Takeaways from Seahawks 16-10 win over Rams

posted by Curtis Crabtree - 

Seattle Seahawks vs Los Angeles Rams

After several seasons of being unable to get a win on the road against the Rams, the Seahawks finally found a victory against the best Rams team they've seen in some time.

The Seahawks had lost four of their last five games in St. Louis/Los Angeles against the Rams. In fact, Seattle was 0-3 all-time in games played in the L.A. metro area against the Rams. But against a team that entered Sunday's meeting as the top offensive unit in the game, the Seahawks held the Rams to just 10 points and moved about .500 for the first time this season.

The Seahawks forced five turnovers and held Todd Gurley to just 43 yards on 14 carries in a 16-10 win.

Seattle had to sweat out a final possession that saw rookie Cooper Kupp drop a potential game-winning touchdown in the end zone. Nevertheless, the Seahawks are coming back home with a win that moves them into first place in the NFC West with their bye week upcoming.

Here are five takeaways from Seattle's victory over the Rams:

1. Earl Thomas is still incredible.

A broken leg from last December has not come close to changing the type of player Earl Thomas can be.

Thomas had his most visible game of the season for the Seahawks on Sunday. He saved a touchdown on the Rams opening drive by dislodging a ball from Todd Gurley's hand mere millimeters from the goal line. The ball bounced off the pylon on the front of the end zone resulting in a touchback that gave Seattle possession.

Thomas had a similar play against the Rams in 2014 where he forced running back Benny Cunningham to fumble at the goal line, which resulted in a touchback as well. 

He was also close to a few interceptions throughout the game before he came up with an interception of Jared Goff in the fourth quarter on an overthrow of tight end Tyler Higbee. The Rams had moved into Seattle territory and were threatening to move into field goal range when Thomas came up with the interception.

Thomas is a heat-seeking missile that throws himself around with reckless abandon. It's great to see that he's returning to being the same player he's always been.

2. Turnovers aplenty for Seahawks defense.

The best versions of Seattle's defenses through the Pete Carroll era have been units that can take the football away for their opponent.

The Seahawks took the ball away five separate times on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Thomas' forced fumble and interception, a muffed punt by Tavon Austin, an interception by Sheldon Richardson, and a forced fumble by Frank Clark recovered by Richardson were the quintet of turnovers Seattle forced.

The turnovers helped keep the Rams scoreless on five trips inside the Seattle 20-yard line. Greg Zuerlein's missed 36-yard field goal didn't hurt either.

The Rams did manage 375 yards of total offense and had five possessions cover at least 50 yards. But despite that success, the turnovers were a big reason why the Rams could only muster 10 points.

3. Running back group still uncertain after loss of Chris Carson.

Neither Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls gained more than 20 yards on the ground on Sunday.

Lacy got the start in place of of Chris Carson, who sustained a fractured leg and high-ankle sprain last week against the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the game with 20 yards on eight carries for Seattle.

Rawls wasn't any more productive, rushing for 19 yards on nine carries.

The Seahawks had a pair of drives in the fourth quarter where sustaining a rushing attack could have helped enable the team to bleed enough clock to close out the game with the football in their possession. Instead, the defense had to go back out to make a couple key final stops to hold onto the win.

Russell Wilson, J.D. McKissic and Tyler Lockett combined for 23 more yards, but it just isn't the type of success the Seahawks want to see out of their rushing attack.

The loss of Carson was a big blow considering the ground game had started to find some more consistent success in recent games. C.J. Prosise potentially being able to return after the bye would help as well, but the Seahawks are not getting the type of rushing performances they desire.

4. Russell Wilson made some mistakes, but chasing down his INT was pivotal.

It's probably a pass Russell Wilson never should have attempted in the first place.

With the defense of the Rams seemingly uncoordinated and misaligned, Wilson tried to hit tight end Luke Willson up the right sideline only to have the pass undercut by safety John Johnson at the Rams' 12-yard line.

Johnson seemingly had nothing but green grass ahead of him only to have Wilson make a touchdown-saving tackle at the Seattle 19-yard line. Running back J.D. McKissic also did a good job of slowing up Johnson's return before Wilson's tackle.

The Rams promptly went three-and-out and had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein instead. Wilson's tackle ultimately saved Seattle 3-4 points, which were vital later on.

Wilson didn't have his cleanest game. The interception was a poor decision. He missed some throws as well, but Wilson didn't give up on what proved to be a critical play.

5. Special teams were quietly important in tight game.

It can often go overlooked, but Seattle's special teams were a big part of Sunday's win as well.

Blair Walsh converted field goals of 35, 48 and 48 yards. Jon Ryan averaged 39.5 yards per punt with two inside the 20-yard line and no return yardage, and a muffed punt was recovered by Neiko Thorpe.

The only blemish in the special teams showing was a kickoff out of bounds by Walsh after Seattle's only touchdown - a 4-yard pass from Wilson to Jimmy Graham. The defense immediately forced a three-and-out so it didn't come back to haunt Seattle.

Additionally, with the Seahawks leading 16-10 with 1:10 remaining, Walsh managed to get the kickoff through the end zone, forcing the Rams to gain their winning score via their offense and taking the opportunity of a big kick return off the table.

It was also a good bounce back performance for Walsh after his missed field goal last week against the Indianapolis Colts.


Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts to a broken pass play to Cooper Kupp #18 of the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of a game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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