A milestone performance by running back Cam Akers, a pick-six by cornerback Darious Williams and a gutsy performance by quarterback Jared Goff in place of the injured John Wolford helped the Rams advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs with a 30-20 win over the Seahawks on Saturday at Lumen Field in Seattle.
Wolford got the start at quarterback but left the game with a neck injury late in the first quarter and did not return after being taken to the hospital for precautionary measures. However, Rams head coach Sean McVay said postgame Wolford had returned from the hospital and was back in the locker room smiling and celebrating with his teammates after the win.
Wolford completed 3 of 6 pass attempts for 29 yards prior to exiting the contest. Goff, meanwhile, stepped up and completed 9 of 19 pass attempts for 155 yards and one touchdown in the win, just 12 days removed from thumb surgery. Wide receiver Robert Woods was on the receiving end of Goff's lone touchdown pass, also finishing with four catches for 48 yards.
Akers tallied 28 carries for 131 yards and one rushing touchdown, becoming the first rookie in franchise history to rush for 100 or more yards in a playoff game. Adding his two receptions for 45 yards, Akers totaled 176 yards from scrimmage, accounting for more than half of the team's 333 total yards of offense.
Williams' 42-yard interception return for a touchdown marked the Rams' first postseason defensive touchdown since January 20, 2002 against the Packers, when they had three such scores.
Besides Wolford's injury, offensive lineman David Edwards left the game early in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald sustained a rib injury with 10:04 left in the third quarter and was questionable to return. After going back to the locker room following the injury, Donald returned to the Rams' sideline late in the third quarter but did not go back on the field.
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was evaluated for a concussion in the first half but returned early in the third quarter. He and Donald each finished with two sacks.
The Rams scored first via a 40-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay for an early 3-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first quarter.
A 50-yard field goal by Seahawks kicker Jason Myers tied the game 3-3 with 10:34 remaining in the second quarter, but the Rams answered on the ensuing series with a 39-yard field goal by Gay to regain the lead 6-3. That scoring drive was helped by a 44-yard completion from Goff to Kupp that put Los Angeles at the Seattle 28.
Four plays later, Williams returned a Russell Wilson pass intended for wide receiver D.K. Metcalf 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams a 13-3 lead with 6:52 left in the first half. However, the Seahawks would answer on the ensuing drive, as Wilson went back to Metcalf and connected with him for a 51-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Rams' lead back to three.
Continuing the back-and-forth, the Rams responded with a 5-yard touchdown run by Akers to give them a 20-10 lead they would take into halftime. The touchdown run was set up by another 44-yard completion, this time from Goff to Akers, that put the Rams in Seahawks territory.
Seattle came away with points on their second half-opening drive thanks to a 52-yard field goal by Myers which cut the Rams' lead to 20-13 early in the third quarter.
The Rams defense forced the Seahawks to go 3-and-out on their second offensive possession of the second half; however, it was on this drive that Donald sustained his rib injury.
With 3:09 left in the third quarter, Rams linebacker Kenny Young nearly intercepted a Wilson pass intended for tight end Will Dissly, but was unable to hang on to the ball. Four plays later, safety John Johnson III nearly had an interception, too but the ball hit the turf before he could catch it cleanly. The Rams challenged the original ruling of an incomplete pass, but officials upheld the call on the field upon further review. Regardless, the incomplete pass came on third down and forced the Seahawks to punt late in the third quarter.
The Rams had to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Gay on the ensuing series after failing to convert on 3rd and 2 from the Seahawks 19, but it gave them a 23-13 lead with 11:33 left in the fourth quarter.
A fumble by Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed on a punt return – forced by Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam and recovered by linebacker Micah Kiser – four minutes later led to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Woods to extend the Rams' lead to 17.
The Seahawks answered with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Metcalf on the next possession, but their ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful after Woods safely recovered it.
Although Los Angeles was unable to covert on 4th and 1 from the Seattle 40 on the drive following Woods' recovery, its defense stepped up with a sack by Floyd, back-to-back incompletions by Wilson and a game-clinching sack by defensive lineman Morgan Fox on 4th and 15 with 91 seconds left to secure the victory.