The LA Rams went up to Seattle on Thursday night and will fly home at 4-1 thanks to a 26-17 victory against the Seahawks in Week 5. The Rams rebound from their loss to the Arizona Cardinals and improve to 1-1 in the NFC West, keeping their hopes well alive to be the top seed in the conference by season’s end.
It was a bizarre game with both quarterbacks injuring a finger — Russell Wilson didn’t return from his injury — and there were multiple turnovers and a blocked punt that ended up going .... 68 yards.
Nick Scott ended the game
At a time when the LA Rams seemed to be desperate for help in the secondary, the hero of the night was number three safety Nick Scott. Holding a 23-17 lead with a little over 2:00 remaining, Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett tripped and the pass from backup quarterback Geno Smith was intercepted by Scott.
That ended the game and sealed a 4-1 record for the Rams, sending the Seahawks down to 2-3.
Jalen Ramsey also caused an interception of Russell Wilson in the first quarter, deflecting a pass that was picked by Troy Reeder.
Matthew Stafford has a finger injury
Though Matthew Stafford was a bit inaccurate to start the game, he didn’t sprain his finger until after a few of those errant throws. Thankfully, Stafford was able to have his finger taped and he returned to the game seemingly no worse for the wear.
Stafford finished the game with 25-of-37 passing for 365 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
He seems fine but add it to the list of nicks, scrapes, and bruises with Stafford that we will have to monitor moving forward.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also suffered a finger injury and was removed from the game
Stafford wasn’t the only quarterback who injured his throwing hand on Thursday night. Seattle’s Russell Wilson banged his middle finger on Aaron Donald’s helmet, awkwardly bending it and forcing Wilson to leave the game in favor of Geno Smith for the fourth quarter.
Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford both dealing with finger injuries.— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 8, 2021
Rams lead the Seahawks 9-7 at the moment pic.twitter.com/hKkGxBJnKo
Wilson was held to 11-of-16 passing for 152 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and two sacks. He had barely missed a snap over the first eight seasons of his career prior to Thursday night but was absent for the fourth quarter in this game.
The Rams defense got beat down the field by Geno Smith’s first extensive playing time 2017
The Seahawks got bad news with Wilson, but LA got some bad news when they saw what Smith did on his first real drive in a regular season game since playing with the Giants in 2017. Smith completed five-of-five attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown to DK Metcalf, which cut the lead to 16-14 at the time.
Then Stafford came in and led a six-play, 73-yard drive that ended in a touchdown run for Sony Michel.
Smith ended the game 10-of-17 for 131 yards.
The Rams have a major cornerback problem
There are two big reasons why Geno Smith was able to drive right down the field for Seattle and one of them was an issue that was exposed all day by Wilson and the Seahawks offense: cornerbacks Robert Rochell and Darious Williams.
And safety Taylor Rapp and linebacker Troy Reeder and I should just stick to talking about the cornerbacks for now.
After calls to start Rochell over David Long, Jr. because of Long’s struggles so far this season, Sean McVay acquiesced and started the fourth round rookie out of Central Arkansas against Seattle. It didn’t go well.
Robert Rochell completely misplayed that. Seemed to watch as the ball went over his head. Geno Smith leads the Seahawks 98 yards down the field to score a touchdown.— DOWNTOWN RAMS [DTR] (@DowntownRams) October 8, 2021
Rams 16, Seahawks 14.
This article is an immediate reaction to the game, so that means that I don’t have all the numbers or evidence in front of me right now and maybe I’ll owe Rochell or Williams an apology next week, but right now it is not looking good for LA’s pass defense.
Other than Jalen Ramsey and Jordan Fuller, it seems that the Rams need to find more starting quality players in the secondary or Raheem Morris is going to have to figure out how to channel his inner-Staley.
Darious Williams was injured
A situation will go from bad to worse if Darious Williams misses any game action. He was accidentally hit in the head by Taylor Rapp. He was replaced by David Long.
David Long Jr. in for Darious Williams. He's lined up inside. Robert Rochell still on the outside.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) October 8, 2021
The Rams couldn’t get pressure against the Seahawks offensive line
The other reason that Geno Smith marched down the field multiple times is that the LA Rams didn’t do a good enough job to put pressure on him during his first extensive game action in four years. I thought that Smith actually looked pretty stiff and statuesque out there and he was able to hang back and launch to open receivers like a fortunate college quarterback who has been gifted with the perfect situation.
Except that facing last season’s number one pass defense isn’t supposed to be a “perfect situation.”
The Rams are in trouble with their cornerbacks. They’re also in trouble in finding starting pass rushers other than Aaron Donald and maybe Terrell Lewis. But Leonard Floyd, A’Shawn Robinson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Greg Gaines ... they’re giving the defense little-to-nothing as pass rushers and that hurt on Thursday night.
Darrell Henderson might actually be really good
Since returning from his one-game absence due to a rib cartilage injury, I’ve felt that Darrell Henderson has played his best football since becoming the potential starter at the start of 2020, then falling behind, then getting his chance again.
Henderson had 17 carries for 82 yards against the Seahawks with a touchdown. McVay also utilized Sony Michel, who got 11 carries for 37 yards. Each running back also had a catch.
Over the last two games, Henderson has 31 carries for 171 yards, an average of 6.0 yards per carry.
Robert Woods finally had his moment to shine this season
After getting questioned as to why Robert Woods wasn’t being utilized more, Sean McVay said that he took responsibility for him not getting more opportunities this year. That changed on Thursday, as Woods finished with 12 catches on 14 targets for 150 yards.
Robert Woods Target Chart— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 8, 2021
Woods was at his best tonight when targeted on in-breaking routes, finishing with 6 receptions on 7 targets for 117 yards (out of his 150 total receiving yards).
Woods Average Separation: 4.2 yards#LARvsSEA | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/myuMp5hS0l
This is the fifth-highest receiving yardage total of Woods’ career and the second time he’s done it against the Seahawks. Woods had 10 catches for 162 yards against Seattle as a member of the Bills in 2016.
Cooper Kupp still finished with seven catches for 92 yards. DeSean Jackson had a 68-yard grab. Van Jefferson was less fortunate, catching one of four targets for 16 yards. Tyler Higbee caught a touchdown pass.
What happened on the Michael Dickson punt?
The Rams actually blocked a punt when linebacker Jamir Jones burst through Seattle’s protection and the ball sailed to the left. Jones could not find it though and punter Michael Dickson was able to run over to it and while it seemed he would try to run for a first down, instead he punted it again.
A flag was thrown but then picked up because of a change in the rule book this year that allows a punter to punt it twice if he’s behind the line of scrimmage. The punt went 68 yards.
In #LARvsSEA, the punt was blocked and recovered by the kicking team. The punter kicks the ball again from behind the line of scrimmage. This is a legal kick and the result of the play was the ball was ruled down at the 11 yard line. pic.twitter.com/saAYrCKlzp— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) October 8, 2021