The Los Angeles Rams played their most complete game of the season on Sunday. This was a good sign for the young team, as they did so in the most important game of the season. Heading north to Seattle with a one-game lead in the division, the Rams needed a win badly. In a season that has seen LA lose a lot of important games, outside of their matchup with the Saints, many people around the league had their doubts about the Rams. However, the young team from LA was focused and ignored the noise.
The Seahawks took the ball out of the gate, but that did not last long. The defense did what they have done best out of the gate this season, create turnovers. Russell Wilson found Jimmy Graham down the field, but Lamarcus Joyner knocked the ball loose and Alec Ogletree recovered. That fumble recovery was the Rams seventh forced turnover on an opponent’s first drive this season, accounting for half of their games. The Rams were unable to fully capitalize, only notching a field goal.
The story was the same on their next possession, another Greg Zuerlein field goal after good field position.
However, the Rams got tired of field goals. The defense held the Seahawks back again and forced a punt, which was returned by Pharoh Cooper. Cooper had an excellent return, taking the punt all the way to the one-yard line. Todd Gurley made things look easy after that, plowing in for a one-yard touchdown on the next play.
After yet another defensive stop, courtesy of multiple sacks by Aaron Donald and co, the Rams scored again. Gurley plowed in for another one-yard touchdown. This time the running back was set up by Cooper Kupp, who hauled in a pass and took it down to the one before being slung down. Then, the defense was right back at it. The Rams defense got back to storming up front and locking up the Seattle receivers. After taking back possession the offense drove down the field and Jared Goff found Robert Woods for a touchdown. Woods had an excellent game, not missing a beat after missing multiple games due to a shoulder injury.
So, the Rams sat up by 27 points seemingly headed towards halftime. However, after a quick three-and-out, LA all of a sudden had the ball back. A failed run and a quarterback sack had Sean McVay ready to head to the half, so Goff turned and handed the ball to Gurley. Gurley had other plans, breaking free for a 57-yard touchdown, his third of the half.
Coming out of the halftime locker room the Rams faced disappointment, Johnny Hekker came on for his first punt of the day. Thankfully, Robert Quinn and Donald continued to tee off on Wilson and the offense took the ball right back. On the ensuing drive, Gurley would land his fourth touchdown of the day, this one coming through the air.
Much of the excitement was over after that, with the Rams and Seahawks trading punts. Wilson was able to find a way to throw for one touchdown, and also suffered a safety due to an intentional grounding call in the endzone. In the end, the Rams came away with a victory by a score of 42-7.
Most Valuable Player – Todd Gurley
Gurley was incredible on Sunday. Being the MVP of the Rams from Sunday’s game was quite difficult given how many strong performances they had. The star running back scored four touchdowns on Sunday, increasing his total for the season to 17. Gurley personally scored 24 points, outscoring the Seahawks by 17. The running back’s breakaway touchdown right before halftime was truly the final nail in the coffin in the game. After that play, it felt nearly impossible for Seattle to mount any type of comeback.
Least Valuable Player – Cooper Kupp
Kupp mounted a decent game on Sunday, not getting many targets. His lack of impact combined with his early game drop that really could have come back to hurt his team makes him Sunday’s LVP. Exploding two of the past three weeks with Woods gone, Kupp was due for a down week. The rookie will have to work harder to find his targets with Woods back, especially given the third down chemistry between Goff and Woods.
The Rams are now 8-0 when Gurley gets more than 20 touches in a single game. Playing in just the first two and a half quarters on Sunday, Gurley mounted 21 carries and three catches. Those catches were the second most on the Rams, behind only Woods (six). Sean McVay was highly critical of himself last week against the Eagles because of how few touches he gave Gurley. McVay was sure to right that wrong this week, feeding his running back the rock early and often all the way to a victory.
LA now holds a two-game lead over the Seahawks in the NFC West. With just two games to go in the regular season, it is very likely that the Rams will take the division crown this season. Looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, this game was of vital importance to the Rams. McVay has led this young team to one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history and now has them set to clinch a playoff berth with one more win.
Next Sunday the Rams will take on the Tennessee Titans, looking to clinch the NFC West. The Titans are currently in a wild card spot in the AFC but will be fighting hard for position. LA found a lot of success this week against one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, and they will get a chance to do so again next week against Marcus Mariota. Facing another formidable test down the stretch, this is a big game for the Rams to win if they want to contend for a top-two seed.
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