashing his elite instincts, he basically ran the route for Stafford in the end zone as he came out of nowhere to reel in his second interception in as many games, getting both feet down inbounds to send the Rams to the sidelines without any points. In the second quarter, Stafford tried to test him again on a vertical down the seam to Robert Woods, but he teamed up with cornerback D.J. Reed to provide tight coverage and force an incompletion. While Kupp did make a 33-yard reception downfield that looked to be Diggs' coverage responsibility in the fourth quarter, he was trying to cover up for mistakes underneath him all night and produced six tackles in another stellar effort.
Overall Grade: 81.0 (Pass Blocking 84, Run Blocking 78)
Wilson took a few hits in the first half and was sacked twice on the night, but overall, Seattle's offensive line did a fantastic job protecting both quarterbacks against a defensive front featuring Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Terrell Lewis. In particular, Lewis had his best game in pass protection this season, surrendering only a single pressure on 38 pass blocking reps. He was especially proficient once Smith checked in, helping provide the backup quarterback time to go through his progressions in the pocket and lead two scoring drives. Though he got stood up by Donald on a crucial 4th and 2 conversion that led to Alex Collins getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage, he was also effective for the most part in the run game and turned in his best performance of the season to this point.
Other Notable Performances
Opposite of Lewis, veteran Gabe Jackson may have played his most complete game of the young season, specifically in the run game. On Collins' longest run, he made an excellent combo block sealing a defensive lineman inside before making a key second level block to spring the back. While he allowed three pressures in pass protection, he received an 80.0 overall grade. Brandon Shell also turned in a steady outing in his return from injury, allowing only one pressure in pass protection and earning a 78.5 overall grade. Stepping in admirably for Wilson, Smith's late interception wasn't his fault and he led two scoring drives, earning an 81.0 mark in limited action. Though he only played eight snaps on offense, Penny Hart made good things happen with the ball in his hands, catching both of his targets for 19 yards and earning a 78.0 grade. Struggling for a third straight game, left tackle Duane Brown allowed three pressures in pass protection and also committed a costly holding penalty that wiped out a touchdown from Wilson to Lockett, receiving a 65.0 overall mark.
Along with Ford, Al Woods continued to excel plugging up the middle for the Seahawks. He made a pivotal third down run stop on the Rams lone scoring drive in the first half, forcing them to settle for a field goal, while also contributing two pressures as a pass rusher to receive a 80.0 grade. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks struggled throughout the second half in coverage, combining to allow seven receptions for 116 yards, while Wagner also missed a pair of tackles on run defense. Brooks earned a 62.0 grade, while Wagner received a 58.0 mark. For a second straight week, Sidney Jones gave up over 100 yards in coverage, earning a 40.0 mark in that department. As for safety Jamal Adams, a tackle for loss helped his grade some, but he played soft coverage against Tyler Higbee on a 13-yard touchdown and failed to track the football on a 68-yard completion from Stafford to Desean Jackson. Add in a pair of missed tackles and it was a rough night for the league's highest paid safety, receiving a 48.5 grade.