The Seattle Seahawks are the NFC West Champions for the 11th time in franchise history, and the 5th time under current head coach Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks clinched the division with a hard-fought 20-9 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, a division rival who was looking to stay alive in the hunt for the division title. Seattle improved to 11-4 with the win, moving two games ahead of the 9-6 Rams with one week remaining on the NFL regular season schedule.
Coming into the game, Seattle was looking for their third straight win after statement wins over the New York Jets and Washington Football Team. Los Angeles was looking to rebound against a strong divisional opponent after an embarrassing 23-20 defeat to the then-winless New York Jets last week.
The game was a defensive battle right from the first snap, with only a pair of field goals scored for each team in the entire first half.
After an unsuccessful first drive by the Seahawks, Rams’ QB Jared Goff marched his team down the field, which resulted in a 44-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter. Both teams’ defensive corps stood tall the rest of the quarter, and the Rams held a 3-0 lead after one.
After Seahawks’ kicker Jason Myers nailed a 45-yard field goal on his team’s first possession of the second quarter, Goff again led his team down the field on the ensuing drive for the Rams. The offence again stalled, however, and Los Angeles was forced to settle for three more points, this time off a 51-yard field goal by Gay.
Myers added a 49-yard field goal with just over one minute remaining in the half to tie the game back up at 6. This is all the scoring there would be in the first half, and teams headed to the locker rooms deadlocked in a 6-6 tie.
Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson completed 10 of 19 passes in the first half for 84 yards. Wide receiver DK Metcalf led the way with 4 receptions for 40 yards through the first half.
Goff went 15 for 26 in the first half for 125 yards. He was intercepted once by Seahawks’ safety Quandre Diggs. Ram’ WR Cooper Kupp had 6 catches for 49 yards.
The Seahawks got the ball first at the beginning of the third quarter and took advantage of it. On their first drive of the third quarter, Seattle scored the first major of the game when Wilson plunged into the end zone from the 4-yard line. Myers added a successful convert to make the score 13-6 for the home team. Both teams failed to score any more points in the third, as both defences stood their ground.
In the fourth quarter, the Rams pulled within four points after a 33-yard field goal from Gay with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game. The score would stay 13-9 for Seattle until 2:51 remaining in the game, when Seahawks’ tight end Jacob Hollister reeled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to make the score 20-9 after a successful Myers convert.
Goff was sacked on 4th and 16 on the following drive, and the Seahawks got the ball back to seal the victory and the NFC West title.
Jared Goff went 24 for 43 in the game for 234 yards. Russell Wilson finished with 225 yards after completing 20 of his 32 pass attempts.
Kupp and Metcalf led their respective teams in receiving, with Kupp pulling in 8 passes for 66 yards and Metcalf catching 6 for 59 yards.
In the final week of the NFL season next week, the Seahawks will take on another division rival in the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams will face the Arizona Cardinals and must win to keep their playoff chances alive.
The Seahawks still have a shot at clinching the number one seed in the NFC. A win against the 49ers next week along with a New Orleans Saints loss and two losses from the Green Bay Packers (who play on Sunday Night Football) will solidify the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Rams can finish no higher than the 6th seed in the NFC.
Featured photo courtesy of Seahawks.com
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