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Rams-Seahawks: Elite pass rush, secondary push LA into tie for first place

The NFL’s best defense may reside at SoFi Stadium

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams took a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter on a Darrell Henderson touchdown run and never looked back in their critical NFC West showdown against the Seattle Seahawks. They are now in a tie for first place in the NFC West.

Playing against the NFL’s worst pass defense, Jared Goff did as he should and completed 27 of 37 passes for 302 yards and the Rams gained 107 rushing yards to beat the Seahawks 23-16. But the defense was the apropos “star” of the day.

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey didn’t have his name called many times on Sunday. Neither did Aaron Donald. This doesn’t mean that Ramsey and Donald didn’t have dominant performances against Seattle. Ramsey’s main assignment was covering receiver DK Metcalf, who came into the game with the second-most yards in the NFL but finished with two receptions for only 28 yards. Donald had zero sacks but as usual was double teamed and opening up chances for his teammates and pressuring Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throughout.

Having these two elite players to build around, Sean McVay and Les Snead saw some of their complementary pieces begin to shine.

Rookie third round linebacker Terrell Lewis had the first two sacks of his career and free agent signee Leonard Floyd had three sacks and a fumble recovery. Floyd’s seven sacks on the season ties a career-high. In the secondary, cornerback Darious Williams had two interceptions on Wilson, including one in the end zone and the other coming in the fourth quarter that essentially sealed a victory for the Rams.

LA’s defense, which came into the game ranked second in points and yards allowed this season, held the Seahawks’ number one-ranked offense to only 13 points and 333 total yards. Wilson, a leading candidate for MVP honors a week ago, was 22 of 37 for 248 yards, no touchdowns, getting sacked six times. He also lost control of a low snap that was recovered by Floyd for a third turnover.

The only team that Wilson has faced over his last 30 starts that has kept him from throwing a touchdown pass is the Rams, and now they’ve done it twice in that span.

On a day mostly dominated by their defense, LA’s most explosive offensive weapon was receiver Josh Reynolds, who had eight receptions and 94 yards, both career-highs. Tyler Higbee had 60 yards, Cooper Kupp had 50 and Robert Woods had 33. Rookie Cam Akers had a season-high 10 rushing attempts, gaining 38 yards, but it was Malcolm Brown with two touchdowns and Darrell Henderson with one for the scoring on the ground.

Unfortunately not all of the news was good for LA: left tackle Andrew Whitworth was carted off with a leg injury and did not return. He was replaced by Joseph Noteboom, who was activated only this week after missing time with an injury of his own. Safety Taylor Rapp also left with injury and did not return.

Now 6-3, the Rams move into a tie for first place in the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle is also 6-3, but has Sunday’s head-to-head loss against Los Angeles. The Cardinals were nearly going to be 5-4 but they drafted Kyler Murray first overall in 2019 and traded for DeAndre Hopkins in 2020 and those two players combined for a hail mary to defeat the Buffalo Bills.

  • A’Shawn Robinson made his Rams debut, recording two tackles and one QB hit
  • Micah Kiser had a team-high 12 tackles
  • Jordan Fuller returned to the field with three tackles
  • Kai Forbath missed a PAT and nearly shanked a 23-yard field goal