The Seahawks made enough big plays on defense to keep the Rams and their high-scoring offense at bay and hold on for the 16-10 victory.

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LOS ANGELES — Some will point to the Earl Thomas karate chop that robbed the Rams of six. Others will cite the would-be game-winner that slipped through receiver Cooper Kupp’s hands.

There was a slew of significant moments that changed the complexion of Sunday’s game. But the primary reason for Seattle’s 16-10 win is this: The Seahawks are the Seahawks and the Rams are the Rams.

Yes, Seattle lucked out on the second-to-last play of the game. With less than 10 seconds remaining, Kupp found himself wide open in the end zone, only to drop the (slightly overthrown) pass from Jared Goff.

Seahawks 16, Rams 10

 

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But up until that point, the Seahawks had made so many key plays and the Rams so many key gaffes, that the outcome felt appropriate. Sorry, Angelinos — the NFC West is still property of Seattle.

“I think people look forward to writing us off,” said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. “And I think our demise was greatly overstated, but we’re just gonna keep doing what we do.”

What the Seahawks (3-2) do — or at least what they’ve been doing since they’ve won three of the last four titles — is sniff out a win no matter how deep it may be hiding. And let’s face it, there were several moments in the first half when L.A. appeared to be the superior team.

The Rams (3-2) breezed down the field on their opening drive — going 61 yards on seven plays — but lost possession when Thomas knocked the ball out of Todd Gurley’s hands and into the pylon, resulting in a touchback. The smart money says that we’ll be calling that the Seahawks’ defensive play of the year in a few months.

But that play also served as a microcosm of the game as a whole — a game where the Rams delivered gifts and the Seahawks just delivered.

What stands out most to you?

Was it L.A. kicker Greg Zuerlein — who’d made all 15 of his field goal attempts this season — pushing a 36-yarder wide right in the third quarter? Was it Sheldon Richardson making a diving interception at the Seahawks’ 25 after Goff’s pass bounced off Gurley’s hands?

Perhaps Tavon Austin muffing a punt and giving Seattle the ball on the Rams’ 30 is more your cup of tea. Or maybe it was Frank Clark’s fourth-quarter strip-sack on L.A.’s 43, where Richardson scooped it up.

Russell Wilson’s sole interception actually bolstered his legacy, as he brought down John Johnson with a touchdown-saving tackle. Goff’s second interception was just embarrassing, as Thomas picked it off 10 yards away from the closest receiver.

The Rams could have won this game. They probably should have won this game. But anyone blaming the loss on their ineptitude must also credit the Seahawks for their fortitude.

Did you guys feel like you were fortunate? I asked Thomas, following up on a question about the throw to Kupp.

“Of course,” he said. “But at the same time, we all played so well on defense. Even when our back was against the wall early, we still stood up in the red zone. This was the No. 1 offense and I think we did a great job.”

And though the numbers through five games say otherwise, the Seahawks are rebuilding their case as the league’s No. 1 defense. They kept the Rams out of the end zone on all five of their red-zone trips. They held Goff — who entered the game as the No. 2-rated passer in the NFL — to 22-of-47 passing. They kept the league’s top-scoring offense pointless for the final 37 minutes, rewriting the division’s narrative in the process.

Some might say that “the Seahawks are the Seahawks and the Rams are the Rams” is a flawed premise, given how L.A. had beaten Seattle in four of their previous six meetings. But the circumstances were different then.

Those victories were all upsets, as the Rams — who haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 — were never considered threats to win the NFC West. Now? Well, I guess we’ll see.

No doubt the Rams have improved since last year, as Goff has found his rhythm and as Gurley has rediscovered his form. From a talent standpoint, the potential for a rivalry is strong between these teams.

Until they prove otherwise, though, the Rams are still also-rans in this division. They may share a spot atop the standings with the Seahawks, but they’re not at their level.

Ready to rest
The Seahawks own the NFL’s best record in games before a bye week.
Team W-L Pct.
Seahawks 23-6 .793
N.Y. Giants 20-8 .714
Dallas Cowboys 20-9 .690
Minnesota Vikings 19-9 .679
Source: NFL