By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
There was a show of grit and intenseness by the Los Angeles defense as they came up big on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.
All the talk leading up to the wildcard playoff game was who would start at quarterback for the Rams, but that didn’t matter to the defense. They knew their role all year has been big plays and they did that on the way to a 30-20 win over their division rival.
Jon Wolford got the start and appeared to be moving the team in for a score when he went down with a neck injury. Before exiting he had completing 3 of 6 passes for 29 yards midway through the first quarter.
After two Matt Gay field goals, Darious Williams gave the team a big spark when picked off a Russell Wilson pass and raced 42 yards to paydirt giving the Rams a 13-3 second quarter lead. The interception was the longest returned for a score in franchise playoff history. The defense sacked Wilson 5 times, that is second most in the playoffs since 1973. They also held Seattle to 278 yards total offense. That’s third lowest since the veteran QB joined the team in 2012.
“We are just are like glue,” said Williams. “We (the defense) stick together, we believe in each other and we just go out and play for each other.”
Jarrod Goff stepped in for Wolford and led the Rams on a 5 play, 75-yard drive the included a third down 44-yard catch and run by Cam Ackers.
Akers would later finish the drive with a five-yard touchdown run which was the first touchdown scored by the offense in the last three games.
On the day Ackers rushed for 131 yards on 28 carries. At the half he had 158 yards of offense on his way to becoming the first Ram rookie to rush for 100 yards in a playoff game. It’s also the most yards in a playoff game under McVay.
“He’s tough, I thought he was really getting into the rhythm early on in the game and it was big,” said McVay. “We were able to control the time of possession and eat up yards a little bit at a time and he’s a special player.”
Right around the seven-minute mark the Rams had a 10-point lead, that’s when linebacker Samson Ebukam put a hit on Seahawks punt returner D.J. Reed causing a fumble. Micah Kiser recovered and that led to a score. In just 2:16 Goff connected with Robert Woods on a 15 yarder to help put the game out of reach.
Goff finished the day completing 9 of 19 passes for 155 yards and a TD giving him a 93.1 QBR. The four-year veteran seemed prepared for his moment his passes wee crisp- a couple of the appeared to float a bit due to his recent thumb troubles.
“My whole mindset throughout the week was to stay ready, you never know what could happen,” said Goff who saw his first action since surgery December 28th ago.
RAM NOTES: Aaron Donald had 2 sacks and now has 15 sacks in 15 games against Wilson. Donald was names unanimous All-Pro last week. L.A. is 11-8 vs. Wilson it’s the only team he has a losing record against. The RAMS snapped the Seahawks 10 game home play-off win streak.
Leonard Floyd had 2 of LA’s 5 sacks and has had 2 in three straight has had one sack in 19 consecutive games. The RAMS only committed one penalty-They have the 2nd fewest in the NFL (71). It’s also the 37th consecutive time Sean McVay’s team won a game after leading at the half.
NEXT UP: They travel to Green Bay to take on the 13-3 Packers. It will feature the RAMS #1 ranked Defense giving up a league low 18.8 point a game going against Aaron Rodgers and the top-rated offense averaging 31.8 point a game. McVay will be facing former offensive co-ordinator Matt Lafleur whom he hired in 2017. The game can be seen at 1:35 on Fox channel 11.