The rudderless Ram’s ship that derailed against Seattle last December returned to CenturyLink Field with a wrecking crew of new coaches and an improved roster of players.
After last week’s demoralizing loss to the Eagles, Los Angeles silenced some skeptics by slaying the mighty Seahawks 42-7 to all but secure a division title and keep the conceivability of a Super Bowl appearance far from a crapshoot.
Todd Gurley made life miserable for Seattle’s linebackers scoring a career-high four touchdowns, racking up a combined 182 yards, 144 before halftime for the most by any player in the first half this season.
The resourceful running back weaved in and out of defenders compliments of an offensive line that left more gaping holes than Donald Trump Jr.’s recent testimony.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff was cool under not of a lot of pressure, passing for 120 yards with a pair of touchdowns, the team getting most of their glory from their ground game.
While his counterpart Russell Wilson was under duress, on the run repeatedly, sacked seven times, three recorded by defensive tackle Aaron Donald alone. The usually masterful escape artist was held to 142 passing yards, delivering one measly touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
The Rams corps of defensive engineers made their presence known immediately on Seattle’s opening drive with a forced fumble by Lamarcus Joyner on third and five setting up Greg Zuerlein’s first of two fields goals.
Special teams coordinator John Fassel is enjoying the fruits of his labor this season after ending 2016 as the fill in head coach for the much
maligned Jeff Fisher. Pharoh Cooper made Fassel proud, repeatedly, picking up 109 yards on his first four punt returns, his longest 53 yards that placed him on the 1-yard line giving way to Gurley’s waltz into the end zone for his first of four TD’s.
The Seahawks finally reached Rams territory at the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, but after losing 13 yards on the ensuing play a frazzled Wilson fumbled the football setting up another touchdown drive resulting in a 1-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Woods, who returned after missing the three previous games with a sprained left shoulder.
On the Rams next possession Gurley put a dagger in Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s comeback plans when he took a handoff, breezing 57-yards through Seattle’s defense for the 16th of his 17th NFL leading touchdowns this season.
How effective were the Rams on Sunday? They pulled half of their key starters in the fourth quarter holding a commanding 40-7 lead, while half of the home team fans exited the stadium.
As the Rams revel in their 10-4 record, two games a top the NFC West, the slip, sliding away 8-6 Seahawks are hanging on for dear their playoff lives.