SEATTLE — The Seahawks not only lost to the Rams on Sunday, a stunning 30-13 defeat to mar the regular-season opener, but late in the game, they also lost their cool.
Well, receiver DK Metcalf did, anyway.
Metcalf was flagged for taunting with 4:35 left in the game with Seattle trailing 27-13. The call came during a stoppage in play after he knocked Los Angeles cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon — who played briefly for the Seahawks in 2021 — in the back and to the ground away from the play, an eight-yard completion to Colby Parkinson. Witherspoon was briefly shaken up on the play. The flag came after Rams coaches, including head coach Sean McVay, could be seen talking to the officials about the play. The penalty turned a second-and-two into a second-and-17.
Said Metcalf of the play: “Well, I was blocking, and I guess I blocked him a little too hard and pushed him to the ground. He got all mad because he felt like I blocked him in the back. I mean, that’s just how I play. I block every play, and when I don’t have the ball, I’m never taking a play off or jogging trying to take a play off. So, that’s what transpired.”
And of the penalty that followed during the delay: “I saw their coaches yelling at me or saying something to me and their players. I let that get to me, and I retaliated. You know the second man always gets called, so, just have to be better in that aspect.”
Safety Quandre Diggs was also called for unnecessary roughness on the next series.
“He flopped,” Diggs said of Rams receiver Ben Snowronek.. “It is what it is. I’ve got to be smarter at the end of the day. He flopped, so it is what it is.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted the two plays added to the dismalness of the day.
“I thought we lost our minds a little bit, and we’ll talk about that,” he said. “That shows you the frustration and based on the expectation that we were going to be better and not in that situation. I don’t like seeing this look, that looks terrible. We’ll talk about that. That’s not something that I’m concerned about. We were in that position and we’ve got to make better decisions.”
Seattle’s offensive struggles in the second half weren’t helped when it lost both of its starting tackles — Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross — to injury.
Lucas departed to begin the second half after struggling with a sore knee that has bothered him since training camp. Cross, meanwhile, was carted off with a sprained toe in the third quarter. He later returned to the sideline but never returned to the game.
The two injuries meant Seattle had to go with backups Jake Curhan at right tackle and Stone Forsythe at left for most of the second half.
Said Carroll of the injuries: “Charles has like a sprained big toe, and the X-rays from what I heard didn’t look bad. We’ll see. But he felt something and so we had to look at him. Abe’s knee just acted up on him again. He doesn’t have a knee injury. Just the same knee we rested him on during camp just got really sore during the game and couldn’t fire the way he needed to, so we had to get him out of there. I don’t know what to tell you about that one.”
Of playing without those two, Carroll said: “It’s about as hard as it gets when both guys go. We’ll see how Stone and Jake did, but you could see at the end we were hurting a little bit.”
Cross played every game last season after being taken with the ninth overall pick, while Lucas played all but one.
The Seahawks introduced middle linebacker Bobby Wagner last when the starting defense took the field at the start of the game — his first regular-season game since returning to the team — which led to about as loud and sustained of an ovation as possible.
“It was cool,” said Wagner, who finished with a game-high 19 tackles. “I mean, it’s always been love from even the moment I left, coming back. They’ve always had a piece of my heart. It was something that was really special. Unfortunately, we couldn’t give them the win.”
Carroll called the moment “amazing.”
“I felt it,” Carroll said. “I felt the response of the fans to him. I thought he played a really good ballgame today. I couldn’t tell all of it, but I thought he played really well today and it meant a lot to him. I thought he did a really good job being poised about it like you would hope and expect he would playing his old team. But I thought that was an extraordinary statement by our fans of appreciation and love for the guy that has given so much to this program. He deserves every bit of it, and I thought it was a perfect moment.”
As had been expected as the week wore on, rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon did not play after being named as one of six inactive players for the game. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury that held him out of all three preseason games.
Also inactive were safety Jamal Adams, guards Ben Brown and Anthony Bradford, cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly and linebacker Tyreke Smith.
Witherspoon, the fifth overall pick of the draft out of Illinois, has been practicing on a limited basis the last week but he had been listed as questionable for the game, and the elevation of Artie Burns from the practice squad on Saturday had foreshadowed the decision on Sunday to have him as inactive.
Burns played regularly in six-defensive-back sets.
— Receiver Tyler Lockett left briefly in the second half to be examined for a concussion but returned. Linebacker Boye Mafe also was examined for a knee injury but returned.
— Tre Brown got the start at left cornerback, but Michael Jackson also rotated in some at that spot, as Carroll had indicated would happen.
— Carroll said he didn’t have much of an immediate thought on the illegal-use-of-hands penalty on Brown in the fourth quarter on a third down that kept alive a Rams drive that ended in a TD and a 24-13 lead. “No, I didn’t [see it],” he said. “I mean, I would like some information on it.”