Stafford, Rams beat Seahawks 26-17; Wilson injures finger
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 8, 2021
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw for 365 yards and a touchdown and the Los Angeles Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-17 on Thursday night in a game Russell Wilson left in the second half with a finger injury on his throwing hand.
Wilson missed significant game time due to injury for the first time after injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand. He was hurt by contact on a follow through midway through the third quarter. He attempted to direct one more drive before turning the game over to backup Geno Smith.
Held to just three points in the first half for only the fifth time in the regular season under Sean McVay, the Rams (4-1) woke up in the final 30 minutes and rebounded from their first loss of the season last Sunday to Arizona.
Stafford threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee late in the third quarter to give the Rams a 16-7 lead, also appearing to play with an injured finger on his throwing hand. Stafford hit DeSean Jackson for 68 yards earlier in the quarter on third-and-10 that led to Darrell Henderson’s 5-yard run that gave Los Angeles its first lead of the game.
And after Seattle (2-3) pulled to 16-14 in the fourth quarter, Stafford was 4 of 4 for 71 yards on the ensuing drive leading to Sony Michel’s 2-yard touchdown run with 6:08 remaining.
Robert Woods had 12 catches for 150 yards and the Rams won their second straight in Seattle after last January’s playoff victory over the Seahawks.
Seattle pulled to 23-17 on Jason Myers’ field goal from 32 yards with 2:45 left. Seattle forced a quick punt after Carlos Dunlap batting down Stafford’s third-down pass.
But Smith couldn’t lead a storybook final drive, with his first pass intercepted by Nick Scott as Tyler Lockett tripped making his break. Smith was 10 of 17 for 131 yards in the fourth quarter.
Smith was needed because Wilson’s fingers hit Aaron Donald’s arm on the follow through of a pass that nearly went for a touchdown but was slightly overthrown midway through the third quarter.
Wilson remained in for one more series and attempted one pass. He was sacked on third-and-5 by Donald, No. 88 1/2 of his career setting a new franchise record — although the Rams records don’t include Deacon Jones as sacks weren’t an official stat when he played. Wilson never took another snap and finished 11 of 16 for 152 yards, one touchdown and his first interception of the season.
Smith entered with Seattle backed up at its own 2. Since arriving in Seattle at the start of the 2019 season, Smith had thrown a total of five passes, all of them coming in a blowout win over the Jets last season.
On his first drive, Smith was perfect. He was 5 of 5 for 72 yards, the last a 23-yard strike to DK Metcalf for his second touchdown of the game with 9:23 remaining to pull Seattle to 16-14.
Seattle appeared to take a 14-3 lead at the end of the first half but a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lockett was called back on a holding penalty against Duane Brown. Jason Myers then missed a 35-yard field goal and the Seahawks had to settle for a 7-3 halftime advantage.
It wasn’t mixed night in the kicking game. Along with Myers missing an easy field goal attempt, Rams kicker Matt Gay missed an extra point and had two kickoffs that went out of bounds. Gay made from 47 yards in the final seconds.
Then there was Seattle punter Michael Dickson. His punt in the third quarter was blocked, but Dickson in one motion ran down the loose ball, picked it up and sent off a second kick that went 68 yards. After debate whether it was a penalty, referee Ronald Torbert picked up the flag the play stood.
Rams CB Darious Williams suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. … Seattle played without starting RB Chris Carson due to a neck issue. General manager John Schneider said on Seattle’s pregame radio show the short turnaround from last Sunday’s game left Carson too sore to play.
Rams: At the New York Giants on Sunday, Oct. 17.
Seahawks: At Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 17.
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