The Seattle Seahawks had to overcome a “poopfest” in order to secure their third division title in the last four seasons, and that’s what they managed to do on Thursday, beating the LA Rams 24-3 and winning the NFC West. Despite a pretty sloppy contest for most of the game — which included dropped passes, errant throws that should have been touchdowns, horrible fake punts, and a flurry of penalties — the Seahawks overcame their curse against the Rams (maybe it was just Jeff Fisher?) to improve to 9-4-1.
Best of all, we were reminded that Russell Wilson can be pretty good when he’s on his game.
Wilson finished 19-of-26 for 229 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception (a late bad decision while under pressure in the fourth quarter) after coming off of a career-worst five-interception game against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s 38-10 loss. A big reason for his success was Pete Carroll’s decision to replace Jermaine Kearse as the primary number two receiver with Tyler Lockett, who finished with a career-high 130 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Wilson also threw touchdown passes to Luke Willson and Doug Baldwin.
LA did a good job of bottling up the run game, holding Thomas Rawls to 34 yards on 21 carries, but it didn’t matter with Wilson playing like a Pro Bowl-caliber QB again and Rams’ QB Jared Goff playing like an inefficient rookie. Goff was sacked four times and held to 135 yards on 25 attempts.
Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril notched 1.5 sacks on Goff, giving him a new career-high for a season with 11.5. Fellow defensive end Frank Clark also had 1.5, giving him nine on the season. Michael Bennett added a sack, his first since returning from injury a few weeks ago, but left the game to be checked for a concussion.
Goff also left for a concussion check and then Seattle punter Jon Ryan took a shot on a fake punt in the fourth quarter and he went to the locker room for a head injury. Ryan gained 33 yards on the fake. Rams corner Mike Jordan is also in concussion protocol.
All of which fuels more disdain for playing on Thursday nights, as highlighted earlier in the week in Richard Sherman’s “poopfest” comments and noting that players aren’t adequately prepared to go on three days of rest.
Even with the win and a division title, the Seahawks can’t relax as they need to win their next two games (vs Arizona Cardinals, at San Francisco 49ers) to have any likely shot at getting the number two seed in the NFC. That would be the difference of having to win a wild card game and then go on the road in the divisional round as opposed to going straight to the divisional round and being the home team.
Seattle plays next Saturday, Christmas Eve, at 1:25 PM PST at CenturyLink.