RENTON -- The Seahawks lost another game to the Los Angeles Rams and running back Rashaad Penny for the season in an ill-fated road trip to Southern California on Sunday night.
The Rams offense carved up the Seattle defense once again as they posted a fourth straight games against the Seahawks with at least 450 yards of total offense gained. Meanwhile, the Seahawks lost running back Rashaad Penny for the season to an ACL injury that will set back a rushing attack that had really hit its stride in recent weeks.
Penny was injured on his only touch of the game when he caught a screen pass for a 16-yard gain. Penny immediately reached for the area around his left knee after going to the ground and was quickly ruled out. Head coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Penny had been initially diagnosed with a "significant" ACL sprain. Assuming Carroll's terminology was accurate, a sprain is a tear and Penny was having an MRI done on Monday to confirm the extent of the damage.
"We haven't heard back from the MRI stuff but the docs could tell he had a pretty significant knee injury and we'll let you know when we have the info," Carroll said on Monday. "He has had a big impact the last few weeks and we've really liked his contribution so you miss him. A guy like that you just don't replace it. You go to the next guy and he brings what he has and he had an explosive play when he got hurt. Unfortunately we missed him and we're going to miss him the rest of the season and we have been really excited about him turning the corner and really taking hold of this thing and contributing in a big way."
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network followed up shortly after Carroll's meeting with reporters with a confirmation that Penny's MRI showed an ACL tear and additional damage to his knee that is expected to keep him out until trailing camp next year.
C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer are next up on the depth chart for Seattle and will be called upon to step into larger roles in backup of starter Chris Carson the rest of the way.
"C.J. will step into that role and Homer will help out and we'll see how those guys will do," Carroll said. "We expect them to do well. C.J. has always done well when we've given him a chance. Now he'll know he's in the game plan and all of that and I'm hoping he'll contribute in a big way."
Prosise has played just 92 offensive snaps this season and has been inactive for six of Seattle's 13 games this season. He has just 14 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown and nine catches for 66 yards along with a lost fumble.
"He's got his own style to him," Carroll said of Prosise. "He's big. He's over 220 pounds. He's fast. They're about the same speed and all of that. C.J. has the background as a receiver that makes him a little bit different type of threat that we've always used when we have him in the game plan. So we'll look forward to him contributing in that way. We know he's a big play guy. He's already has a couple good big plays earlier in the year and we're going to count on him to really just pick up where Rashaad left off."
Prosise has four plays of significance this season. He caught a 21-yard pass from Russell Wilson in the loss to the New Orleans Saints, a 15-yard catch against the Cleveland Browns, a 17-yard run against the Baltimore Ravens and a 9-yard touchdown run against the Arizona Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Seattle's defense continued to have its struggles as well against the Rams. Los Angeles has gained 455, 477, 456 and 468 yards in each of their last four games against the Seahawks over the last two seasons. In going back another game, the Rams blew out Seattle by a 42-7 margin with just 352 yards gained because they didn't need any more than that. It's an offense that has continually given Carroll's defenses problems.
"They've done a really nice job with their play-(action) passes and we have not handled them as well," Carroll said of the Rams success. "And the movement stuff they've done in complement with their running game has been pretty effective against us. We have not solved the problem of them like we would like to. I have a lot of respect for how they do it and what they do. I thought the quarterback was phenomenal last night. He's played well against us and done some nice stuff and they were throwing and catching everything. We needed to do a better job of covering. Because of the style of the perimeter passing game that they were featuring, once again, they hit everything. So we just needed to make a few plays to change the rhythm of it."
Additionally, the Seahawks struggled to get correctly aligned at times defensively and it resulted in being out-flanked by the Rams in certain situations. The Rams offense was moving at a heightened tempo that put additional strain on the defense and Carroll said they made some mistakes in how they tried to call their defense around it.
"It wasn't their tempo as much as how we made some calls that got us off a little bit," Carroll said. "We prepared for their tempo. They've been doing this for years. It was nothing new. Our calling at the line of scrimmage got us a little bit off and we just got scattered a little bit and it wasn't sharp and we had to tone it down and get it right and zero in, which we did and it changed. But it took us a couple series to get going and it was too late."
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's status for this week's game is in jeopardy as Sunday's game against the Rams took a toll on him as he continues to try and manage a core muscle injury the rest of the season.
"He's hurting," Carroll said. "He's going to have to work his way through the week to make it for game day. He's playing really tough under the circumstances. He's got some core issues that he's working with but he's making it through it so he's toughing it out and doing the rehab and all that stuff."
Clowney made it out of the Minnesota Vikings game in pretty good shape without furthering his injury problems. However, it appears as though he was worse off coming out of the game against the Rams.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is still working his way back from a stinger as well that saw him unable to play against the Rams. Ansah was able to practice last week and will do so again this week.
"It’s just whether his strength can be mustered here by the end of the week and get back at it. We’ll look forward to that," Carroll said.
Linebacker K.J. Wright sustained a dislocated finger that briefly saw him exit the game. Additionally, Cody Barton is having an MRI after coming out of his first start with knee and ankle injuries.
"He was okay and he went back int here," Carroll said of Barton. "He’s very tough and very demanding of himself. He just overcame it. We’ll find out. I don’t know."
Barton played 58 of 70 defensive snaps for Seattle and had some growing pains in his first significant action at linebacker this season.
"Some first-time mistakes," Carroll said. "A little bit of communication stuff. He was scrambling around getting lined up a few times. You can’t play at your best when you’re going through that. That’s the problem. If you’re a little off tempo with your calls and alignments and getting set, then you’re not going to play as well. It’s just the way it is. That was harder on him than maybe other guys because he hasn’t been out there as much."
Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: Wide receiver Cooper Kupp #18 of the Los Angeles Rams carries for a first against linebacker Cody Barton #57 of the Seattle Seahawks during the game first down at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)