Rams ea­ger to re­bound from first loss, sweep Sea­hawks se­ries

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Nfl Week 10 - BY GREG BEACHAM

Al­though the Los An­ge­les Rams hadn’t lost a game un­til last week, their spec­tac­u­lar sea­son has fea­tured sev­eral close calls.

Not many were closer than their 33-31 vic­tory just five weeks ago in Seat­tle, where the Sea­hawks racked up 190 yards rush­ing, in­ter­cepted two passes by Jared Goff and came ag­o­niz­ingly close to a huge NFC West win.

With the sec­ond-place Sea­hawks (4-4) vis­it­ing the Coli­seum on Sun­day for the re­match, the Rams (8-1) have a chance to es­sen­tially end the divi­sion race with seven weeks to go. The Rams aren’t look­ing that far ahead, but Aaron Don­ald hopes Los An­ge­les will learn from that nar­row win in Seat­tle – and a 45-35 loss at New Or­leans last week.

“We’re in a good place, and we’re locked in,” said the Rams’ su­per­star de­fen­sive tackle, sec­ond in the NFL with 10 sacks. “We play these guys twice a year, so we’ve got re­spect for them. We’ve just got to get af­ter them.”

The Rams have never lost back-to-back reg­u­larsea­son games in their

1 1/2 sea­sons un­der Sean McVay, but they’ve thrived pri­mar­ily on the strength of an of­fense that has been able to outscore nearly ev­ery op­po­nent, in­clud­ing the Sea­hawks. NFL scor­ing leader Todd Gur­ley rushed for three TDs in Seat­tle, and the Rams kept the ball out of Rus­sell Wil­son’s hands in the fi­nal 3:38 by run­ning out the clock.

The Sea­hawks also are com­ing off a loss af­ter the Charg­ers won in Seat­tle last week, but the Sea­hawks know they can beat the Rams be­cause they did it last sea­son at the Coli­seum.

Even if the divi­sion race might al­ready be out of hand, they’ve got a chance to be­gin their play­off rally with a state­ment vic­tory.

“We can’t al­low them to score as many points as they put up,” Seat­tle line­backer Bobby Wag­ner said. “We feel like we did a re­ally good job against the run for the most part. We have to find a way to do that, make them oned­i­men­sional, make sure Todd doesn’t get into the end zone as many times as he did.”

More things to watch in this NFC West show­down: Tough check: Don­ald has sacked Wil­son eight times in their ca­reers, more than any other quar­ter­back. But Don­ald and the Rams didn’t man­age to sack Drew Brees last week, and they still have some­thing to prove to the Sea­hawks – par­tic­u­larly to guard D.J. Fluker, who wasn’t im­pressed by the tough­ness of the Los An­ge­les de­fense in the clubs’ pre­vi­ous meet­ing.

The Seat­tle of­fen­sive line­man said the Rams “want to be pass rush­ers,” but hadn’t “seen a team go out there and ac­tu­ally take it to them.” Don­ald had no in­ter­est in start­ing a pub­lic dis­cus­sion this week: “We’re just go­ing to go out there and play a game and let our play speak for us.”

Run around: Seat­tle’s im­pres­sive rush­ing per­for­mance in their first meet­ing with the Rams in­cluded 116 yards from Chris Car­son, but he is in ques­tion for the re­match be­cause of a hip in­jury that caused him to sit the fi­nal 2 1⁄ quar­ters last

2 week against the Charg­ers. Mike Davis and sel­dom-used Rashaad Penny prob­a­bly would re­place Car­son.

But Seat­tle also has of­fen­sive line con­cerns af­ter Fluker in­jured his calf late in the loss to the Charg­ers. Fluker’s ad­di­tion to the of­fen­sive line helped spark Seat­tle’s turn­around in the run game start­ing in late Septem­ber.

Gur­ley goes: Gur­ley has scored a touch­down in a fran­chise-record 12 straight games, and his 868 yards rush­ing are the NFL’s most by a whop­ping 162 yards over Pitts­burgh’s James Con­nor.

Gur­ley’s 16 TDs this sea­son are the most in the league and the sec­ond­most in NFL his­tory through nine games, trail­ing only Jim Brown’s 17 in 1958. That’s the chal­lenge fac­ing Seat­tle’s run de­fense, which is giv­ing up 4.8 yards per at­tempt – tied for fourth-worst in the league – but has been ef­fec­tive in stretches.

AP writer Tim Booth in Seat­tle con­trib­uted.

JOSHUA BES­SEX joshua.bes­sex@gate­line.com

Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley (30) rushes for one of his three touch­downs in the Oct. 7 win at Seat­tle. Gur­ley heads into Sun­day’s re­match with a league-high 16 TDs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.