SEATTLE Earl Thomas doesn’t think Bobby Wagner should have played injured in what became the Seahawks’ blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Wagner doesn’t appreciate Thomas’ opinion. Or at least he didn’t in the aftermath of Seattle’s loss that cost it the NFC West title, if not a playoff spot.
The All-Pro middle linebacker went on his Twitter account following the Seahawks’ 42-7 loss on Sunday to respond to Thomas’ postgame comments about Wagner and the decimated defense that has five Pro Bowl stars injured. Four didn’t play Sunday: Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright.
“To be totally honest--I think the guys that played, you know, you’ve got to get your hats off to ‘Wags’ and the couple of (injured) guys who played--but my personal opinion (is) I don’t think they should have played,” Thomas said. “I think the backups would have done just as good.
“But the injuries--Kam, Sherm, K.J.--it definitely hurt today.”
Wagner deleted his Twitter response a few minutes after posting it.
Rams running back Todd Gurley entered Sunday with the fewest yards against Seattle of any foe he’d faced more than once, with Wagner and Wright playing the previous four meetings. Gurley had just one touchdown in those four games. With Wagner noticeably slowed and getting blocked, Gurley romped for 152 yards on the ground and scored four times Sunday.
Los Angeles, the NFL’s second-highest scoring offense entering Sunday, scored just 10 points on Oct. 8 in a six-point home loss to the Seahawks. Gurley had just 43 yards rushing that day. But that was with a healthy Wagner, plus Wright, Chancellor and Sherman all playing.
Another play that was indicative of how affected Wagner was on Sunday: in the first half he was in front of Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin outside left on a fly sweep. Austin cut inside and got up field past Wagner, who entered Sunday with one missed tackle all season.
Wagner eventually left the game late in the third quarter with the Seahawks trailing 40-0.
Now he’s got to try to get better for Sunday’s last stand to avoid mathematical playoff elimination next Sunday at Dallas. Wagner hasn’t practiced because of the hamstring for the last month. Last week he re-injured it and left the 30-27 loss at Jacksonville. The Jaguars scored 27 of their points after Wagner left in the third quarter on Dec. 10.
Asked how limited he though Wagner was Sunday against the Rams, Thomas said: “I have no clue.
“But you normally see ‘Wags’ running from sideline to sideline, and he just couldn’t do it today.
“But I think he just waited a little bit too long to take himself out.”
Coach Pete Carroll said there was no doubt Wagner not practicing all week--and Seattle also being without Wright because the Pro Bowl outside linebacker was sideline with a concussion—adversely affected the defense.
But the coach praised Wagner for playing.
"In warrior-like fashion he rose to the occasion to play," Carroll said. "He felt good in pregame. He had to try to find a way that he could play, and he did.
"I couldn’t admire him more in trying to help his team in every way that he could."