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Rams’ defense too much for Russell Wilson and Seahawks in 20-10 win

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Rams linebacker Von Miller sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Rams linebacker Von Miller, left, sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the second quarter Tuesday at SoFi Stadium.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A stifling defensive effort coupled with heroics from Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp carry the Rams to a 20-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

It wasn’t pretty, but win over Seahawks is important for Rams

Rams defensive end Aaron Donald claps at Seattle's Gabe Jackson.
Rams defensive end Aaron Donald claps at Seattle’s Gabe Jackson after the Seahawks guard was called for a holding penalty in the first quarter Tuesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It probably was too much to ask for high artistry.

The Rams endured a week that featured nearly 30 players going onto and coming off the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, ravaging their roster and forcing the league to push their game against the Seattle Seahawks to Tuesday night.

So, it wasn’t exactly a smooth operation at SoFi Stadium.

But for one moment, the Rams were perfect.

Matthew Stafford’s magnificent touchdown pass to wide receiver Cooper Kupp early in the fourth quarter was the key play in theRams’ 20-10 victory before a crowd of 71,565.

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Rams defeat Seahawks to stay in thick of NFC West title race

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes in front of defensive end Darrell Taylor.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes in front of defensive end Darrell Taylor in the second quarter Tuesday at SoFi Stadium.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

FINAL: Rams 20, Seahawks 10

Rams free safety Taylor Rapp intercepted a deep pass from Russell Wilson intended for DK Metcalf to secure the Rams’ 20-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium on Tuesday night.

Matthew Stafford connected on two touchdown passes to wide receiver Cooper Kupp and Matt Gay kicked a pair of field goals to power the Rams’ win. A pass-rushing effort spearheaded by Aaron Donald and Von Miller tallied three sacks on Wilson and prevented the Seahawks from mounting a fourth-quarter comeback.

The Rams (10-4) benefited from a missed pass-interference call late in the fourth quarter when linebacker Ernest Jones made contact with running back DeeJay Dallas on a fourth-quarter pass. Dallas was then called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, allowing the Rams to eventually extend the lead by the final margin.

Stafford completed 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns. He also became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to pass 50,000 career yards (182 games). Kupp made nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Sony Michel had 92 yards on 18 carries and also had two catches for 23 yards.

Wilson was 17 of 31 for 156 yards and an interception for the Seahawks (5-9). Former Rams tight end Gerald Everett had four catches for 60 yards.

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Rams extend lead after controversial fourth-down play

Rams 20, Seahawks 10 — 1:51 fourth quarter

Matt Gay kicked a 35-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to extend the Rams lead and put them on the verge of sweeping their NFC West rivals.

The Rams caught a break on fourth down minutes earlier when linebacker Ernest Jones made contact with Seattle’s DeeJay Dallas before Russell Wilson’s pass reached the running back. Dallas was then called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, pulling the Rams into field-goal range.

On Seattle’s prior possession, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey came up huge on third down in the fourth quarter, breaking up a pass intended for DK Metcalf that would have put the Seahawks in prime scoring position.

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Matthew Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection puts Rams into the lead

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp catches a pass in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp catches a pass in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones during the second half.
(Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press)

Rams 17, Seahawks 10 — 10:48 fourth quarter

Cooper Kupp showcased his ability as a game-changer early in the fourth quarter, snagging a dead-on throw by Matthew Stafford for a 29-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams the lead.

The impressive throw and catch came one play after Kupp deked and spun his way to 11 yards on a dump-off screen. Sony Michel also played a big role in the eight-play, 88-yard scoring drive, picking up 24 yards on a tackle-shedding screen pass against the Seahawks’ zone coverage.

Kupp has two touchdowns and 136 yards on nine catches. Stafford has completed 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

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Sony Michel and Rams respond with quick touchdown to tie game

Rams running back Sony Michel carries the ball against the Seahawks in the first half.
(Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press)

Seahawks 10, Rams 10 — 6:31 third quarter

Sparked by a 39-yard run by Sony Michel, the Rams finally showed life on offense in the third quarter, mowing through the Seattle defense to score their first touchdown of the game.

Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp on a six-yard touchdown laser to end a six-play, 86-yard drive in impressive fashion. Kupp has made 120 catches this season, breaking Isaac Bruce’s team record.

What had been a defensive stalemate in the first half is turning into the type of game people were expecting, even if the Rams’ issues with COVID protocols limited their practice time last week.

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Seahawks open second half with scoring drive to take lead

Seahawks 10, Rams 3 — 9:27 third quarter

The Seattle Seahawks opened the second half with the first successful touchdown drive of the game, hammering the Rams with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a four-yard scoring run by DeeJay Dallas.

Matthew Stafford and the Rams will be looking to end their touchdown shutout so far against a tough Seahawks defense.

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Seahawks kick field goal just before halftime to tie game 3-3

Rams outside linebacker Von Miller recorded his first sack with the team during the first half.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Seahawks 3, Rams 3 — halftime

Jason Myers kicked a 39-yard field goal for the Seahawks in the closing moments of the first half to tie the game at halftime.

The Rams prevented the Seahawks from finding the end zone after former Rams tight end Gerald Everett caught on a 34-yard pass from Russell Wilson to put the Seahawks on the Rams’ 16-yard line. Leonard Floyd then sacked Wilson and a false start by Seattle lineman Duane Brown pushed Seattle back. Wilson then threw an incomplete pass on third-and-17 to prompt the field-goal try.

