Great team win! 💛💙— Ogbo Okoronkwo (@OgboOkoronkwo) October 8, 2021
The Los Angeles Rams have moved to 4-1 on the season after pulling out the 26-17 road victory against the Seattle Seahawks, who now fall to 2-3 on the year. The big developments in this game revolved around both starting quarterbacks and injuries to their throwing hands. For Matthew Stafford, he seemed to be bothered by an injury to his index finger and had a number of throws fly off-target. That said, he was able to stay in the game. The same can't be said for Russell Wilson, who knocked his hand into the helmet of Aaron Donald and suffered an injury to his middle finger that forced Geno Smith into the contest with 14:42 to play in the fourth quarter.
At the time Wilson departed the game, the Rams held a 16-7 lead, but Smith was able to keep Seattle in the contest, leading a touchdown and field goal drive. However, Stafford and the Rams offense were able to match Smith's initial touchdown in the fourth quarter and safety Nick Scott picked him off with 2:02 remaining in the game to ice things for Los Angeles.
Wilson finished his day completing 11 of his 16 throws for 152 yards, a touchdown and an interception while Smith threw for 131 yards coupled with a score and a pick. Stafford ended his day throwing for 365 yards a touchdown and an interception. After a slow start to the season, Robert Woods was the straw that stirred the Rams drink offensively, catching 12 of his 14 targets for 150 yards. Cooper Kupp also continued his strong start to the season as he logged 92 yards on seven catches. As for the Seahawks, D.K. Metcalf caught two touchdowns on top of his 98 yards receiving. Tyler Lockett was second on the team with 57 receiving yards on five catches.
Be sure to check out our main takeaways from Thursday's matchup below.
Why the Rams won
Neither one of these teams really started out hot. The Rams were held to just three points in the first half and particularly struggled on third down over the first two quarters, failing to convert on any of their five attempts. There was also a lack of explosive plays by L.A. over that stretch and Sean McVay saw \Stafford throw an end zone interception at the start of the second quarter. Despite those struggles, they were able to keep themselves in the game with Seattle only holding a four-point lead at the break.
To start the second half, they offense started to find a spark, scoring touchdowns on three of its first four possessions, including back-to-back scores to begin the third quarter. As the offense started to head up, the defense was able to keep Seattle in check, forcing three straight punts out of halftime that featured two three-and-out drives.
Los Angeles also came up with some timely plays in the fourth quarter. After Smith put together an impressive 10-play, 98-yard touchdown drive to bring the Rams within two points with more than nine minutes to play, Stafford and Co. quickly marched 73 yards down the field with a touchdown drive of their own to further extend their lead. But it wasn't only the offense that came up in the clutch as safety Nick Scott picked Smith off right as he was beginning to embark on what could have been a go-ahead touchdown drive with 2:02 remaining in the game, and effectively clinched the win for the Rams.
Why the Seahawks lost
Of course, losing Wilson in the fourth quarter doesn't help things, but Seattle struggled to get consistency on offense even when he was under center. Seattle's first three drives of the day consisted of a punt, failed fourth-down conversion, and an interception. While the Seahawks did find the end zone first, there were points left on the board, including a 35-yard field goal that was missed by Jason Myers right before halftime. The Seahawks also didn't take advantage of creating the first interception of the game after Wilson himself threw a pick just four plays after his defense gave him back the ball early in the second quarter.
Even with those issues in the first half, Seattle was clinging to a lead. However, the offense stalled dramatically in the third quarter, punting three straight times while the Rams went on a 13-0 run. Even when Smith gave the offense some unexpected life by scoring 10 points while he was under center, the Seahawks' defense couldn't clamp down on Stafford, who would match their point total over that stretch.
This 69-yard reception from DeSean Jackson was the first big spark from the Rams' offense. After a first half where it failed to convert on any of its third-down attempts, Los Angeles found themselves in a third-and-10 situation at its own 20-yard line. It was at that point, Stafford connected with Jackson for the longest play of the game and completely flipped the field for Los Angeles. Two plays later, the Rams were in the end zone and didn't surrender the lead for the remainder of the game. That was Jackson's lone catch in this contest, but boy was it a doozy.
Play of the game
How often do we ever get to put a punt as the play of the game?! At the 3:03 mark of the third quarter, Seahawks punter Michael Dickson pulled off one of the more fascinating kicks that you'll ever see. He initially had his punt blocked, which created a live ball deep in Seattle territory. He then picked up the football -- rather smoothly I might add -- and decided to run with it. Once he realized he ran out of running room, Dickerson punted it for a second time and the ball traveled 68 yards down the field to the Rams' 11-yard line. As Sean McVay explained postgame,"because he kicked it behind the line of scrimmage (and) they reviewed it in New York, they said his foot was still on the line of scrimmage -- so they said he can do that. I guess you learn something every night."
From here, the Seahawks will prepare for a road matchup against the Steelers on "Sunday Night Football." Pittsburgh is set to play host to the Denver Broncos in Week 5. Meanwhile, the Rams will head to East Rutherford in Week 6 to take on the Giants -- who face the Cowboys in Dallas this week.