Here are quick reactions from Seattle’s 27-9 win against St. Louis on Sunday:
What happened: First, the big-ticket news: The Seahawks clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with the win. Seattle will host a divisional round playoff game on either Jan. 11 or 12 against the lowest remaining seed, which can be either the Packers (No. 4 seed), 49ers (No. 5 seed) or Saints (No. 6 seed). Now, what happened: A football game was played, and then a brawl darn near broke out. This game easily gets the label as the most physical and chippy of the season. Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford was ejected for bumping an official, then left the field in a rage after smashing his helmet on the turf. There were a handful of confrontations between the two teams, but the Rams, not the Seahawks, seemed to lose their cool.
The good: The defense, and in this case good was an understatement. Linebacker Malcolm Smith, a backup to start the year, returned an interception for a touchdown. The Rams started one drive at the Seattle 31…and had to settle for a field goal. And five minutes into the third quarter, the Rams had minus-one-yard rushing. In other words, the Seahawks were simply dominant.
The bad: The offense, again. All in all, the Seahawks played a solid, if not impressive, game against a tough Rams defense. But it was rough going for a while. Russell Wilson took a while to get in rhythm, and the offensive line struggled again to control the line of scrimmage. But give the Seahawks this: They got better in the second half. Wilson hooked up with Golden Tate for a 47-yard deep down the sideline, the kind of big play that has eluded Seattle in recent weeks. And Marshawn Lynch had his best game in more than a month.
The big picture: It took longer than the Seahawks or their fans would have liked, but the end result is what they were looking for: The Seahawks get a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The defense is playing on another level in the last month, and while the offense didn’t look crisp for much of the day, it rebounded from a brutal game against Arizona. Momentum doesn’t play much of a role in the crapshoot nature of the NFL playoffs, but the Seahawks have given themselves the best chance possible to win a Super Bowl.