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Seahawks clinch NFC West title with superb 20-9 win over Rams

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks (11-4) are NFC West champions! Let’s celebrate!

With a brilliant, wire-to-wire defensive performance that solidified Seattle’s improvements on that side of the field, the Seahawks held the Los Angeles Rams (9-6) out of the end zone and the offense woke up in the 2nd half to turn a 6-6 halftime score into a 20-9 victory. Seattle is still alive for the #1 seed and is guaranteed to be no worse than #3 given the sorry state of the NFC East.

Russell Wilson overcame a slow start to have a rushing touchdown and a dagger of a passing touchdown to Jacob Hollister, while Jared Goff was sacked three times and threw an interception.

What a performance!

1st Half

The Rams got the ball first and went three-and-out with bad field position. This set the Seahawks up at their own 46. Russell Wilson was fortunate not to throw a pick-six to Darious Williams on 3rd down and sure enough the Seahawks punted it right back. Jared Goff converted three third down plays on the Rams’ next possession, but an inaccurate throw to Van Jefferson resulted in a Matt Gay 44-yard field goal. 3-0 Rams.

Both teams traded punts as the quarter came to a close and the defenses remained on top of things. Russell Wilson got into a bit of a rhythm and took the Seahawks into field goal range. He should’ve thrown a touchdown to Jacob Hollister on the wheel route but it was off-target and Hollister might have been bumped on the way there. Wilson was sacked on 3rd down and Jason Myers leveled it up. 3-3.

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp got the Rams into field goal range. Jamal Adams dropped an interception on a throw intended for Tyler Higbee, but Seattle’s defense held the Rams to a 51-yarder by Matt Gay. 6-3 Rams.

As the Seahawks offense continued to do nothing, the defense continued to play its ass off. The Rams initially had a three-and-out, only for Ryan Neal to have a punt block attempt turn into a drive-extending roughing the punter penalty. Once again in field goal range, Jared Goff threw on the run and Quandre Diggs was the only one in the camera frame with a chance to catch the ball. Fifth pick of the year for the Pro Bowl safety.

The Seahawks turned that into a field goal. DK Metcalf had a 17-yard conversion on 3rd down into FG range. Wilson, as usual, took a third down sack. 6-6 with 1:04 until halftime.

Another three-and-out by the Rams meant the Seahawks got the ball back with :42 left and two timeouts but pretty crummy field position. The drive was a mess and they went into halftime.

2nd Half

A brilliant start out of the locker room. Wilson hit David Moore for 45 yards on a 3rd and 8 heave. Another 3rd down conversion to Carlos Hyde gave the Seahawks a first-and-goal. Russell scrambled to his left for four yards and six points! 13-6 Seahawks.

Back came the Rams and finally their offense got into the red zone for the first time all afternoon. Jamal Adams saved a touchdown when Darrell Henderson had the edge but was chased from behind (and unfortunately injured) at the 1. Four cracks at the end zone , all runs, and the Seahawks defense made the stand! Jordyn Brooks at the center of it all stuffing Malcolm Brown on 4th and goal.

A Seahawks three-and-out resulted in a punt, which was fumbled but the Rams recovered it somehow. So the Rams got the ball at the Seahawks’ 44 for their best starting position of the day. Seattle held them to a field goal, with Alton Robinson getting a key sack. 13-9 Seahawks with 12:49 left.

It looked as if Seattle had a critical 3rd and 1 conversion with Chris Carson but DK Metcalf had an illegal shift penalty that negated the play. The 3rd and 6 play was a throwaway and thus Seattle punted. The Rams got to midfield after a nice run by Malcolm Brown and a big catch-and-run by Josh Reynolds. Jarran Reed sacked Jared Goff on 2nd and 10 and the 3rd and 12 throw was incomplete. Seahawks ball back at their own 20 with 7:20 to go.

First down to Lockett, first down by Carson, and first down by Lockett to the Rams’ 35. Just like that! Another clutch third-down conversion to DK Metcalf drained the clock some more and put them in comfortable field goal range. A huge 3rd and 4 for the Seahawks with 2:56 left after a Rams timeout. AND WILSON FINDS JACOB HOLLISTER FOR A TOUCHDOWN! A 9-play, 80-yard, 4:29 drive. 20-9 Seahawks with 2:51 left.

Josh Reynolds “gave himself up” by catching the ball and then dropping the ball down. It’s a fumble in theory but Reynolds decided not to catch and run so I suppose it’s not a turnover. Sean McVay was irate about what he thought was a lost fumble so they lost 15 yards with the bench penalty. Jarran Reed sacked Goff again to force 4th and 20, which tey failed to convert. Game, set, and division title! 20-9 Seahawks.

Seahawks injury report

CB Jayson Stanley did not return with a hamstring injury.

DT Jarran Reed seemed to re-aggravate a chest injury in the 4th quarter. He got up and walked off. Then he returned to beat up Goff some more.

Next week’s opponent

The Seahawks wrap up the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers (6-9) at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Kickoff time is 1:25 PM PT on Sunday, January 3rd on FOX.