Seattle stymied the Rams’ chance to potentially hold onto a halftime lead when linebacker Jordyn Brooks prevented Cooper Kupp from making a catch on fourth down. A 42-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Kupp put the Rams just outside field-goal range, and the Rams couldn’t move the ball much further.

Stafford completed 14 of 20 passes for 138 yards and an interception in the half and became the fastest QB to surpass 50,000 career passing yards (182 games). Wilson is 8 for 13 for 75 yards.

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Matthew Stafford throws red-zone interception; Rams defense bails him out

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald, bottom left, celebrates after a defensive stop.
Rams defensive end Aaron Donald, bottom left, celebrates after a defensive stop against the Seahawks.
(Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press)

Rams 3, Seahawks 0 — 12:53 second quarter

Matthew Stafford’s quest to find the end zone for the first time today was stymied by former Detroit Lions teammate Quandre Diggs, who intercepted a pass in the red zone intended for Cooper Kupp on the first play of the second quarter.

However, the Rams defense was up to the task of stopping Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from achieving any real traction. After picking up a first down, the Seahawks’ drive sputtered on the next set of downs when Von Miller sacked Wilson on third down. It was Miller’s first sack since being traded from the Denver Broncos to the Rams in November.

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Matt Gay kicks 55-yard field goal to give Rams the early lead

Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is chased by Seattle Seahawks defensive back Bless Austin.
Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., left, is chased by Seattle Seahawks defensive back Bless Austin during the first quarter.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Rams 3, Seahawks 0 — 6:44 first quarter

Matt Gay kicked a 55-yard field goal on the Rams’ opening drive to give them the early lead.

It looked like the Rams weren’t going to come away with any points before Seattle’s Alton Robinson ran into punter Johnny Hekker on fourth down. What was a 60-yard field goal try turned into a 55-yarder after the penalty, convincing coach Sean McVay that it was worth sending out Gay to attempt the field goal.

The Rams were also hampered by penalties. A 31-yard kickoff return by Brandon Powell coupled with 4-for-4 passing from Matthew Stafford allowed the Rams to get into Seattle territory before penalties by linemen Austin Corbett and Bobby Evans halted the Rams after 29 yards. Sony Michel had four carries for 17 yards on the possession.

And the Seahawks’ first possession went nowhere, thanks in part to the defensive prowess of Aaron Donald.

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Rams’ inactives for Tuesday’s game vs. Seahawks

Here are the Rams’ inactives for Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks:

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Q&A: Before winning MVP with Rams, Roman Gabriel had to take on Bruins with N.C. State

Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel, left, looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings.
Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel, left, looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at the Coliseum on Dec. 7, 1969.
(Harry Harris / Associated Press)

The quarterback who would go on to become the NFL’s most valuable player in 1969 and still holds the Rams’ franchise record for touchdown passes was given almost no chance the first time he played a game at the Coliseum.

Roman Gabriel’s North Carolina State Wolfpack, losers of six consecutive games, were described as “hapless” by Los Angeles Times writer Al Wolf in his story previewing the nonconference game between the out-of-towners from the Atlantic Coast Conference and UCLA in November 1959. The Bruins, coming off a dominant victory over Stanford, were 13-point favorites.

The Wolfpack had two things going for them: what Wolf described as a “huge” line weighing an average of 220 pounds, giving them a significant advantage over their Bruins counterparts who averaged 196 pounds, and Gabriel. The 6-foot-3 sophomore was already a rising star in his team’s double wing-T offense and an inspiration to a growing legion of followers as a Filipino American.

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Cooper Kupp is looking to add to his memorable season when Rams face Seahawks

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp runs a route against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 13.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

In his nearly five seasons with the Rams, Cooper Kupp has achieved several milestones.

In 2019, he amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving. Before last season, he signed a contract extension that guaranteed $35 million. This season, he has been named the NFC offensive player of the week several times.

And on Monday, in midst of a potentially historic season, Kupp was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald also was announced by the Rams as a Pro Bowl selection, extending his streak to eight consecutive seasons.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is expected to earn Pro Bowl recognition for the fifth time when NFC and AFC rosters are revealed Wednesday.

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Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks matchups, start time and how to watch

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, left, runs past Houston Texans free safety Lonnie Johnson.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, left, runs past Houston Texans free safety Lonnie Johnson after making a catch on Dec. 12.
(Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)

Breaking down how the Rams (9-4) and the Seattle Seahawks (5-8) match up heading into their game at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at SoFi Stadium Stadium in Inglewood. The game will be shown on Channel 11.

When Rams have the ball: Quarterback Matthew Stafford is coming off his best game with the Rams, a mistake-free, three-touchdown performance in a 30-23 victory over the then-league leading Arizona Cardinals. Stafford has passed for 33 touchdowns, with nine interceptions.

Receiver Cooper Kupp leads the NFL in receptions (113), yards receiving (1,489) and touchdown catches (12). Van Jefferson has scored six touchdowns and is demonstrating ability to consistently get open deep. Odell Beckham Jr. is looking increasingly comfortable with Stafford.

The receiver has scored three touchdowns in the last three games. The Rams, for the second game in a row, could be without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein and tight end Tyler Higbee. As of Sunday, both were on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Joe Noteboom, who started in Havenstein’s place against the Cardinals, and Bobby Evans also are on the list. Starting guard David Edwards played tackle in college and could move to the spot if needed.

Veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks defense that sustained a major blow on Dec. 5 when safety Jamal Adams suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. End Rasheem Green has 3½ sacks, and safety Quandre Diggs four interceptions.

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