Rams vs. Seahawks score: Los Angeles rallies to beat Seattle behind Cooper Kupp's MVP-caliber performance

Super Bowl LVI will be played 53 days from now in SoFi Stadium, which was the site of Tuesday's game between the Rams and the Seahawks. Los Angeles got one step closer toward being in February's Super Bowl after posting a 20-10 win over Seattle behind another big effort from receiver Cooper Kupp. 

Down 10-3 in the third quarter, Kupp caught touchdown passes of 6 and 29 yards to lead the Rams to a season sweep of Seattle (5-9), which likely needed to win out in order to have a chance at making the playoffs. The Rams improved to 10-4 and are just one game back of the Packers in the race to win the NFC's only playoff bye. 

A first-time Pro Bowler and legitimate league MVP candidate, Kupp caught nine passes for 136 yards along with his two touchdowns. He made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first player in the last 70 years to have at least 90 receiving yards in 10 consecutive games. He also broke Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce's franchise single season receptions record by recording his 120th catch of the season. 

Kupp's performance was complemented by running back Sony Michel, who totaled 115 yards on 20 touches. Seattle's defense came up with several big first half stops, but its offense struggled to consistently move the ball against the Rams' formidable defense, led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Seattle's defense received a stellar performance from Carlos Dunlap, who recorded three sacks of Matthew Stafford. 

Here's a closer look at what transpired in Los Angeles. 

Why the Rams won 

The Rams could have gotten frustrated after falling behind in a game that they had dominated for most of the night. But the Rams responded to Seattle's touchdown by marching 86 yards on just six plays to tie the score on Stafford's first touchdown pass to Kupp. The big play was Kupp's 32-yard catch on a third-and-1 play from the Rams' 23-yard-line. On the next play, Michel broke several tackles on his way to a 39-yard jaunt to set up Kupp's touchdown. 

Los Angeles' defense then clamped down on Russell Wilson and Seattle's duo of running backs DeeJay Dallas and Rashad Penny, who ran for a combined 39 yards and a touchdown on seven carries on Seattle's go-ahead scoring drive at the start of the second half. After two Seahawks punts, the Rams pulled ahead after Stafford hit Kupp on a crossing route for the go-ahead score. The drive was jumpstarted by a 24-yard run by Michel, who has come on strong as of late with 292 rushing yards in the Rams' last three games. Los Angeles' defense then came up with three late stops to preserve the win. 

Why the Seahawks lost 

Seattle's defense kept the Seahawks in the game in the first half but was unable to mimic that success in the second half. They didn't receive much help from their offense, as the Seahawks' offense gained just 214 yards while going just 3 of 12 on third and fourth downs. Without Tyler Lockett (who was one of several players from both teams on the COVID-19 list), Ramsey and the Rams' defense was able to lock in on DK Metcalf, who was held to 52 yards on six receptions. 

The Seahawks received a gritty game from Wilson, whose 34-yard completion to tight end Gerald Everett set up Jason Myers' 39-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Wilson then hit Freddie Swain on a 25-yard completion on the Seahawks' first drive of the second half that ended with Dallas' 4-yard touchdown run. But the Rams' consistent pass rush -- along with not having Lockett at his disposal -- caught up to Wilson in the fourth quarter, as he went just 5 of 11 for 32 yards and an interception in the game's final stanza. Russell also wasn't helped by Seattle's sometimes predictable game plan, as the Seahawks at times forgot about their running game. Despite having considerable success on the ground, Seattle ran the ball just 19 times while attempting 34 passes. 

Turning point 

Seattle appeared to have taken momentum following its first drive of the third quarter. But Kupp's balletic 32-yard catch on the Rams' ensuing possession seemed to take the wind out of the Seahawks' sails. The Rams tied the score on Kupp's first touchdown catch three plays later. 

Another big turning point took place with 3:21 left in the third. Down 17-10, the Seahawks decided to go for it on fourth-and-6 from midfield. Wilson, under heavy pressure, lofted a deep pass down the far sideline for Dallas, who was guarded by Rams linebacker Ernest Jones. But the pressure caused by the Rams' pass rush led to an underthrown pass that hit Jones before reaching Dallas. Despite contact by Jones, the officials deemed that the coverage was clean, thus giving the Rams the ball at midfield. The Rams then put the game out of reach after a 17-yard run by Michel set up Matt Gay's second field goal of the night. 

Play of the game

Stafford and Kupp's remarkable chemistry was on display on their game-winning touchdown pass. On the play, Stafford initially locked in on running back Darrell Henderson in the flat before firing the ball downfield to Kupp, who caught the ball in stride over two Seattle defenders before running the remaining nine yards for the score. Stafford, who went 21 of 29 for 244 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards (including the postseason). 

While Kupp's second touchdown takes the cake, we can't ignore Donald's blowup of Seattle's screen pass near the end of the first quarter. Like Kupp, Donald was one of five NFL players who were selected to the 2022 Pro Bowl on Monday. And speaking of Pro Bowlers, eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller recorded his first sack as a member of the Rams with his takedown of Wilson in the second quarter. 

Quotable 

"Matthew's a really good football player, and that's my analysis for that touchdown." -- Kupp's "technical" breakdown of his go-ahead touchdown reception 

What's next 

Seattle will host Chicago, who dropped to 4-10 following their Week 15 loss to the Vikings. Speaking of Minnesota, the Rams will head to the Twin Cities to face a 7-7 Vikings team that is still alive for a wild card playoff berth. 

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Dallas upset on the no call on fourth down. Jones made contact with him but the ball was under thrown and not catchable. 

December 22, 2021, 2:45 AM
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2021, 2:43 AM
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Carlos Dunlap gets his third sack of the game and forces a big punt. Seahawks now in good field position with 5:42 left. Seattle has to find someone other than Everett and Metcalf in the passing game. 

December 22, 2021, 2:40 AM
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Great crossing route by Kupp that left him going one-on-one against a LB. The drive's other big play was a 24-yard run by Michel for 24 yards on the drive's second play. 

December 22, 2021, 2:28 AM
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The combo of Stafford and Kupp connect for the go-ahead touchdown. It's 17-10 with just under 11 minutes left. 

December 22, 2021, 2:24 AM
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2021, 2:23 AM
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2021, 2:22 AM
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Stats through 3 quarters 

Score: 10-10

First downs: Rams 13, Seahawks 10 

Third down: Rams 6-10, Seahawks 2-8 

Total yards: Rams 236, Seahawks 185 

TOP: Rams 26:22, Seahawks 18:38

Kupp: 7 catches 96 yards 

Michel: 12 carries 71 yards 

Stafford: 17 of 25, 175 yards 

Wilson: 12 of 20, 124 yards 

Dallas/Penny 16 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD 

December 22, 2021, 2:17 AM
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It was looking like we'd seeing an explosive second half after both teams scored on their first possessions of the half. But the third quarter will end with a 10-10 tied score. It's anyone's game as we head to the fourth quarter. 

December 22, 2021, 2:15 AM
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@Seahawks via Twitter
December 22, 2021, 2:15 AM
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2021, 2:14 AM
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