After defeating Washington on the road in Week 15, the Seahawks had a golden opportunity to clinch the NFC West division against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Counting on their defense to continue playing at a high level, the Seahawks were able to keep the Rams' offense contained by keeping them out of the end zone and limiting them to just three field goals. Winning the turnover battle, they also created three separate turnovers (two turnover on downs and one interception), including an impressive goal line stop during the third quarter.
Despite a quiet first-half showing - resulting in just two field goals - the offense woke up after halftime, as Seattle scored a much-needed touchdown just four and a half minutes into the third quarter. Unlike last season, where he was tackled inches short of the goal line in Week 17, tight end Jacob Hollister was able to secure his team the victory by adding a touchdown late in regulation, pushing the final score to 20-9.
Let's dive into our three big winners and three losers from the Seahawks’ division title clinching victory over the Rams.
Coming off yet another impressive performance in Week 15, Wright continued to perform exceptionally in his 10th season, as he made a strong impact as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. Along with producing six total tackles and three solo tackles, the 6-foot-4 linebacker also added a pair of pass deflections to stuff the stat sheet.
Setting the tone early in the game, the 31-year old forced his way into the backfield multiple times in the opening quarter, allowing him to bat quarterback Jared Goff’s pass down to the ground on a second down play and it nearly resulted in consecutive three-and-out drives. Containing the edge in the running game, Wright also made it extremely difficult for Los Angeles’ offense to run the ball on the outside through all four quarters.
With the NFC West division title on the line, the Seahawks needed Adams – who’s been playing through multiple broken fingers and an injured shoulder – to step up and help contain the Rams’ explosive offense. Doing exactly that and much more, the three-time Pro Bowler generated eight total tackles (tied for team-high), six solo tackles, and one pass break up which should’ve resulted in an interception.
Though he wasn’t able to continue his sack streak, which now ends at four-consecutive games, Adams still made Goff extremely uncomfortable in the pocket and forced him to dump the ball off several different times. Along with generating a ton of havoc in the backfield, the 6-foot-1 strong safety also helped preserve his team’s lead late in the third quarter, as he showcased his outstanding speed multiple times to chase down running backs Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown to tackle them short of the goal line.
Limited with a chest injury all week long, there was some doubt regarding Reed’s ability to play this weekend, but the Seahawks are extremely thankful he was able to take the field on Sunday. Generating one of his top statistical performances of the season, the 28-year old tied his season-high in solo tackles (three), tackles for loss (two), quarterback hits (two), and also posted a pair of sacks.
Stepping up at the perfect time, Reed's first sack of the game occurred during a second down play, resulting in a two-yard loss and ultimately leading to a punt midway through the fourth quarter. Putting an end to the Rams’ comeback hopes late in regulation, the former Alabama standout sacked Goff for a nine-yard loss on third down and the Seahawks forced a turnover on downs the ensuing play.
Despite posting a strong season to this point, Pocic didn't have his finest game against the Rams as he struggled mightily in pass protection and endured some issues as a run blocker as well. While he wasn’t the only player who failed to slow down the Rams’ star-studded pass rush, the 6-foot-6 center didn’t help his case by faltering during crucial moments of this contest.
Making a pair of mental errors in the first half, the 25-year old was the main culprit for consecutive drive-ending sacks, as he chose the wrong assignments in protection working against stunts and opened up lanes for teammates Leonard Floyd and Sebastian Joseph-Day to get to Wilson. But considering the LSU standout has been so productive throughout the majority of his fourth season, the Seahawks shouldn’t be overly concerned by his disappointing performance.
Pleasantly surprising everyone with his performance this season, Neal has blown his expectations out of the water in 2020, but he did have a moment of weakness during this pivotal showdown. After the defense got a huge stop on third down and forced a punt, the 25-year old dove into punter Johnny Hekker as he tried to block the punt, resulting in a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty.
Thanks to this infraction, the Rams’ offense received a fresh set of downs and were able to position themselves into scoring position midway through the second quarter. Luckily for the Seahawks, free safety Quandre Diggs took advantage of a poor throwing decision from Goff, recording his fifth interception of the season and taking over possession at his team’s own 35-yard line.
After throwing for a season-low 121 yards in Week 15, Wilson didn’t exactly do enough to eliminate the criticism surrounding him during this final stretch of the regular season. Even though he threw for a touchdown and also ran one in himself, the seven-time Pro Bowler only completed 63 percent of his passes and was nearly picked off for the 14th time this season.
Making a poor throwing decision out of the gate, the 32-year old attempted to fit a pass into a tight window to receiver Tyler Lockett and it was almost intercepted by cornerback Darious Williams – who produced two picks against the Seahawks back in Week 10. Committing another mistake early in the second quarter, the veteran signal caller could’ve hit Hollister for an easy six points, but released the ball a little early and overthrew him, which ultimately forced the offense to settle for a 45-yard field goal from Jason Myers.