INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Because of the way the Seahawks practiced, their quarterback – like other NFL teams – wore a red non-contact jersey and was off limits. Thus, in 10 seasons as a teammates in Seattle, linebacker Bobby Wagner never got the chance to sack Russell Wilson.
"Everything was pretty much live in the checks and the going back and forth, all of that was full speed, but the hitting wasn't," Wagner said last Thursday. "You could never touch him. He said I would never catch him, so we'll see."
Wagner proved Wilson wrong on Sunday, not only sacking him, but also recording an interception against his former teammate in the Rams' 51-14 win over the Broncos on Christmas Day at SoFi Stadium.
The interception – which Wagner returned 13 yards – helped set up a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Cam Akers that gave the Rams a 17-0 lead.
And while it took some time for the sack, Wagner eventually got it when he took down Wilson for a 4-yard loss with 46 seconds left in the first half. The play helped stall a drive that eventually led to the Broncos settling for a 46-yard field goal, still trailing the Rams 31-6.
"I mean, I told him that if we ever played against one another, I will give, so that was cool to do that," Wagner said. "And it was cool to pick them off as well, Christmas, appreciate the presence. But you know, he's my brother, and we were together for an extremely long time. We went through a lot of highs and lows together. And it's always fun just going out there and playing with him. He's impacted me so much in my life."
Wagner's performance was also emblematic of a strong effort by the Rams overall, and the consistency Wagner has played with week in and week out regardless of the circumstances.
"I think when you look at what the team did today, I think that's a great reflection on the leadership, the way Bobby Wagner has influenced this whole locker room and really the coaching staff," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I can't say enough about…I've always respected him from afar but watching the way that he has been so steady and so consistent with the way he's handled a season that has gone totally different than I think what any of us expected and anticipated, but his consistency to me says everything you need to know about the human being."