Todd Gurley, Rams Survive Russell Wilson, Seahawks as Jared Goff Throws 2 TDs

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores a touchdown in front of defensive end Dion Jordan #95 of the Seattle Seahawks to take a 17-14 lead in the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 36-31 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Todd Gurley totaled 160 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown to help the Rams earn a hard-fought victory at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, improving to 9-1 on the season. The NFC West race is almost over, as Los Angeles holds a 4.5-game lead in the division.

Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes as the Seahawks (4-5) saw their road to the postseason get tougher.


Jared Goff, Not Todd Gurley, Is Rams' Most Important Player

Todd Gurley has been the best running back in football this season, and he showed his skill set once again Sunday with 120 rushing yards on 16 carries.

He scored a touchdown for the 13th straight game, including every week so far this season. He has been arguably the MVP of fantasy football and a top contender for the league's MVP award.

However, Jared Goff is much more important for the Rams, and his level of play has determined the team's success on the offensive end.

The quarterback has spread the ball around to his talented receivers all season, but Sunday he showed his ability to find his tight ends through small windows on his two touchdown passes:


.@jaredgoff16 connects with @lightningstrk12 for the @RamsNFL TD! All tied up at 7 in LA. 📺: CBS #Seahawks https://t.co/Mv8wvpUBJ2


.@JaredGoff16 + @Ty_Higs19... @RamsNFL TD! 📺: CBS #LARams https://t.co/I8ss32ii91

The passes are finally starting to get the attention he deserves:

Steve Wyche @wyche89

Jared Goff is so much better than people think. Accurate, good decision maker and he can throw the hell out of the ball. Nice TD drive that ended with a Goff pass to Everett. 7-all as Rams counter Seahawks opening-Drive score

Ryan Clark @Realrclark25

What a throw by Goff! Put it on the back shoulder of the TE to keep him away from the defender

Goff finished with 318 passing yards with two touchdowns and a 113.0 quarterback rating against a quality passing defense. 

Head coach Sean McVay deserves credit for developing this offense and calling plays, but the quarterback is going through his progressions and making outstanding throws week in, week out.

As good as Gurley has been, he benefits from the spread offense and the fact that opponents are usually in nickel and dime packages. If he got injured, backup Malcolm Brown would be capable of putting up quality numbers as well.

The Rams offense might not be able to recover if Goff went down.

Sunday's effort showed why the quarterback should be in the MVP conversation and why he is the team's most important player. 


Seahawks Reveal Blueprint for Beating the Rams

The Rams were the best team in football for the first eight games, with both the offense and defense playing at an elite level.

However, the defense has struggled over the past couple of weeks, especially in the running game:

trey wingo @wingoz

Rams better find their run defense soon. This is a Seattle team that’s beat up on the OL and they are crushing LA on the ground

Even without its No. 1 running back (Chris Carson), Seattle torched the Rams on the ground with 273 yards at an 8.0 average per carry.

This not only helped the Seahawks move the football consistently, but it also helped control the clock while setting up easier passes late in drives.

While Russell Wilson didn't have his best game (just 176 passing yards), his first two touchdowns were against single coverage. Much of his other success came on play-action passes.

The Saints had a similar performance offensively against the Rams, using 141 rushing yards to set up the rest of the attack. Alvin Kamara was unstoppable, and that allowed Michael Thomas to run free down the field.

Any team that can run the ball effectively against Los Angeles has a chance to control the action and keep the Rams offense off the field.

On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks defense also excelled at limiting big plays. There was only one passing play that went for more than 30 yards, while not a single rush topped 20 yards.

The Rams were forced to work harder for scores.

Obviously, things didn't go completely as planned for the Seahawks. A fourth-quarter Wilson fumble led to an easy Rams score, which transformed the outlook of the game.

They also had the chance to win on the final drive but couldn't connect on a few key passes.

Still, a better team can use these guidelines to beat the Rams, which should be a concern for the Super Bowl contender.


Rashaad Penny Poised for Huge Second Half for Seahawks

For the first eight weeks of the season, Rashaad Penny was considered one of the biggest busts in the 2018 NFL draft. The first-round pick had just 146 rushing yards while sitting third on the depth chart behind Carson and Mike Davis.

However, he came through with by far his best effort of the season against the Rams, rushing for 108 yards on 12 carries and the first touchdown of his career:


.@pennyhendrixx finds the end zone for the @seahawks! 📺: CBS #Seahawks https://t.co/0Wf6tzplp5

Beyond the numbers, Penny looked impressive on his bigger runs:

Mike Salk, 710 ESPN @TheMikeSalk

Rashaad Penny is a glider. Looks bad when it doesn't work Looks pretty darn good when it does...

Patrick Daugherty @RotoPat

Rashaad Penny looked like a player with another gear on his 38- and 18-yard carries on that drive. The second goes for a score on a read option.

The running back looked like someone worthy of a first-round pick and who could potentially be a game-changer down the line.

This came after averaging 4.7 yards per carry on his last 22 attempts since Week 4.

Carson has done everything the team has asked of him, but his injury history provides little reason to trust him on a weekly basis. Although Davis has also run hard, he lacks Penny's upside.

Sunday's effort showed why the Seahawks should continue feeding the rookie, potentially making him the focal point of the offense by the end of the year.

With the way the line has blocked for the running game this season, Penny has a chance to make people forget about his slow start and have some big numbers in the next two months.


What's Next?

Both teams will be on prime time for exciting Week 11 matchups. The Seahawks will host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, while the Rams will take on the Kansas City Chiefs next Monday in what should be a high-scoring battle.