Rams look to rebound against Seahawks
The Los Angeles Rams will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle (4-4) is coming off a 25-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but the Seahawks gave the Rams all they could handle when the teams met on Oct. 7 in Seattle. Seahawks running back Chris Carson rushed for 116 yards and quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes without an interception that day but it was not enough to prevent the Rams from coming away with a 33-31 victory. However, Carson has been bothered by a hip injury that limited his playing time against the Chargers, and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw two interceptions in that earlier game but he amassed 321 passing yards and had a touchdown pass.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll hopes his young, developing secondary shows progress.
"We have to work with the under coverage better than we did last (time)," Carroll said. "We gave up some stuff that they dumped off and made a lot of yards after the catch. A couple of those were tackles, but just deployment and stuff."
Rams wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp had to leave that game with concussions, but they are expected to play Sunday along with Los Angeles' third talented wideout Robert Woods.
"This group is fantastic -- all three guys getting almost 40 catches," Carroll said. "So, you don't know where the ball is going. They have great choices and those guys are fantastic in there."
Along with running back Todd Gurley II, who leads the league in rushing at 96.4 yards per game, the Rams present a problem for any defense. They lead the NFL in total offense and are third in scoring, averaging 33.2 points per game.
However, they are coming off a 45-35 loss to the New Orleans Saints. For the first time this season, they must respond to a little adversity.
"I think the sense that we got from our players (Sunday) and from our coaching staff is that, if anything, it creates an added sense of urgency," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "That feeling in your gut when you wake up and you're kind of just sick because you didn't get the result that you wanted is something that you can't create unless you do end up losing. We try to be consistent whether you win or lose, but there is something that is created just based on not getting the result that you wanted."
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is second in the league in sacks with 10, expects the team to respond appropriately.
"We are going to watch the film, make the corrections and fix things," Donald said. "This was just one game, we will fix it. We are disappointed that we lost, but like I said, we are going to fix it. We aren't panicking, we're not worried. We will make the corrections to fix it and continue to be better."
One player who needs to make corrections is cornerback Marcus Peters, who admitted he was not at his best against the Saints.
A majority of the 12 catches and 211 yards Saints wide receiver Mike Thomas racked up against the Rams came against Peters.
"But, the best part about him is the accountability that he took afterwards," said McVay. "The first thing he's going to do is look inward and figure out what he can do to be better. We still have a lot of confidence in him."
In the earlier game against Seattle, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett burned Peters on a 39-yard touchdown reception.
Lockett is the Seahawks' leading receiver, but has just 28 receptions and averages 52.0 receiving yards per game. Their biggest receiving threat in recent years has been Doug Baldwin, but he has been limited to six games this season because of injuries and he has yet to have a 100-yard receiving game this season. He suffered a groin injury while collecting four catches for 77 yards in Sunday's loss to the Chargers and did not practice Wednesday. It is unclear whether he will play against the Rams.
Wilson will try to take advantage of a Rams defense that ranks 25th in the NFL in defensive passer rating.
Wilson had his most efficient game of the season two weeks ago in the road win over the Detroit Lions, when he completed 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was somewhat less effective in last week's loss to the Chargers, when he completed 26 of 39 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Seahawks have lost their last two meetings with the Rams, and they desperately need to win Sunday to remain a factor in the NFC West. A Rams win would give Los Angeles a 4.5-game lead in the division while a Seahawks victory would reduce the Rams' advantage to 2.5 games.
"We have an enormous matchup this week with a team that's been flying the whole first half of this season," Carroll said. "We're up against it, we've got to play great football and we do that by practicing really well this week and jumping at the challenge, and that's what we're going to do."
Updated November 8, 2018