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Seahawks Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on 20-9 win over Rams

Russell Wilson found Jacob Hollister for a huge TD in the fourth quarter. (AP)

The Seahawks are NFC West champions after beating the Los Angeles Rams 20-9 on Sunday to clinch the division.

Recap: Seahawks beat Rams | Quick hits | O’Neil: Defense leads the way

As we do after every Seahawks game, we have collected the instant reactions of 710 ESPN Seattle’s voices to the win. Keep in mind, this is just a taste of the Seahawks coverage you’ll hear throughout the week on the station beginning at 7 a.m. Monday with Danny and Gallant and The Pete Carroll Show at 9:30.

Let’s look at what 710’s hosts have to say.

Stacy Rost – Jake and Stacy

The Seahawks’ Week 16 showdown against the Rams turned into a hard-fought battle between two great defenses, and that’s something we absolutely, definitely expected to be writing about this Seahawks team when we glanced at this matchup a couple months ago.

OK, maybe not. But credit the Hawks’ defense for proving us wrong. (And if you truly thought the defense we saw over the first five weeks of the season was going to be dominant against a top-10 offense, and a division foe no less, then you’ll run into plenty of luck in Vegas).

For all of Jared Goff’s gaffes, you’ve got to hand it to Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.’s group. Seattle held the Rams to just three field goals and no touchdowns. It mounted a phenomenal goal-line stand on four attempts from the 2-yard line. The Seahawks intercepted Goff and forced a few boneheaded mistakes. They finally got to him in the second half with three sacks, one of which put the Rams in fourth-and-forever for their final attempt to save the game and their shot at the division.

Instead, it’s Seattle’s division. The Seahawks won the NFC West for the first time since 2016, and on a day that saw an uneven performance from the offense, it’s all the more surreal to see the turnaround the defense has made considering this is a unit that was once giving up 472 yards per game.

Speaking of the offense, yes, I agree it was concerning to see yet another stumble from what was supposed to be the strength of this team. But the grind is understandable considering this offense had to face the league’s top passing defense and the league’s top overall defense on back-to-back weeks. The Seahawks didn’t win with fireworks, but they won, and that’s enough to help secure the NFC West crown and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob

NFC West Champions! How great does that sound?

The Hawks won the division for the first time since 2016 thanks to a defense that has been playing lights out for almost two months now. It’s pretty amazing considering that they were achieving record levels of futility in the first half of the season. You have to give Ken Norton Jr. and every player on that side of the ball a ton of credit for what the defense has become over the last two months. Today you saw a championship-level defense shut down an extremely potent offense in the Rams when the division title was on the line.

The Rams were averaging about 25 points per game coming into this one and the Hawks held them to nine! You could qualify the Seahawks’ success in previous games based on the weakness of the opponents they were playing, but not today. Not against this team with the division on the line.

While the offense still seems to be missing something, not nearly as sharp as they were in the first half of the season, it did more than enough to get the win today. After just six points in the first half, the Seahawks were able to put up 14 in the second half, which again was more than enough with the defense playing the way that it is.

Now they just need to keep that momentum going into the postseason. With the defense playing like this, if the offense can get anywhere near what they were to start the year, the Seahawks will be an extremely scary team to face in the playoffs.

Paul Gallant – Danny and Gallant

Want to win a Super Bowl, Seahawks? Go do that again. Please. Because Sunday’s 20-9 win over the Rams was beautiful.

I’ll take it further: THE win of the year.

I’m not done. It was the most complete victory I’ve seen since I started covering the Hawks last October. I could not be happier.

This game answered thee critical questions about the ’20 Seahawks.

1. Can you trust the Seahawks defense?

Heck yes. (In person, I’d use more emphatic language.) The Seahawks held the Rams without a touchdown, making a red zone interception AND a goal-line stand along the way.

Let’s talk about that goal-line stand. What a complete team effort. Jamal Adams twice saved a touchdown with shoestring tackles. Jordyn Brooks, K.J. Wright and the rest of the defense proved yet again that if you challenge the Seahawks in a do-or-die scenario, you’ll lose.

I was really impressed by the Seahawks’ defensive discipline, especially when Goff rolled outside of the pocket. They let him run, awkwardly take slides, and did a great job of staying on top of LA’s receivers. Sure, it was frustrating to see Cooper Kupp convert ~300 third downs. But with Pete Carroll’s defense, if you stay on top you’ve got a good shot.

Think about the performance this way: Seattle allowed nearly 29 points per game in its seven previous dates with Sean McVay’s Rams. Today, they held them to nine.

2. Is Russell Wilson still a magician?

We haven’t seen it from him for a while, especially on third downs. And early in this game, we saw more Russ struggles. The Rams have an incredible front seven, sacking Wilson five times. I know I’m not alone in noticing that Russ stopped looking downfield during a couple of Los Angeles pressures.

All of that changed when Wilson hit David Moore with a beautiful 45-yard bomb down the right sideline (Moore made an incredible catch) early in the third quarter. That Russell magic continued that same drive, as Russ made a nifty throw on the run on third-and-9 to Carlos Hyde, then scrambled to his left for a 4-yard touchdown the next play.

Russ might not be playing at “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” levels anymore, but every now and then we all need a reminder that Mr. Unlimited is one of the best QBs in the game. Wilson delivered there today.

3. Can the Seahawks’ offense close out a game?

The Hawks couldn’t do it against Washington, and it nearly cost them. And after Seattle’s defense held Los Angeles to an early fourth quarter field goal, it had an opportunity to do it against the Rams. On the Seahawks’ first attempt, they failed.

But after the Hawks forced another LA punt near midfield, Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense marched down the field to clinch the game.

Eleven yards to Lockett. Fifteen yards up the middle by Carson. Russ to Lockett for another 24.

Three demoralizing plays that quickly put Seattle in Jason Myers territory.

Then a third-and-7 conversion by DK Metcalf, who muscled his way for a first down. And on third-and-4 with 2:56 to play, Wilson hit Jacob Hollister with a perfectly lobbed 13-yard touchdown pass.

Print the T-shirts. That was a heck of a win.

The Groz – 710 ESPN Seattle host emeritus

There are of course three aspects to winning a football game: offense, defense and special teams. The Seahawks won all three in defeating the Rams and winning the NFC West.

The Seahawks’ defense was terrific, and the turnaround from the start of the year is amazing. Remember, this defense was on pace to give up the most yards per game in NFL history through the first five weeks. Sunday it did not allow the Rams in the end zone all day. Now it is the best unit on the field for Seattle.

Offensively, it took a while but Russell Wilson put together two touchdown drives in the second half, the second an 80-yard killer that put the game away in the fourth quarter. The Rams frequently started drives inside their own 20 and Seattle made all their kicks.

Erin Andrews of FOX provided a key piece of information when the second half started with the score tied 6-6. She pointed out that Rams coach Sean McVay was clearly upset with his team and stressed the need to execute better. Meanwhile Pete Carroll felt good about things, and why wouldn’t he? Carroll has always preached defense, a bruising running game and winning the turnover battle as the best way to win, and stresses winning the fourth quarter.

Well, headed into Week 17, Seattle is now a team with a stout defense and a bruising running game that wears teams out and wins in the fourth quarter.

Pete’s kind of team. Playing his kind of game, and doing what the Seahawks have done since he got here – winning.

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