The corner of the end zone waved to Rams, who ran back to Darrell Henderson, who made a handover in the third quarter, rounded the edge, and sprinted to the pylon. Henderson hurried away from Seattle’s line and dodged a defender – but not the man who was clearly racing over the formation to pull him down from behind, two yards from the goal line.
“There is no way I would let him run into that end zone,” said Jamal Adams, a Seattle security officer.
By preventing a touchdown, Adams retained the Seahawks’ lead and embodied a stifling defensive effort that fueled their fifth win in six games (20-9) against Los Angeles to earn their first N.F.C. Western title since 2016.
Back then, Seattle’s identity revolved around its defense, a heavy rush of passers-by, a formidable supporting role, and the colorful personalities who drove her. This edition of the Defense of Seattle does not surpass that of the Legion of Boom – By the middle of the season, Seattle was well on its way to allowing the most overtaking maneuvers in league history. For the past five weeks, Seattle has proven to be a real strength as it has put every opponent to 17 points or less.
Although the Rams played more games and held the ball six minutes longer than Seattle, they only managed nine points on three field goals that were choked in moments big and small. The Seahawks (11-4) released Jared Goff three times and intercepted him once. They were most powerful near their own end zone, filling the Rams with four chances within the Seattle 4-yard line after Adams’ tackle.
Just short of that stand, the Rams (9-6) were in second and fifth, 13-6 behind the 7th. Adams raced into the backfield as soon as the ball broke, chasing Henderson as if he were being propelled by rocket fuel and then he yanked it shyly at what the binding touchdown might have been. The next four games lasted minus 2, 3, 0 and 0 yards, and after the Seahawks knocked Malcolm Brown back in fourth place, they galloped off together.
“Give us a blade of grass and we’ll defend it,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who added that he will remember that goal-line sequence forever. “We were in full attack mode.”
This attack mode did not attack to the extent that it did earlier in the season when Russell Wilson threw touchdown passes at will. But after a desperate first half, Wilson led Seattle on an 80-yard scoring run, then secured victory with a 13-yard pass to Jacob Hollister 2 minutes 51 seconds ahead.
By winning the division title, Seattle secured at least number 3 in the N.F.C. It also denied the rams of a playoff berth that seemed safe eight days ago as they prepared to host the winless jets.
Even in this weekly league, the Rams are as trustworthy as an email from a Nigerian prince. Just as they neared stability and won four out of five in a stretch that started with a win over Seattle in Week 10, they collapsed against Jets. In other words, after defeating Bill Belichick in a short week, Sean McVay had 10 days to overtake Adam Gase and couldn’t.
Against teams with record profits – teams like the Seahawks – the Rams had won their last four by Sunday.
The stands at Lumen Field, one of N.F.L.’s hooligan venues, would normally have shuddered for such a critical game and were full of exuberant fans. The Seahawks long for this ambience. So did McVay, who said last week how much he expected not to be yelled at. “I like it kind of mixed up,” he said.
Perhaps, but McVay would have preferred to see evidence that last week’s loss was a divergence rather than perhaps the start of a disturbing trend.
The first half was an extension of the recent fortunes of both teams, all mediocre insults and suffocating defenses with a certain score. If the field had been shortened to 60 meters, Seattle and Los Angeles might not have noticed: neither was there a game in the red zone.
The Rams ‘forays into the Seahawks’ territory resulted in two field targets and an interception that defied justification. On the first and tenth of the 29-yard line, Goff staggered right and staggered to the sidelines, where a piece of open space greeted him. Instead of running, he floated a pass over his body into an area the size of a city park, but with no receiver.
Quandre Diggs, one of the few Seattle defenders nearby, came to the interception, Goff’s 13th of the season, and Seattle converted the turnover into a field goal that put the game 6-6 at halftime.
With their stingy defense and their excellent coaching, the Rams don’t need Goff’s brilliance, just competence. It doesn’t have to be the reason the Rams win, just not be the reason they lose. In a league full of dazzling quarterbacks, the term game manager seems to have a derogatory connotation, but it shouldn’t.
Goff has previously performed elementary tasks for the position such as: B. Make smart decisions quickly and not turn the ball. But when he fails, Wilson’s ability becomes more evident.
Reliable quarterback play separated Seattle from the Rams on Sunday. But something else, the defense, once vicious but now when the Seahawks needed it, was beneficial.