Head-to-head results are critical in a loaded NFC West that may feature four playoff contenders, and the Los Angeles Rams picked up a key win Thursday.
Los Angeles defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26-17 in the divisional showdown at Lumen Field. Matthew Stafford, Robert Woods and Darrell Henderson Jr. led the way for the victors, who improved to 4-1 and moved closer to the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals in the early race.
The Seahawks dropped to 2-3 and into last place, but that wasn't their only concern. Russell Wilson left with a finger injury, although Geno Smith played admirably in his place while attempting to lead a late comeback before Nick Scott intercepted him to clinch the win.
Notable Player Stats
- Matthew Stafford, QB, LA: 25-of-37 passing for 365 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, LA: 17 carries for 82 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch for 17 yards
- Robert Woods, WR, LA: 12 catches for 150 yards
- Russell Wilson, QB, SEA: 11-of-16 passing for 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Geno Smith, QB, SEA: 10-of-17 passing for 131 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- DK Metcalf, WR, SEA: 5 catches for 98 yards, 2 TDs
Rams Come Alive in Second Half for Win
Whether the Rams would bounce back against the Seahawks was one of the biggest storylines of the entire week. After all, they looked like arguably the best team in the league through the first three games, which included a double-digit victory over the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And then they were steamrolled by the Cardinals.
That was the backdrop as the offense struggled throughout the first half on the way to three points. There was a delay of game amid confusion, a 3rd-and-10 draw near midfield and a terrible interception from Stafford when Quandre Diggs picked off an attempted throw-away in the end zone.
Woods was a bright spot, but the offense offered few early signs of encouragement coming off the blowout loss, and Stafford was wearing a wrap on his finger.
All it took was an underthrown deep ball to DeSean Jackson to turn things around. The wide receiver adjusted for a big play to set up a go-ahead Henderson touchdown on Los Angeles' first drive of the second half before Stafford threw two strikes to Woods to set up another to Tyler Higbee for another touchdown on the next possession.
Stafford hits <a href="https://twitter.com/Ty_Higs19?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ty_Higs19</a> to extend the <a href="https://twitter.com/RamsNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RamsNFL</a> lead! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RamsHouse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RamsHouse</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSEA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSEA</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>📱: NFL App <a href="https://t.co/61Yd453PbY">pic.twitter.com/61Yd453PbY</a>
Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats
Robert Woods Target Chart 🎯<br><br>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).<br><br>🔹 Woods Average Separation: 4.2 yards<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSEA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSEA</a> | Powered by <a href="https://twitter.com/awscloud?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@awscloud</a> <a href="https://t.co/myuMp5hS0l">pic.twitter.com/myuMp5hS0l</a>
Only took the <a href="https://twitter.com/RamsNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RamsNFL</a> six plays to respond with a score. <a href="https://twitter.com/Flyguy2stackz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Flyguy2stackz</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RamsHouse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RamsHouse</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSEA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSEA</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>📱: NFL App <a href="https://t.co/HWdMYwjKa7">pic.twitter.com/HWdMYwjKa7</a>
Just when things looked to be slipping away as the crowd responded to Smith's dramatic touchdown drive to bring the Seahawks back into the game, Stafford responded with clutch throws to Woods and Cooper Kupp before Sony Michel created some breathing room again with a touchdown run.
That, along with the well-timed interception for Scott, was enough to earn the road win.
Geno Smith's Comeback Magic Falls Short
Thursday's matchup was quite the daunting task for the Seahawks even before Wilson suffered the injury.
After all, they didn't have starting running back Chris Carson and had to face a Rams defense featuring Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. The duo made their presence felt right away. Donald stuffed a 4th-and-2 attempt, and Ramsey deflected a Wilson pass into the air for a Troy Reeder interception.
To Seattle's credit, it took a 7-3 lead into intermission thanks to DK Metcalf's touchdown catch after he beat Ramsey on a slant. Still, the missed opportunities lingered considering Wilson's touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett was nullified for holding and Jason Myers missed a field goal to end the half.
That's when things went off script in the second half.
Not only did Smith have to come in for Wilson, but punter Michael Dickson had one of the most memorable special teams plays of the year when he scooped up a blocked punt and somehow kicked it again to pin the Rams inside the 20-yard line.
It seemed to be a highlight in a game that was already lost, but Smith tried to play hero by directing a stunning 98-yard touchdown drive that included a deep ball to Metcalf for the score. He also led a field-goal drive in response to the Rams' next touchdown to stay within a single score and set up one final chance.
Unfortunately for the home team, that chance ended with an interception.
Both teams are on the road in Week 6 when the Rams face the New York Giants and the Seahawks play the Pittsburgh Steelers.