Earl Thomas kept the Seahawks from falling behind on the Rams’ first offensive series. Then he had a crucial play in helping them seal a win midway in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety poked the ball loose when Todd Gurley was about to cross into the end zone in the first quarter to prevent a touchdown and actually give Seattle the ball, and then he picked off Jared Goff in the final frame of Seattle’s 16-10 victory over Los Angeles to move the two teams into a tie for first place in the NFC West at 3-2.
In the end, the Seahawks were the beneficiaries of five Rams turnovers, a missed field goal and an incomplete pass to wide-open Cooper Kupp in the end zone in the final moments that he couldn’t bring in.
Here’s a breakdown of each quarter of the Seahawks’ victory.
Seahawks 0, Rams 0
The Seahawks didn’t put up much of a fight at the line of scrimmage over the first series for each team, but an incredible play by Earl Thomas at the goal line kept Seattle from falling behind on the scoreboard. What was initially ruled a 12-yard touchdown run for Rams running back Todd Gurley flipped a full 180 degrees, as an officials review not only ruled Gurley stepped out at the 1-yard line but that he also had lost control of the football just before due to a play by Thomas. With the ball crossing into the end zone, it was deemed a touchback and the Seahawks’ ball. From there, the game quickly took a shape resembling last year’s Seahawks-Rams contest in Los Angeles, which featured no touchdowns and three combined field goals by the two teams. When the quarter ended, the score remained 0-0, each team had a turnover and had punted to end its remaining drives – though the Rams didn’t waste time in the second quarter to find the end zone.
Notable: The Seahawks took one especially big shot in the opening frame, though it didn’t pay off. Russell Wilson threw a backwards pass to former college quarterback Tanner McEvoy, who then threw downfield near the opposite sideline to J.D. McKissic. The ball hung up and Los Angeles safety Cody Davis was able to pick off the pass.
Seahawks 10, Rams 10
The Seahawks’ offense woke up, scoring 10 straight points to go into the half tied with the Rams. Seattle not only put together a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive but ended it with a completion to Jimmy Graham in the end zone. And given another opportunity with time ticking down, they picked up 46 yards on nine plays to set up a 48-yard Blair Walsh field goal as time expired. That all came after Seattle fell in a 10-point hole, however, as the Rams scored on a 27-yard Tavon Austin run inside the first minute of the quarter, then tacked on a 35-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein not five minutes of game clock later after Russell Wilson was intercepted by the Rams’ John Johnson. It was the second pick of the day given up by Seattle, though only the first by Wilson.
Notable: The Seahawks missed a big opportunity in the middle of the quarter, as Wilson’s interception came just four plays into a drive that was gifted to them when Los Angels’ Tavon Austin muffed a punt that was recovered by Neiko Thorpe at the Rams’ 30.
LAR – Tavon Austin 27 run, 14:13 (Greg Zuerlein kick, 7-0 LAR)
LAR – Zuerlein 35 FG, 9:34 (10-0 LAR)
SEA – Russell Wilson 4 pass to Jimmy Graham, 1:55 (Blair Walsh kick, 10-7 LAR)
SEA – Walsh 48 FG, :02 (10-10)
Seahawks 13, Rams 10
The Rams left the door open on multiple occasions, and the Seahawks walked through each time to take and then preserve the lead. Early in the third quarter, the Rams drove 50 yards over 13 plays, only for Greg Zuerlein to miss a chip-shot field goal. Seattle responded with a nine-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 49-yard field goal by Blair Walsh to move into a 13-10 advantage. After getting the ball back, Los Angeles went back to work on wearing down the Seahawks’ defense, taking nearly five minutes off the clock. But on third-and-20 from Seattle’s 25, Rams QB Jared Goff was intercepted by Sheldon Richardson, and the Seahawks had possession as the quarter ended.
SEA – Blair Walsh 49 field goal, 5:47 (13-10 SEA)
Seahawks 16, Rams 10
Seattle’s defense had a tough time keeping the Rams from moving the ball in the fourth quarter, but that didn’t result in Los Angeles putting any points on the board over the final frame. That’s because the Seahawks twice ended promising Rams drives with turnovers and stood up in the red zone on another. The first turnover was Earl Thomas grabbing a wobbly Jared Goff pass out of the air, and the second was Sheldon Richardson picking up a fumble after a Frank Clark hit resulted in Goff losing the ball. Seattle’s offense needed those turnovers, too, as it was without a first down for the quarter, and it only scored points when Blair Walsh nailed a field goal inside the two-minute warning after Richardson’s fumble recovery and return gave the Seahawks the ball in the red zone. The Rams still had a chance to win, as Goff drove them into the red zone, but former Eastern Washington star Cooper Kupp dove wide open into the end zone but couldn’t handle a pass from Goff on third-and-10, and another pass intended for Kupp on the next play also fell incomplete.
SEA – Blair Walsh 35 field goal, 1:12 (16-10 SEA)