INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Whatever emotions Bobby Wagner felt this week about facing his former team, the Rams linebacker held them in until gametime Sunday.
And when he unleashed them against the Seahawks, it led to a very productive game.
Although the Rams fell to the Seahawks 27-23 at SoFi Stadium, it wasn't for a lack of effort from Wagner, who had seven total tackles (three for loss), two sacks, two quarterback hits, his first interception as a Ram and one pass breakup in the loss.
"I'm a master at controlling my emotions," Wagner said postgame. "I know I can control my emotions very well, so I controlled them during the week and let them out during the game."
A vocal and fired-up Wagner did everything he could to will Los Angeles to a victory over Seattle on Sunday afternoon, as the stat line showed.
His second sack came on third down and forced the Seahawks to punt; the Rams capitalized with a 54-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay on the following possession to cut their deficit to one late in the first half.
Similarly, his interception came late in the third quarter and also led to a drive that ended with a field goal and cut the Rams' deficit back to one early in the fourth quarter. Wagner tracked the ball as Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith threw it to running back Tony Jones Jr., then ripped it from Jones' hands for the pick. Officials confirmed the call on the field upon further review.
"Oh, man. He did what he always do," running back Cam Akers said. "He's the leader of that defense, one of them. He stepped up when the plays needed to be made. That's what Bobby do. That's not surprising to any of us. That's what we expect."
Coaches and teammates were appreciative of Wagner's effort and disappointed that it wasn't in a victory.
"What a baller," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "The steadiness, the consistency, the leadership. There was nothing more we wanted as a team, as a coaching staff, and really everybody in that locker room, to try to get that done and be able to give him that game ball that he deserved, but we came up short."
Ultimately, Wagner just wanted to step up knowing the Rams were without defensive linemen Aaron Donald and A'Shawn Robinson and other playmakers.
"I just felt like we had a lot of guys out, we had a lot of playmakers out on (defense), so I wanted to try to provide a spark for the team and help us find a win," Wagner said.