THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It has become almost routine at this point.
Regardless of whether the game has been in Los Angeles or Seattle, the Rams and the Seahawks have made a habit of playing in tight contests dating back to last season.
"A good game," said Rams running back Todd Gurley, when asked what he expects on Sunday night. "It's always been a good game. Over the last couple of years, we've been able to tie (the season series) – usually go one (win) and one (loss). It's always going to be a good game between us two. We know them, well, they know us well, and they always fight to the end."
A 30-29 Seattle victory on Thursday Night Football in early October marked the third straight meeting between the two teams that was decided by fewer than seven points. In the previous two games, Los Angeles won by scores of 36-31 and 33-31.
L.A.'s 33-31 victory in Week 5 of the 2018 season required a late field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein and a quarterback sneak on 4th and 1 by Jared Goff to preserve the win. A fourth down stop with 19 seconds left was necessary to hold off a late Seattle rally for the 36-31 victory five weeks later.
More recently, that aforementioned one-point Rams loss included Seahawks running back Chris Carson juggling the go-ahead touchdown reception before successfully completing the catch, a failed ensuing two-point attempt and a Goff interception on a ball that deflected off Rams tight end Gerald Everett's hands – all in less than 30 seconds and with under two and a half minutes to play.
Even with all those crazy moments, L.A. still had a chance win their fourth straight game over the Seahawks – until Zuerlein's 44-yard field goal attempt narrowly missed wide right.
"Anything can happen," Goff said. "We felt like we were able to move the ball there, but left a little bit more meat on that than we wanted to. I think we could've gotten a few more yards there for Greg and I know he was kicking himself about that. We know Greg and know the way he responds. I know he's confident at this point and feels good. I'm very confident if we get into a situation like that, he'll knock it down. That's the type of guy he is."
That history between both teams and the Seahawks' knack for making timely plays on both sides of the ball suggest Sunday Night Football could set the stage for another tight contest.
Seattle is 10-2 after a 37-30 victory over Minnesota on Monday Night Football, withstanding a late rally by the Vikings that nearly erased a 17-point early fourth quarter lead. Nine of the Seahawks' 12 games so far have been decided by seven points or less, and they're 8-1 in those games.
"I'm really impressed with just how they play in crunch time," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I think that's a real reflection of what kind of team this is."
Rams DT Aaron Donald has seen the same. "Pretty much every game they've played (this season) has been a dog fight for them. They're just finding ways to win games and playing good football as a team."
For Donald, the reason these games end up being so competitive is because of the familiarity between the two teams.
Though Sunday's contest will mark the 44th all-time meeting between the two teams, chances are it will reflect the previous three the closest.
"It's usually a dog fight when we play them," Donald said. "We've just got to go out there and battle."