Rams Seek Playoff Spot
Dominate Seahawks in 28-12 Win
December 12, 2019
One down, three to go. Those are the numbers the Los Angeles Rams are looking at in their urgent quest to secure an NFC Wild Card spot for the 2019 NFL Playoffs starting in four weeks. The rejuvenated Rams dominated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-12, on Sunday Night Football at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in an NFC West clash for their second consecutive impressive win.
"Great team win, really pleased with our guys today," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "I thought our defense was outstanding from the start against a great offense that has been putting a lot of pressure on people. It's a great football team tonight that we played... and now we've got to do a great job next week against the Cowboys."
The 8-5 Rams will now travel to Dallas for this Sunday's critical battle against a reeling 6-7 Cowboy team, leading but barely clinging onto the NFC East Division lead. The Cowboys have lost four of their last five contests, including a 31-24 Thursday Night Football loss to the Chicago Bears to fall into a virtual tie with division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
With three games remaining in the regular season the Rams trail the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings by one for the last NFC Wild Card slot. There's a remote chance the Rams could catch the 10-3 Seahawks but they would have to win their last three games while Seattle would have to lose two of their last three. The Rams plays at San Francisco 49ers next week and host the Arizona Cardinals in the season finale.
Regardless, the Rams need some outside help to qualify for the playoffs. They could get some unexpected support from across town as the Chargers host the Vikings this Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. Minnesota hosts the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 16 and the Chicago Bears in the final week.
"We're just playing our football. I feel like the offense has been playing great. And when you're putting points up like that it gives us the opportunity to get after the quarterback," said defensive tackle Aaron Donald following the Rams shutdown of quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense on Sunday night.
"We've been doing it and guys have been getting the quarterback down. And when you got guys you can constantly rotate with that run out there and make plays, it tends to make it a little fun because anybody can make a big play at any time."
Kicker Jason Myers gave Seattle a 3-0 lead in the first quarter with a 39-yard field goal. On the next drive Malcolm Brown gave the Rams the permanent lead with a one-yard touchdown run. The offense never looked back as quarterback Jared Goff used multiple weapons: running back Todd Gurley, wide receiver Robert Woods and tight end Tyler Higbee were in prime form.
"I think that has been a point of emphasis to start fast and to be fast on offense and get that first, first down," said Goff. "It just gets us rolling and it was a great play by Rob (Woods). We dialed one up there and he got a good look for it. It was good."
Woods' two-yard touchdown reception at the start of the second quarter was first touchdown catch of the season. Head coach Sean McVay's offense started to resemble the up-tempo machine from the past two seasons. Gurley was getting his rushing touches and Goff was in motion spreading the ball around through the air.
Goff felt comfortable about the resurgent offense of the past two games: "There's a bunch of things it does. It slows down the rush, it allows us to get them set and they're inevitably a little bit tired when we are going no-huddle. It's also something I've done my whole life. I've always been a no-huddle since I was in high school, so it is a little bit of a comfort zone for me."
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half. Grateful to forget the last home game fiasco loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the fans gave the Rams big props as the team ran off the field with a 21-3 halftime lead. It was a welcome relief as the Rams scored three touchdowns in four first half possessions, another first for the season.
Goff did not have a clean sheet for the game as Quandre Diggs got a pick-six interception to start off the third quarter. "Just a little miscommunication. I wish I could have spent a little bit more time seeing that, said Goff. "Not good there to start the second half doing that. Just taking care of the ball is definitely going to be a point of emphasis."
Fortunately the Rams defense pressured Wilson all night in the backfield, sacking him five times. Linebackers Samson Ebukam and Dante Fowler had two and 1.5 sacks respectively. Aaron Donald continued his success against the Seahawks with 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits. Wilson was hit a total of 11 times and never generated a touchdown drive during the game.
Donald: "You see the offense score points, that gets us amped up and pumped up to go out there and get those guys then ball back and that's what we've been doing."
Goff drove the Rams 95 yards in seven plays to put the game on ice early in the fourth quarter. A pass to Higbee, a right end run by Josh Reynolds, a short pass to Woods followed by two end sweeps by Woods, and a 7-yard touchdown run accented by a textbook stiff-arm by Gurley gave the fans a thrill and then some. The Rams dominated offensively with 455 total yards to 308 for the Seahawks.
The Rams were already gearing up postgame for the Cowboys this Sunday. "I believe we're hitting our stride at the right time. We just got to build off this, said safety Eric Weddle. "We kept our season alive and we got to keep that energy and that do-or-die attitude the rest of the way. And that's what we've been doing the last couple weeks."