When, some years from now, Earl Thomas enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot, his career highlight film is likely to include at least one, and perhaps two, plays from Sunday’s 16-10 nail-biter over the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum that vaulted the Seahawks (3-2) into a share of the NFC West lead.
Play of the season so far came on the Rams’opening drive was when Thomas raced to the corner of the end zone to strip RB Todd Gurley while he was going in for a touchdown. Thomas chopped the ball out of Gurley’s hands and it hit the pylon for a touchback, depriving the Rams of a touchdown, significant in what turned out to be a six-point game.
In the fourth quarter with 6:02 remaining and Seattle nursing a 13-10 lead, Thomas’s interception of QB Jared Goff killed a scoring opportunity and helped the Seahawks hold the Rams, who entered averaging a league-high 35.5 points, to their lowest total of the season.
Even with that interception, the Seahawks had a major scare when Goff, in his second year out of Cal, drove the Rams from their 25 to the Seattle 20 in the final minute with three big pass completions. He had two winnable shots in the end zone, both throws to Yakima native and Eastern Washington University alum Cooper Kupp, but couldn’t connect.
QB Russell Wilson did not have one of his better games, but had a respectable performance given that he was facing the Rams, against whom he entered with a 5-5 career record and the worst overall stats of his career against any opponent.
Wilson completed 24 of 37 for 198 yards with one interception and one TD, a four-yard throw to TE Jimmy Graham. Wilson’s passer rating: 76.2, far below his career 99.3 mark. The Rams sacked him three times, all in the first half (Robert Quinn sacked Wilson for the 11th time).
Wilson tossed his interception in the second quarter when he targeted Graham. SS John Johnson picked it off and returned it 69 yards before Wilson and RB J.D. McKissic ran him down, saving a touchdown (not only did LA fail twice on TDs it should have scored, Greg Zuerlein botched a 33-yard field goal, taking 17 potential points off the scoreboard).
The Seahawks managed 241 yards of offense to LA’s 375, but took advantage of five turnovers — two interceptions, three fumbles lost.
The Seahawks had a less-than-satisfactory 62 rushing yards, including 20 by Thomas Rawls. Eddie Lacy started and had 19 and Wilson 16.
Graham led receivers with 37 yards on six catches (targeted eight times), while Doug Baldwin had four catches (eight targets) for 36. McKissic, who scored rushing and receiving touchdowns last week against Indianapolis, rushed for zero yards on two carries but caught three balls for 36 yards.
Blair Walsh was 3-for-3 on field goals including a long of 49 at the end of the half to tie at 10.
The Seahawks held Gurley, the NFL’s No. 2 rusher entering the game, to 43 yards on 14 carries and the Rams to 100 rushing yards, 30 in the second half.
Goff, who entered with a 112.5 passer rating, had a 48.9 mark, throwing for 288 yards, many on chunk plays, but tossed two INTs.
DT Sheldon Richardson, acquired in a preseason trade for WR Jermaine Kearse, had two major plays: His first career interception in the third quarter on a ball tipped by Gurley, and a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter on a ball jarred loose by DE Frank Clark.
Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks with eight tackles, all solo. Thomas finished with seven, including six solo. Michael Bennett and Clark recorded Seattle’s two sacks.
The Seahawks and Rams are tied with 3-2 records atop the NFC West, but Seattle is 2-0 within the division while LA is 1-1 . . . The Seahawks increased their lead in the series to 23-15, and also won against the Rams for the first time in Los Angeles . . . The Seahawks improved to 23-6 in games played prior to the bye week, the best mark in the NFL . . . Before the Seahawks won Sunday, the Rams had won three of the four previous meetings . . . Seattle is 20-14-1 on the road since 2013 . . . Wilson has 59 regular-season wins in his career. The record for the first six seasons of a player’s career is 61 by Baltimore’s Joe Flacco.
The Seahawks have a bye week before returning to action Oct. 22 against the 0-5 New York Giants at Met Life Stadium.