The way the schedule fell for the Los Angeles Rams gave them every opportunity to be perfect through the first quarter of the season.
The real test for the Rams started on Sunday. They passed by overcoming more adversity than they could have expected.
“The toughness and the resolve of this team was certainly tested today and guys delivered in a big way,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
The Rams escaped from Seattle with a 33-31 win over the Seahawks on Sunday that kept Los Angeles as one of two unbeaten teams in the league. Los Angeles moved to 5-0 by leaning heavily on Todd Gurley and Jared Goff, making a key defensive stand in the fourth quarter and a gutsy fourth-down call to clinch the victory.
It was the kind of victory the Rams needed. They were down two of their top offensive stars after Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp suffered concussions. They trailed in the fourth quarter and watched Goff respond. And they prevailed in a venue that’s been exceedingly difficult for road teams recent years.
“You need to know when these games come around, can you finish. That’s what we did today,” Gurley said. “Tough environment. Doesn’t matter which team it is. You’ve just got to be able to close out those close games.”
Gurley rushed for three touchdowns, despite being held to only 77 yards rushing. He’s got seven total TDs in the past two games against Seattle, and even with Kupp and Cooks missing the entire second half, the Rams were still able to put up 468 total yards and average 7.4 yards per play against a Seattle defense that, for the most part, played well.
For all the big yards the Rams racked up, it was the 2 yards Goff got on fourth-and-1 with 1:39 left that sealed the victory, as he plunged forward to convert the risky call by McVay. For some longtime Rams, winning again in Seattle is a sweet feeling.
“This just continues the rivalry,” Rams guard Rodger Saffold III said. “A lot of these guys weren’t here, but I remember the days when Golden Tate used to taunt us before he got to the end zone. I remember the close games in the Edward Jones Dome. You could say that sways my decision about what I think about this team, but at the end of the day we knew it was going to be a tough, physical game.”
Here’s what else to know from the Rams third win in the past four seasons in Seattle:
The Seahawks were noticeably upset about a key holding call against guard D.J. Fluker late in the fourth quarter that knocked Seattle from field goal range and eventually led to a punt. The holding call put Seattle in second-and-23 at the Rams 45 and after a pair of incomplete passes, the Seahawks were forced to punt.
While some Seattle player claimed it wasn’t a penalty, Seattle coach Pete Carroll was particularly miffed about the call.
“I haven’t seen the play, there’s a lot of plays in that game that probably could have warranted a penalty throw and it happened on that play right then,” Carroll said. “It’s unfortunate.”
New Rams kicker Cairo Santos was in line to get blame. He missed an extra point early in the fourth quarter that left Los Angeles facing a 31-30 deficit. But he came back later in the fourth and hit a 39-yard field goal for what proved to be the winning points.
COMMITTED TO THE RUN
There is no question Seattle has found an offensive plan that works and is based around its run game. Seattle had a running back top 100 yards rushing for a third straight game with Chris Carson rushing for 116 yards on just 19 rushes and averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Seattle finished with 190 yards rushing as a team and got zero yards from Russell Wilson.
Carson has two of those three games reaching the century mark, with the other belonging to Mike Davis. It’s the first time Seattle has gone three straight games with a running back topping 100 yards since late in the 2012 season.
OUT OF THE HOSPITAL
Seattle defensive end Frank Clark had a sack and an interception off a deflected pass. That’s a good game for any defensive end, but Clark’s performance was slightly more impressive considering he twice spent time in a local hospital this week dealing with what he believed was food poisoning.
Clark said he lost about 12 pounds and ended up receiving eight IVs to replenish his fluids and try to be able to play.
“Once I knew I got my fluids back, I knew I was going to be able to come out here and compete,” Clark said.
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