DK Metcalf caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith with 36 seconds to play, and the Seattle Seahawks overcame an inspired performance by Bobby Wagner for a 27-23 victory over the spiralling Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Smith passed for a career-high 367 yards and threw three TD passes for the Seahawks (7-5), who barely snapped their two-game skid with 438 yards of offence against a Rams defence missing Aaron Donald.
After Cam Akers’ second TD run put the Rams up 23-20 with 2:56 to play, Smith patiently directed the winning 75-yard drive, hitting Marquise Goodwin for 17 yards one play before finding Metcalf between defenders in the end zone.
Tyler Lockett and Noah Fant caught early TD passes from Smith in the most prolific game of the quarterback’s decade in the NFL. Metcalf had eight catches for 127 yards, and Lockett had nine receptions for a season-high 128 yards as the Seahawks sent defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles (3-9) to its sixth straight defeat.
Wagner had two sacks and an interception for the Rams in his first career game against Seattle, where he spent the previous 10 years and made six All-Pro teams while becoming one of the greatest linebackers of his generation. Although Wagner downplayed the matchup during the week, he played with a fire that nearly propelled the injury-depleted Super Bowl champions to their first victory since Oct. 16.
John Wolford passed for 178 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for the Rams, who are ensured their first losing season in coach Sean McVay’s six-year tenure.
Wolford made his fourth career start in place of Matthew Stafford, who missed his third game in four weeks for the Rams with injuries that have put him in the NFL’s concussion protocol twice. Stafford went on injured reserve Saturday, sidelining him for at least three more games and possibly signalling the end of his season.
Donald, the seven-time All-Pro defensive tackle, also missed the first game of his nine-year Rams career due to injury, sitting out with a high ankle sprain. He joined a dizzying list of contributors with major injury problems for Los Angeles, including All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp and several key players on an offensive line that used its 12th starting combination in 12 games.
After Akers scored on the Rams’ opening drive, Seattle made two long scoring drives ending in TD catches by Lockett and Fant. Los Angeles nearly kept pace offensively with an opponent for the first time in many weeks, but couldn’t turn its drives into touchdowns.
Wagner ripped the ball out of Tony Jones Jr.’s hands for his interception late in the third quarter, leading to Matt Gay’s third field goal that trimmed Seattle’s lead to one point with 12:57 to play.
After Jason Myers’ second field goal made it 20-16 with 6:46 left, the Rams went 75 yards for a score on a strong 6-yard run by Akers, who spent three weeks away from the team at midseason after a disagreement with the coaching staff.
Seattle lost rookie running back Kenneth Walker to an ankle injury in the first half. DJ Dallas then got hurt on the final play before halftime, but he returned after Jones — the only healthy running back left on Seattle’s roster — took a hard hit from Russ Yeast. … Seattle defensive back Josh Jones was ruled out with a hamstring injury early in the second quarter.
Seahawks: Host Carolina on Sunday.
Rams: Host Las Vegas on Thursday night.