Rams make late defensive stand, hold off Seahawks 36-31
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandin Cooks rushed for a 9-yard touchdown with 5:49 to play on the first snap after Dante Fowler forced and recovered a fumble by Russell Wilson, and the Los Angeles Rams bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Los Angeles moved into commanding position for its second consecutive NFC West title, but only after plenty of late drama in a rivalry that’s never lacking in excitement.
Wilson threw three touchdown passes, rushed for 92 yards and nearly rallied the Seahawks (4-5) all the way back after his fumble.
He hit Mike Davis for a short TD catch to cap a 90-yard drive with 1:56 to play. After the Seattle defense held, he got the Seahawks to the Los Angeles 35 before throwing four straight incompletions in the final minute.
Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee caught TD passes for the Rams, who survived a topsy-turvy game with just enough big plays. Although the perfect season ended last week in New Orleans, Los Angeles still has never lost back-to-back games under coach Sean McVay.
Fowler, the pass-rush specialist acquired from Jacksonville late last month, made up for his costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter by stripping Wilson of the ball and then recovering the fumble, setting up Cooks’ run for a 12-point lead.
Wilson also threw TD passes to Nick Vannett and Tyler Lockett while joining Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to throw 20 touchdown passes in each of their first seven NFL seasons. But the Seahawks have lost two straight after winning four of five.
Rashaad Penny rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown in the injury absence of Chris Carson. The Seahawks had 273 yards rushing at the Coliseum after racking up 190 yards on the ground in their 33-31 loss to the Rams last month in Seattle.
The Rams’ defensive struggles in last week’s 45-35 loss to the Saints were extended thanks to Wilson and the Seahawks, who made two sustained touchdown drives in the first quarter.
The Seahawks reclaimed the lead with Lockett’s TD catch in the third quarter, but only because their drive was kept alive by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Fowler after a third-down stop.
The Rams went right back ahead on a 10-yard TD catch by Higbee on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Gurley scored his NFL-leading 17th touchdown in the second quarter on a 17-yard run. He also scored a TD in his franchise-record 13th consecutive game, extending his franchise record. He is the fourth player in league history to score a TD in each of his team’s first 10 games.
Aaron Donald sacked Wilson 2½ times, giving him a career-high 12½ sacks already this season. He teamed up with Ndamukong Suh for a huge third-down sack at the Los Angeles 15 in the fourth quarter, forcing Seattle to kick a field goal.
Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is donating his game check to the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Conejo Valley Victims Fund, which was set up to help the families of the 12 people killed Wednesday night by a gunman in Thousand Oaks, the home of the Rams’ training complex. The Rams held a moment of silence before the game.
Rams: Receiver Cooper Kupp went down in the fourth quarter holding his left knee, which sidelined him earlier this season. He eventually walked off the field.
Seahawks: A short week to host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.
Rams: One of the biggest games of the regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City on Monday, Nov. 19.