The Seattle Seahawks put in a superb second-half performance to beat the Los Angeles Rams 20-9 on Sunday to clinch the NFL West division title.
After a defensive masterclass from both teams in the first two quarters, Seahawks' QB Russel Wilson seized control, rushing in for a touchdown in the corner of the endzone and finding TE Jacob Hollister for TD number 2 of the afternoon.
The Rams' offensive struggles during last week's loss to the Jets seemed to spill over. In an NFL game where the defense was always on top, LA couldn't muster enough creativity on the ground or through the air to get the points they needed.
Five takeways from the Seattle Seahawks' NFL win against the Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVey's team now need a big win against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL next week to make the playoffs. On that note, here are the five key takeaways from an outstanding NFL game.
#1 Jared Goff sustains an injury
Rams' quarterback Jared Goff came in for some criticism during the first half of the NFL game and not necessarily for that hideous pick he threw to Quandre Diggs.
With the Rams needing ten yards to keep the ball on the third-down, Goff opted to carry the dingus himself but slid about two yards short of the first rather than come into contact with the Seahawks' defense.
Head coach, Sean McVey was wearing a mask, so one couldn't make out exactly what words were used. But by measuring the white in his eyes, astute viewers could tell that he was less than impressed with his QB for that play. Goff needed to put his body on the line at that moment. He didn't, and it looked bad.
Fast forward a few moments. After Goth stabbed his thumb down hard on a Seahawks' helmet and had to snap it back into place to continue the game, wincing all the while, it's fair to say that viewer sentiment took a dramatic shift: Goff went from being a 'pocket player, scared of contact,' to a wounded warhorse galloping along the trenches of battle.
Rams fans will hope to see Goff make a quick return from the injury sustained in this game, and that it's the warhorse who goes stampeding into the playoffs.
#2 Seahawks' defense is on the up at just the right time
During the first half of the NFL season, the Seahawks defense was a regular letdown, shipping +30 points against the Patriots, Cowboys, Bills and Falcons.
In recent weeks though, things have begun to turn round for defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
Jamal Adams looks fit and hungry - that TD-saving tackle he made on Henderson Jr when he came from around the back of the pile was outstanding. He has chalked up 9.5 sacks in the year now. Additionally, the pass-rush is back.
Seattle sacked Goff three times and hit seven TFLs in a pivotal NFL game. In fact, the Seahawks have allowed 20-plus points in just one of their last seven (21 pts vs Cardinals, NFL week 11), which is worlds apart from their early season form.
It seems things are clicking into gear defensively for the Seahawks at just the right time. With a high powered offense capable of raining bombs on any parade, an offense featuring the likes of DK Metcalf, Russel Wilson, Chris Carson,and Tyler Lockett, nobody is going to want to face the Seahawks in the NFL playoffs.
#3 Aaron Donald makes a compelling case for Defensive player of the year (DPOY) award
Any kid in a playground could tell you the same thing. However, when we get to the end of the season honor roll, Aaron Donald has to be a lead contender for the DPOY award.
He might have only added one to his tally against the Seahawks. But against double (and even triple)-blocking schemes, "Cheat Code" brought constant pressure to QB Russel Wilson's door. The man is unstoppable when he wants to be.
Donald has now amassed 13.5 sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss on the year. He surely has to be considered a frontrunner for the award.
#4 DK Metcalf vs Jalen Ramsey: Who won?
DK Metcalf was kept down to a lowly 56 yards receiving while operating in Jalen Ramsey's company, and he didn't find the endzone either.
In the first NFL meeting between these two teams back in November, Metcalf faired even worse against Ramsey: he was targeted just four times, picking up 28-yards and zero 'tuddies'.
The stats don't lie: Ramsey has indeed outshone Metcalf and come out on top this year.
#5 Rams' WR Josh Reynolds makes a case for a new contract
Now entering the final year of his NFL rookie contract, Rams WR Josh Reynolds gave coach Sean McVey plenty to think about with his performance against Seattle.
Up against the Seahawks' much-improved coverage, the receiver finished the NFL game with a hard-earned 65 yards. He was targetted ten times and caught 60% of the throws that came his way.
Reynolds has proven himself a reliable go-to-guy during the NFL season, and his efforts against Seattle might just be enough to land himself a new deal in LA.
Published 31 Dec 2020, 01:20 IST