Rams face Seahawks with a shot at first place
In the tough NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams actually gained ground during their bye week.
While the Rams were idle, Seattle, Arizona, and San Francisco all lost.
“It was a pretty solid bye week,” Rams receiver Cooper Kupp said. “They did us some favors there.”
That means Los Angeles (5-3) is within a game of the first-place Seahawks (6-2) as the teams get set to meet Sunday at SoFi Stadium, where the Rams have yet to lose.
“I certainly wasn’t upset to see those teams not come away with wins,” said Rams coach Sean McVay, whose team suffered a 28-17 loss at Miami entering the bye. “I’ll say this: If we handle our business, you don’t have to get into the business of watching other teams.”
With five of their final eight games against division rivals, including two against the Seahawks, the Rams are ready to get back into their own business.
While Los Angeles has been known for its offense under McVay, the team is 21st in the NFL at midseason, scoring 24.1 points per game. The Seahawks, led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, are averaging a league-best 34.3.
“I don’t think as a team we truly need to reset,” said Kupp, who was limited in practice this week with a wrist injury. “I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel here. It’s just about really dialing in on the details. It’s just about solving the problems they’ve given us the tools to solve. The standard we set for ourselves is greater than what we’ve put on paper in the last few weeks.”
The Rams have instead been led by their No. 2-ranked defense, allowing 19 points a game. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has nine sacks through eight games, second-best in the league.
“He could win (the award) every year, in my opinion,” Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey said of Donald. “It’s starting to get to the point where everyone knows he’s the best, so no matter how great he does, people sometimes don’t look at it as, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,’ because they’re getting used to it.”
The Seahawks are coming off their second defeat in the past three games, a 44-34 defeat at Buffalo. Their league-worst pass defense allowed Josh Allen to throw for 415 yards and three touchdowns.
Uncharacteristically, Wilson turned over the ball four times, with two interceptions and two fumbles.
“What I will tell you is I don’t recognize that game. We haven’t seen us look like that, and it’s a game that I don’t have any place in my brain for it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s just such an out-of-character game across the board that I don’t even recognize us.”
The Seahawks are headed into the toughest stretch of their schedule, with a home game against Arizona (5-3) after their trip to Los Angeles.
“I think we have a great chance to be successful,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a lot of great games coming up, and we’ve got to go out there and just do everything we can to win. I think the one thing that we do great is we respond. And let’s make sure that we respond at a high level.”
The Seahawks have been without running backs Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) each of the past two weeks and it’s uncertain if they’ll return Sunday. Defensive backs Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) are also questionable.
The Rams could also be short-handed in the offensive backfield as leading rusher Darrell Henderson Jr. (thigh/quad), has missed practice time this week.
–Field Level Media