The reigning champs were pushed to the brink.
The Seahawks weren’t ready to give in. Not just yet.
That was not only a summary of the Rams’ final drive, but the storyline coming out of the game.
The Seahawks still have some legs left – and they’ve got a heck of a chin – and that’s more than enough to give them a puncher’s chance in this division as they showed by outlasting the Los Angeles Rams 16-10 on Sunday afternoon.
“People look forward to writing us off,” Richard Sherman said. “And I think our demise was greatly overstated.”
All the Seahawks did was hold a Rams team that had been averaging 35 points to 10 points, holding on to win a game in which the Seahawks offense didn’t gain a single first down in a final period that also saw the Rams give Seattle everything it could handle.
The Rams had a touchdown transform into a turnover after a first-quarter replay review. They missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt in the second half. They committed five turnovers, and still they wound up 20 yards and one dropped pass away from coming back to beat Seattle in the final minute.
Wait. To call that a dropped pass isn’t really fair to Rams receiver Cooper Kupp nor is it an accurate description of what happened on the Rams’ third-down play from the Seattle 20 with 12 seconds left.
“I got lucky there,” safety Earl Thomas said after the game.
Lucky? Thomas explained afterward that he was anticipating that Rams quarterback Jared Goff was going to look at a specific receiver.
“I was trying to bait him,” Thomas said. “Because I thought I saw a matchup he liked. He did a great job, in a pressure situation, looking me off and coming back to the seam.”
All Thomas could do was watch along with all of Seattle and the healthy chunk of the crowd of 60,745 in Los Angeles who were Seahawks fans.
“At that point, I had committed,” Thomas said. “Just happy that he dropped it. I had no control over the play once I was out of position.”
The Rams had one more chance, but that third-down play turned out to be Los Angeles’ best chance as Seattle held on to win a game by the exact same margin by which the Seahawks lost last year in Week 2 when the Rams won 9-3.
This wasn’t much prettier. Seattle’s leading rusher had 20 yards. The Seahawks didn’t have a player with more than 40 yards receiving, and while Russell Wilson was 24-for-37 passing in the game, Seattle’s offense didn’t gain so much as a single first down on any of its four possessions in the fourth quarter.
In the end, it was the defense that has been Seattle’s bedrock that held on. Barely.
“These guys have been playing great football for a long time,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think it’s another statement that they will not relent.”