A couple of plays symbolized what the Los Angeles Rams needed to do to beat the Seattle Seahawks in their Thursday Night Football matchup. Down 7-3 entering the third quarter, the Rams needed a pickup.
They got that pickup in the form of a 68-yard completion from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
The Rams, somewhat stagnant in the first half, seemed to turn their offense full throttle after the Jackson catch. Los Angeles would score 23 of its 26 points over the final two quarters on their way to a 26-17 win against the NFC West Division rivals.
Jackson’s play was one of several key plays the Rams converted against the Seahawks to win the ballgame. Two of them came in the last minutes of the fourth quarter.
With Seattle having the opportunity to possibly drive down the field for the potential winning score, safety Nick Scott nullified that idea when he picked off Seattle backup quarterback Geno Smith.
Matt Gay nailing down a 47-yard field goal clinched the Rams’ fourth win of the season. Scott and Gay’s contributions at the end of the game were just an indicator of how the Rams played collectively, particularly when it mattered most. Stafford picked up his mediocre play in the first half to throw for 365 yards during the game.
Wide receiver Robert Woods torched the Seattle secondary for 12 catches and 150 yards. And of course, when they needed some defensive synergy, Aaron Donald gave it to them with his franchise-leading sack of Russell Wilson. Donald’s sack of Wilson gives the Rams defensive lineman a total of 88.5 sacks in his NFL career.
It was also the 14th sack of Wilson by Donald. The Rams won this game because they were able to come up with more big moments than their counterparts in Seattle.
“Yeah, It really came down to execution – the turning the ball over in the red zone and then not coming away with points there, and then just some missed opportunities where we were just a little off for a variety of reasons,” Rams coach Sean McVay said in a Zoom press conference the day after the Rams had beaten the Seahawks.
“But, what I liked the most is it’s about how you finish. I’d like to see us play consistent through four quarters. I think that’s going to be important enough for us to be able to do that. And for me – not to kind of say the same things week in and week out – but I love the resilience. I love the resolve of this team, but it really boiled down to execution. Then guys just made some plays,” McVay added.
These were plays McVay’s team left on the field in a home defeat to the Arizona Cardinals days earlier. The quick turnaround from Sunday to a game on Thursday turned out to be beneficial for the ballclub,” McVay said.
“The way the guys handled the short turnaround, the way that they didn’t let one bad performance turn into two, the mental toughness, the resolve, the ability to be able to move on quickly, and not let things lag and drag,” remarked McVay. “I thought that was reflected. And I thought what happened was, you don’t want to have too many opportunities where you’re having to overcome adversity, but it is great we did that. I like the way that we’re picking each other up as a team.”
Four of the five teams the Rams have played and beaten this season made the playoffs last year. Their lone slip-up came against the undefeated Cardinals. After making it through a tough first month and a half, the Rams’ upcoming schedule appears a bit easier with three games against teams with losing records (New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans).
After that, the Rams get the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers before they take on the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 28. McVay is not taking any opponent for granted. Facing a team with a losing record simply means you cannot afford to let your guard down as a ballclub, McVay said.
“Even though the records are what they are, there’s a reason why every single week there are those one or two results that make you say, ‘I cannot believe that happened,’” McVay said. “It’s why people lose a lot of money betting on NFL games week in and week out. You got to show up.”
McVay continued, “I say this to the team all the time, the thing that’s so amazing about the NFL is the best team doesn’t always win, but the team that plays the best in the three-hour span that you get, is who wins the game. And there’s a lot of things that factor into who wins and loses and what happens in that window of time.”
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has guided his team to a 4-1 start in the team’s first five games fo the NFL’s 2021 season. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline