Rams Edge Out Seahawks 33-31
October 11, 2018
"Something special brewing here." - @JaredGoff16" tweeted Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff on his Twitter account following Sunday's 33-31 comeback victory in foul weather over the Seattle Seahawks up in the hostile environment of CenturyLink Field.
Rams head coach Sean McVay gambled on fourth-and-one with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter clinging to a slim two-point lead at the Rams 42-yard line. Goff took the snap and plunged two yards forward for the first down. The game-clinching play not only extended the team's five-game winning streak to start off the 2018 NFL season, it solidified the players resolve in McVay's leadership.
"We felt as a coaching staff, as a team, if you've got to get six inches to win the football game what better opportunity is there going to be than punt and all the different variables that can come in" said Sean McVay, following his 16th win in 21 regular season games in his short tenure as the Rams' head coach.
"And when we felt like we had an opportunity to close out that game there, that's just what we felt like was best. And again, it goes back to the players ability to deliver."
Said Goff: "I thought we were punting. Went back on the field just to talk to one of the officials about something and as I'm turning around the offense is running back on and I'm: "Alright. I guess we're going for it."
Goff and the Rams failed to capitalize on linebacker Cory Littleton's blocked punt and Marqui Christian's recovery early in the first quarter, giving them first down on the Seahawk 12-yard line. Four plays later Seattle defensive end Frank Clark intercepted a broken up pass intended for running back Todd Gurley.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson proceeded to march 74 yards in nine plays, culminating with a six-yard touchdown run by running back Mike Davis. For the second consecutive game the Ram defense yielded 31 points. Wilson was a very efficient completing 13/21 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns for the game.
The Seahawk running game also gave the Rams cause for concern, rushing 32 times for 190 total yards and one touchdown. Running back Chris Carson battered the L.A. defense for 116 yards on 19 carries. Davis hit them for 68 yards on 12 carries, including a 37-yard jaunt.
Yet, it was Gurley who once again prospered against the Seattle defense. Gurley scored three times on the ground and it should have been four. Gurley's 9-yard dash-and-dive for a touchdown early in the second quarter was officially reviewed and over-ruled. That forced the Rams to kick a 19-yard field goal by recently signed replacement kicker, Cairo Santos, giving them a slight 10-7 lead.
But the victory came at a cost as wide receivers Brandin Cooks and then Cooper Kupp had to leave the game due to concussion protocol. However, it appears that both starters could likely be cleared to play this Sunday when the Rams travel to Denver to take on the Broncos (2-3). Backup wide receivers Josh Reynolds and KhaDarel Hodge made an immediate impact.
"I think they did a good job. Really, it's tough because there was a lot of different things specifically that maybe we wanted to do," said McVay, "... they did an excellent job stepping in on short notice."
"Josh, obviously, on the first sequence of the second half ended up making two big catches, has a ten-yard run on the jet sweep. Then on the 'get back on track' call, that was a big, big important drive for us, KhaDarel ends up running a nice route where he goes down, makes a big time catch."
Cooper Kupp left the game in third quarter but created enough damage in the first half, catching six passes for 90 yards including a 6-yard touchdown reception giving the Rams a 17-14 second quarter lead. Seattle's Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 52-yard field goal to tie the score at 17-17 before halftime.
Seattle took a 24-17 lead early in the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass to David Moore. Goff drove the rams 74 yards completing passes to Reynolds and tight end Gerald Everett to set up Gurley's 2-yard burst for his second touchdown of the game.
Following a Wilson to Moore 30-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle a 31-24 lead late in the third quarter. To the Rams defensive credit, the Seahawks would never score again. Gurley apparently tied the score on the Rams next possession but Santos continued the team's recent kicking woes in the absence of starter kicker Greg Zuerlein by missing the extra-point conversion.
The Rams defense forced Seattle to punt on their next possession. Goff drove the Rams from their 18-yard line to the Seattle 21-yard line, giving Santos redemption and a 39-yard field goal attempt. And he delivered for the 33-31 final lead.
The Rams are on the fifth team in NFL history to score at least 30 points in each of their first five games of the season. They currently lead the NFL in total offense with 468.4 yards per game. They rank second in points scored with 173, two points behind the also undefeated AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs. The matchup between the Chiefs and the Rams in Mexico City on Monday Night Football, November 19, is looming large.
The Rams have a three-game lead in the NFC West as they prepare to play in Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Denver is currently in third place in the AFC West, concerned after a 34-16 loss to the New York Jets last Sunday. Jets' running back Isaiah Crowell torched the Broncos with a team record-setting 219 yards rushing. Certainly containing Gurley will be a priority for Denver's defense.