Rams Rules: LA rout Seattle 42-7 for control of division
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By TIM BOOTH
SEATTLE (AP) Todd Gurley caught the pass from Jared Goff, turned up field and once again found no resistance in his sprint to the end zone.
After 2 1/2 quarters and four touchdowns scored, Gurley was no longer needed. The Los Angeles Rams had made their statement.
"This was just one of those wins where everything was clicking for us. Everybody was doing their job. Everybody was out there competing and we didn't want to let up," Gurley said.
"These guys been kicking our ass for the last 10, 15 years so you've got to enjoy it and you've got to take advantage of a situation like this."
Led by Gurley's 152 yards rushing and four total touchdowns, the Rams moved to the cusp of their first division title since 2003 with a 42-7 thumping of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
What was supposed to be a matchup to determine first place in the NFC West turned into the Rams (10-4) embarrassing Seattle into the worst loss of Pete Carroll's eight seasons.
It was one-sided. It was dominant. And whether the Rams wanted to admit it or not, it was a statement victory.
"Did we expect a game like this? Probably not," Rams DE Robert Quinn said. "But we did expect to play a great game. We played pretty great."
The Rams don't have the division wrapped up, but have a two-game lead with two weeks to play. A win against either Tennessee or San Francisco is enough for their first division title in 14 years.
Perhaps bigger than the division title was the statement made by the Rams. They didn't just win in Seattle - a place losing its aura as the toughest to play in the league. They completely dominated the Seahawks, making a Carroll-coached team look rarely overmatched in a big game.
Seattle (8-6) is barely alive for the postseason, but it will likely need some help.
"No, there is nothing to be happy about. That was a really dismal performance by us," Carroll said.
While the Seahawks don't look playoff ready, the Rams look playoff scary, dominating the line of scrimmage and taking advantage of their first-half opportunities.
The Rams scored on six of seven first-half drives thanks largely to great field position. Six of the Rams seven possessions in the first half started at midfield or inside Seattle territory and they scored on all six.
The surge included a 21-point scoring blitz in the second quarter capped by a 57-yard TD run by Gurley on third-and-20 with less than a minute remaining in the first half to take a 34-0 lead at the break.
Gurley had 144 yards rushing in the first half, twice scoring from the 1. He added a 14-yard TD reception midway through the third quarter for a 40-0 Rams lead and spent the rest of his day watching. The 152 yards rushing were the second-best of his career.
Goff didn't need to do much, completing 14 of 21 for 120 yards and two TDs. He threw a 1-yard TD to Robert Woods in the second quarter along with his TD to Gurley. The only miscue for the Rams was a questionable fourth-and-1 decision at the Seattle 24 where the Rams called a play-action pass that was tipped and intercepted. It was the one highlight of the first half for Seattle.
"I think our guys understood that this was a big opportunity to try to come in here and take a two-game lead in our division with two left," Rams coach Sean McVay said.
Seattle avoided the shutout on Russell Wilson's 26-yard TD pass to Luke Willson late in the third quarter. But it was one of Wilson's uglier performances. He missed key throws early when Seattle's offense couldn't get started. He threw a backward pass for a 23-yard loss in the second quarter when Seattle finally got to midfield. He fumbled trying to spin out of a sack. And he cost Seattle a safety being flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Wilson was 14 of 30 for 142 yards and rushed for 39 yards. He was sacked seven times.
Rams punt returner Pharoh Cooper had a big first half that helped Los Angeles build its huge lead. Cooper set up the Rams first touchdown with a 53-yard punt return to the Seattle 1 in the first quarter. He later had a 26-yard return to set up another short field for the Rams that was capped by the second of Gurley's 1-yard TDs.
"All week we were expecting some big returns. Last week they had a few miscues on their punt team and we felt we could attack in that area," Cooper said.
The 34-0 halftime deficit was the largest for Seattle since the 2010 season - the first under Carroll - when it trailed the New York Giants 35-0 at halftime on the way to a 41-7 loss.
It was the largest halftime lead in a road game for the Rams in franchise history.
Rams: Los Angeles is at Tennessee next Sunday.
Seahawks: Seattle is at Dallas next Sunday.
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Updated December 17, 2017