The Seattle Seahawks still have playoff hopes in 2022 while the Los Angeles Rams do not. Seattle came into this NFC West matchup with a 6-5 record, and the Rams were hoping to play the role of spoiler and send the Seahawks back to .500.
But Geno Smith and the Seahawks rallied late to spoil the Rams’ plans - coming out on top 27-23. It was an ending fitting for the rainy, dreary Los Angeles weather.
Bobby Wagner, MLB
Wagner downplayed all week how much this game against his former team meant to him, but his fiery play on the field told a different story.
The veteran recorded seven total tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, and stole the ball away from a Seattle receiver for an interception. Wagner was out for a win, but his defense couldn’t close out the game.
You also saw signs of why the Seahawks were willing to move on from the middle linebacker, as he struggled in coverage at times and gave up a long catch and run to tight end Noah Fant.
Tutu Atwell, WR
How much more productive would the offense have been this season if the Rams gave all of Allen Robinson’s snaps and targets instead to Atwell? The second-year receiver is impactful every time he touches the ball, but LA has been reluctant to make him a regular contributor on offense.
I’m trying not to overreact but the Rams played Allen Robinson and Ben Skowronek over Tutu Atwell all season…— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) December 4, 2022
Atwell finished with four rushes for 23 yards, as well as two receptions for 48 yards. He also came close to catching a touchdown in double coverage in the first half, but failed to drag his second foot on what was probably John Wolford’s best throw of the day. It’s also fair to note that Wolford’s limitations as a passer left a lot of yards on the field for the adept deep threat today.
Cam Akers, RB
From a healthy inactive over the middle part of the season to a resurgent runner and likely 2023 starter - Cam Akers has rebounded in a big way of late.
He finished with 17 carries for 60 yards (3.5 avg) and 2 touchdowns. Akers routinely created yards beyond what the offensive line was creating on the ground.
Michael Hoecht, OLB
If you didn’t already know that Michael Hoecht entered the NFL as an undrafted interior defensive lineman, you’d probably assume he was a high draft pick at OLB based on his play over the last few weeks.
Hoecht is explosive and has burst off the edge, which resulted in two sacks on Smith in this game - including a strip sack that was recovered by Taylor Rapp. The Rams shouldn’t trust him to start in 2023, but he can be an important rotational player on the edge of the defense.
Brandon Powell, WR
With the passing game struggling the Rams worked to get receivers involved in the running game, and Powell had three carries for 45 yards. He also had a long of 20 yards, which set up Akers second touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Powell also caught four passes for 39 yards.
Cobie Durant, CB
Durant did not play much in this game, but with David Long and Derion Kendrick struggling he had some opportunities late. This included a deflected pass on the Seahawks’ winning drive. The rookie broke a little late on the ball, but he was extremely close to a game-sealing interception.
It’s a mystery why the Rams have not given more opportunities to their rookie fourth-round pick.
John Wolford, QB
Simply Wolford is not cut out to play in the NFL, and the quarterback showed his extreme limitations in this game. Two plays best outline his struggles:
1 - Tutu Atwell has a step on his defender in the end zone along the right sideline. Seemed to be a designed throwback to Atwell off a jet sweep action. Wolford instead throws a wheel route to RB Kyren Williams, who’s smothered by two defenders and Tariq Woolen gets the interception.
2 - Atwell has at least three steps on Woolen along the left sideline. Wolford woefully underthrows the ball to the point where the corner is able to make a play and almost comes away with an interception. It turned a sure touchdown into an almost turnover.
Wolford finished the game completed 14 of 26 passes for 178 yards and two interceptions. He also scrambled five times for 29 yards.
Tutu Atwell wide open for a 75-yard TD but John Wolford's baby arm can't get it there— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) December 4, 2022
Rams’ management of QB position
The San Francisco 49ers spent the very last pick of the draft on Brock Purdy of Iowa State. After the 49ers lost both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo for the season, Purdy is all that’s left on the depth chart. Purdy responded by throwing two touchdowns against a good team - the Miami Dolphins. Garoppolo’s injury easily could have spelled disaster, but San Francisco rallied around the rookie.
It’s a stark juxtaposition for Sean McVay, who has never drafted a quarterback since his arrival in 2017. Wolford has been in the building learning behind the scenes for four years, Bryce Perkins has been in the QB room for three - there’s no excuse for inept backup quarterback play and no excuse for seeming so unprepared.
Worst throw in the history of the league pic.twitter.com/gO8wRGTBjT— Twan (@younggothamjedi) December 5, 2022
Derion Kendrick, CB
Kendrick has been the most targeted defender on the Rams defense, and rarely has he made opposing offenses pay for looking his way. The rookie’s physical limitations are evident - an example of this was the long reception by DK Metcalf along the right sideline.
You hate to bury a rookie sixth-round pick, but it’s difficult to see the upside with Kendrick. It’s probably time for LA to put Durant on the field instead.
Leonard Floyd, OLB
Leonard Floyd had an opportunity to contain Smith on third down, but the QB instead put a move on the OLB and rushed for the first down. While the undrafted Michael Hoecht is playing with tenacity and making a name for himself, Leonard Floyd is failing to live up to his billing as a former top draft pick.
It’s probably time for Los Angeles to move on this offseason.
Raheem Morris, Defensive Coordinator
Morris opened the season as one of the hottest candidates for a head coaching job. His defense has had significantly fewer injuries than the offense, but their play has still left a lot to desire. It’s the second time in three games that the defense has surrendered a last minute lead - and it’s happened against Andy Dalton and Geno Smith.
It’s been a long fall from grace for Morris, but he’s still far from the list of biggest things to go wrong with the 2022 LA Rams.