SEATTLE – A lot of choppy yards from Cam Akers on the ground and mostly a great Rams defense has Los Angeles advancing in the NFC playoffs at the expense of the Seattle division opponent.
Akers ran for 131 yards and a touchdown, Darious Williams returned Russell Wilson’s interception 42 yards for a score, and the Rams beat the Seahawks 30-20 in the NFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday.
The league’s best defense during the regular season carried its dominance into the playoffs – even without facing Aaron Donald of the All-Pro for much of the second half. No team was better at limiting yards or points than the Rams (11-6) and they continued to harass Wilson and the Seahawks (12-5).
The Seattle quarterback was under siege by the defensive front and a side that, minus a move, never let DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett let go. Donald, before leaving with a rib injury, and Jalen Ramsey were excellent. But so did other actors, like Troy Reeder, Jordan Fuller and Leonard Floyd.
Floyd had two of Rams’ five bags. Two of the others belonged to Donald. The Rams allowed only 278 yards in total and 11 first descents.
He added to sending the Rams into next week’s divisional playoff round, probably in Green Bay, unless Chicago upsets New Orleans.
Williams’ interception was his third of the season against Wilson, after catching him twice in Los Angeles in November. He jumped onto a wide receiver screen intended for Metcalf and returned it untouched to give Rams a 13-3 lead in the middle of the second quarter.
Akers added a 5-yard TD race just before the break for a 20-10 lead. It proved enough with an offense in Seattle that was disjointed and confusing almost from the start.
Wilson had one of his worst playoff performances. He went 11 out of 27 to 174 yards. Wilson hit Metcalf on a pair of TDs: 51 yards in the first half of a broken play and a 12 yard TD with 2:28 remaining to make the score more respectable.
Seattle never played with the lead and was 2 of 14 on the third downhill. Their first home playoff game in four years was a failure without their rowdy crowd, and the Seahawks saw their streak of ten home playoff victories burst.
His last home loss in the playoff came in January 2005 to the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams regained the comeback without a healthy quarterback for another three quarters of the game. John Wolford started for the second week in a row, but suffered a neck injury when he plunged headfirst into the first quarter and was hit in the helmet by Jamal Adams’ shoulder. Wolford was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Jared Goff took over less than two weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb; he was injured in the week 16 defeat to Seattle. Goff did nothing spectacular, but he also avoided big mistakes.
Goff was 9 out of 19 for 155 yards. He crowned the victory with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods at 4:46 am, after Seattle DJ Reed missed on a punt.
Akers, Rams’ rookie ball carrier, stood out after not playing for two weeks. Akers had the best race day for a Rams running back since Marshall Faulk went 159 to Philadelphia in January 2002.
The Rams ended with 164 yards running.
Donald left in the third quarter with a rib injury. After entering and leaving the locker room a few times, he was a spectator for most of the second half. WR Cooper Kupp limped off grabbing his right knee in the final minutes.
Wolford had 3 of 6 passes for 29 yards and had a 2-yard run before getting injured.
The Rams will probably play for the Packers next week. Seattle will enter a off-season full of doubts after winning the division, but experiencing another elimination in the playoffs.