Perhaps the Los Angeles Rams were looking ahead.
How else to explain last weekend’s embarrassing 23-20 loss at home to the previously winless New York Jets — when the Rams had a chance to clinch a playoff berth?
“The only thing that makes you feel better is when you say, ‘All right, let’s learn from it, let’s own it, and let’s move forward accordingly,’” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Because dwelling on it or getting still (ticked) off about it really doesn’t do you any good for how you move forward.”
The Rams (9-5) need to move forward quickly, with a game Sunday at NFC West-leading Seattle (10-4) that could decide the division title.
“As poor as (Sunday) was, we’ve got an opportunity to respond in a division game at their place with a lot at stake,” McVay said. “I do trust the character of this football team. I trust the resilience.”
Los Angeles won the first meeting against Seattle 23-16 on Nov. 15 as Jared Goff threw for 302 yards and Malcolm Brown rushed for a pair of touchdowns. That means the Rams would own the first tiebreaker against the Seahawks should they win Sunday to sweep the season series and go into the final week with matching 10-5 records.
“We have two division opponents coming up. We missed a chance to clinch, now it’s even more important to win the next two games,” said Rams safety John Johnson, whose team will close the regular season at Arizona. “Certain teams have that knack for winning. We’re still learning that.”
The Seahawks clinched their ninth playoff berth in coach Pete Carroll’s 11 seasons with a 20-15 victory last weekend at Washington. Carlos Hyde scored on a 50-yard run and Seattle’s defense turned away a fourth-quarter rally.
“(That) was a really big weekend for us,” Carroll said. “Real happy with the game that we put together, the way that the whole approach of it worked out well. We got the win that we were looking for and we got a little bit of help too, the Jets, getting their game. All of that adds together and sets up a really big opportunity this weekend coming up.”
The Seahawks aren’t just satisfied with a playoff berth. They haven’t won an NFC West title since 2016 and haven’t hosted a playoff game since January 2017.
“It’s pretty cool to clinch it, but we’ve got a big game coming up (this) week, man, and I’ll tell you what, I’m looking forward to that,” said Seattle safety Jamal Adams, who has 9 1/2 sacks this season, adding to his single-season record for a defensive back since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1982.
The Rams will be without leading rusher Cam Akers, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to New York. Akers rushed for 63 yards Sunday and had 50 more yards and a touchdown wiped out by penalties.
Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen (foot) was a full participant in practice this week and will likely come off the injured reserve list. Starting right tackle Brandon Shell (ankle) and cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) were limited in practice but could return after missing multiple games. Carroll announced cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) will need surgery and will remain on the IR, ending his season.
–Field Level Media